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The family vehicle of the new millennium is developing increasingly into an extension of both the home and office. Buyers of cars in the premium segment expect to be able to communicate with the world at large quickly and simply - to exchange information or even to enjoy entertainment while on the move.
The key word is infotainment, a combination of "information" and "entertainment". This concept encompasses the audio system and navigation facility.
In the Volvo XC90, considerable importance has been attached to providing innovative infotainment. One result of this focus is that Volvo is the first carmaker in the world to launch Dolby Prologic II in a car audio system.
Dolby Pro Logic II - for optimum audio perception
Volvo introduced the Dolby Pro Logic Surround Sound system back in 1997, when it was featured in the Volvo C70. It represented a revolution in mobile audio quality. Dolby Pro Logic II is a further development of the system, tailored specifically for the in-car audio environment.
Dolby Pro Logic II creates the conditions for optimum audio perception even for passengers in the rear seat, and the sound profile is both broader and more natural. The Volvo XC90 can be specified with up to13 loudspeakers, one of which is an 8-inch 140-watt active subwoofer for better bass quality. The Alpine surround amplifier is rated at 305 watts and is combined with an in dash CD-player for either one or six discs.
Rear-seat passengers have access to their own control unit for the audio system, located conveniently in the C-post. There they can plug in their headphones and listen to a separate audio source, so they are not limited to what is coming through the vehicle's loudspeakers.
Rear Seat Entertainment
The Volvo XC 90 offers more than audio entertainment - it offers pictures as well. The passengers in rows two and three have access to a roof mounted DVD player with a 7-inch wide, retractable color monitor.
The design is extremely compact and the screen is lowered on powered hinges. The functions are remote-controlled and wireless headphones can be used to avoid disturbing other passengers in the car. The DVD player plays ordinary CDs as well.
Navigation made easy
The navigation system (option) is an important part of the infotainment unit in the Volvo XC90. The crystal-clear 6.5-inch widescreen display is recessed into the upper face of the dashboard, from where it pops up at the touch of a button in the steering wheel.
The Volvo XC90 is equipped with the latest generation of Volvo VNS. This means, for instance, that the system is DVD-based and features new ways of logging in the destination, for example via the postal code. A function whereby the system calculates the estimated time of arrival is also included, along with a map that is accurate down to 150 ft.
A number of functions in the navigation system can be programmed to respond to voice controls.