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The first SUV from Volvo, the XC90, is the top of the line model in the Swedish carmaker's new XC-range
"Our all-wheel drive XC90 is the first in the next generation of SUV's, aimed to be one of the safest and most exciting on the market," says Hans Wikman, Project Director.
"Masculine, but not macho; muscular, but not aggressive," is how the new Volvo XC90 is described by Peter Horbury, Vice President and Chief Designer at Volvo Cars.
The muscular stance is the synthesis of a number of traditional, yet unique Volvo features:
"Nobody should be in any doubt that this is a modern Volvo," says Peter Horbury. The muscularity of the Volvo XC90 is matched by chamfered corners front and rear, promoting a gentle, non-aggressiveness, while giving the vehicle a more compact impression.
Intelligent vehicle architecture
Peter Horbury is happy to talk about the vehicle architecture of the Volvo XC90, an architecture based on the concept of transversely mounted in line engines. This has allowed Volvo to make a seven-seat SUV within compact overall body dimensions. The Volvo XC90 is 188.9" long, just 3.4" longer than a Volvo V70.
The interior of the Volvo XC90 is characterised by its airiness, space and the quality of materials used in its production. Facing the driver is one of the car world's clearest and most ergonomically designed instrument panels. It is characterised by Scandinavian simplicity of line and functionality: plenty of information from a small number of meticulously designed instruments.
Top level safety
Customers expect Volvo to retain its lead in the field of safety - irrespective of vehicle type. With the launch of its first-ever SUV, Volvo Cars enters an entirely new segment, and the goal is perfectly clear: to lead the way in terms of safety.
With the entry of Volvo Cars into the SUV market, there is increased focus on several new areas. One of them is rollover accident, where the vehicle rolls over onto its roof one or more times.
In order to help reduce the risk of a rollover situation, the Volvo XC90 is equipped with an active stability-enhancing system known as Roll Stability Control or RSC. The system uses gyroscopic sensors to register the car's roll speed and roll angle. Using this information, the terminal angle is instantly calculated and, thus, also the rollover risk.
If the calculated angle is so great that there is an obvious risk of rolling over, the DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control) anti-skid system is activated. DSTC responds by reducing the engine's power and also by braking one or more wheels as necessary until the car under steers and stability is regained.
This helps reduce the risk of a rollover accident initiated by extreme manoeuvres.RSC is the only active stability-enhancement system on the market to measure the car's roll angle. It was developed jointly by Volvo and Ford Motor Company.
Special steel in a reinforced roof structure
If the Volvo XC90 experiences a rollover the passive safety systems step in. The goal is to reduce the risk of the occupant's heads from coming into contact with the car's interior roof panel or sides. Volvo has reinforced parts of the roof structure in the Volvo XC90 with extremely tough Boron steel, which is four to five times stronger than normal steel.
In order to help prevent the head from striking the car's sides, the Volvo XC90 is equipped with Volvo's IC or Inflatable Curtain. IC also helps prevent the occupants from being ejected in an accident.
In the Volvo XC90, all three rows of seats in the 7-seat version are protected by the IC, currently the only SUV to offer such protection.
Also unique to Volvo is that all seats, including the third row, are equipped with seat belt pre-tensioners to help hold the occupants securely in place
The problem of compatibility - when a tall SUV collides with a car that sits closer to the road surface - was in firm focus throughout the development of the new Volvo XC90. The typical SUV has a high ground clearance and thus often comes with high-positioned bumpers. This may create a greater risk of damage to the oncoming passenger car and more serious injuries to its passengers, since the lower car's protective beams and crumple zones simply slip below the front of the SUV without being activated.
In order to reduce the risk of this type of injury, the front suspension sub frame in the Volvo XC90 is supplemented with a lower cross-member, positioned at the height of the beam in a conventional car. This lower beam is integrated into the XC90's structure and is neatly concealed behind the spoiler.
The lower cross-member strikes the oncoming car's protective structure, activating its crumple zone as intended so the occupants can be given the maximum level of protection. This construction reduces risk of injuries in frontal collisions as well as in rear-end impacts and side impacts.
Chassis for all challenges
The Volvo XC90 is a vehicle designed for all types of roads. Even though it is not intended for extreme off-road driving, the combination of electronically controlled all-wheel drive and 8.6" of ground clearance creates the right preconditions for continued progress during rough road conditions.
The independent, multi-link rear suspension is completely insulated, with the dampers and springs attached directly to the subframe. This results in a quieter ride, since road and transmission noise is largely filtered out before it reaches the bodywork. The independent MacPherson front suspension together with the new ZF steering gear, promotes increased precision and sharp response.
The Volvo XC90 has an extremely wide track 64.3" front, 63.9" rear and a long wheelbase 112.6". This makes for exceptional stability, with the vehicle behaving very consistently and dependably even on curving, twisting and uneven roads.
Electronically controlled AWD
One important ingredient in the recipe for safe driving pleasure in the Volvo XC90 is its electronic AWD system, developed in close cooperation with one of the foremost experts in this area - Haldex of Sweden.
The all-wheel drive system in the XC90 automatically distributes power between the front and rear wheels for the best possible grip on all types of road surfaces.
The electronically controlled AWD system is intelligent. It monitors the vehicle's contact with the underlying road surface and assesses the signals that the driver receives through the steering wheel, brake pedal and accelerator. This information then helps determine whether, and if so how, the system should respond.
In normal driving on dry roads, almost all power is delivered to the front wheels. If the road surface causes the front wheels to slip, power is proportionately diverted to the rear wheels. With electronically controlled all wheel drive, engagement takes place extremely quickly, after just one-seventh of a wheel turn, which limits wheel spin and help ensure reliable road grip.
Engines for every need
The Volvo XC90 is available with a choice of two engines, both made entirely of aluminum:
Environmental care is one of the core values at Volvo Cars. That is why the engineering team faced an extra-tough challenge when developing the Volvo XC90, since SUV's are relatively large vehicles with powerful engines.
The Volvo XC90 will take the lead in the SUV segment for both fuel economy and emissions control. The 6-cylinder engine meets the ULEV (Ultra Low Emission Vehicle) requirements, while the 5-cylinder engine already meets the highly stringent ULEV II standard, which manufacturers are not obligated to follow until 2004.
What is more, the Volvo XC90 meets these standards in 50 American states, a clear demonstration that Volvo Cars regards the environment as equally important everywhere.
Cutting edge audio system
In the Volvo XC90, considerable importance has been attached to providing comprehensive and 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 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 13 loudspeakers, one of which is an 8-inch 140-watt active subwoofer for better bass quality.
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. This means that the front seat occupants can listen to the radio, while the rear seat occupants can listen to the CD function - making a long trip in a Volvo XC90 even more enjoyable.
Rear Seat Entertainment
The Volvo XC 90 offers more than audio entertainment - it offers pictures as well. For the benefit of the passengers in the second and third row there is 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.
Interactive in your XC90
The navigation system is an important part of the infotainment unit in the Volvo XC90. The crystal-clear 6.5-inch, color, wide screen 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.
Also - it utilizes DVD media for faster route calculation and map coverage of the US on one disc.
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