Groundbreaking, high-class interior for Volvo’s all-new XC90
When you’re stuck in traffic, it doesn’t matter if you’re driving a 258-horsepower luxury SUV, a diminutive 800 cc hatchback, or a drop-dead-gorgeous roadster. What will matter is the type of interior accommodation you have to deal with, with the crushing sea of cars on the road, the unbearable hot and humid weather, as well as a few inconsiderate drivers.
This was probably what Volvo had in mind when it launched a new interior design philosophy, first introduced in the all-new Volvo XC90.
Indeed, the all-new XC90 marks the beginning of a new chapter in Volvo’s history as it embodies the Swedish brand’s future interior design direction.
The interior design of the all-new XC90 captures that comfort, functionality and spaciousness that is a common touch in Swedish homes—in their furniture, glassware and other non-automotive objet d’art.
As explained by Peter Mertens, Volvo Cars SVP for research and development, the XC90’s new interior architecture is pure and uncluttered, while still radiating the sophisticated confidence and formality that luxury SUV customers expect.
Helping create an interior, which is described as modern, spacious and uncluttered, is the tablet-like, vertically oriented 9-inch touchscreen control console.
Volvo describes the touchscreen’s layout as a stack of flexible “tiles,” each displaying a key function: Navigation is on top, below is the media and phone, while the digital climate controls are located at the bottom of the screen.
When one of the tiles on the touchscreen expands on touch, the others are compressed but are still visible and accessible.
If you think this display is familiar and as easy as manipulating an iPad, then you should know that this device employs Apple’s CarPlay communications system.
As a result, it could replicate certain apps from your iPhone onto the screen (including Apple Maps as well as the phone’s iTunes library).
However, Android device users should not feel left out since the console allows native integration.
Of course, Volvo did not forget that part of XC90 which matters most to passengers when inside: the seats.
With a reputation for providing the most comfortable and safest seats in the industry, Volvo gave the XC90 innovatively designed seats that free up interior space for passengers seated in the second and third rows.
This resulted is a seven-seater SUV that offers better legroom for all seven passengers.
According to Robin Page, Volvo Cars’ interior design director, just like classic Scandinavian chairs, XC90’s new seats prove that seats don’t need a lot of thick padding to be comfortable.
“The full seat core has an ergonomic shape that resembles the human spine. A multitude of adjustment possibilities makes it possible for the individual user to create an ideal seating position,” Page said.
The standard “Comfort” seats are available with intuitive, smooth power operation, including adjustable side bolsters, seat cushion extension, multidirectional lumbar support and vertical adjustment of the headrests.
Three settings can be stored in the memory, while ventilation and massage functions are optional.
There’s also the all-new optional “Contour” seat that has been designed to offer excellent side support all the way from the shoulders to the thighs.
Meanwhile, the second row features three individual seats with recline adjustment. This row has a sliding function that can be used to create more legroom for the passengers in the third row, or to increase loading space at the back if the third row seats are folded flat.
For owners with young children, an integrated child booster cushion in the second row’s center seat is optional.
The two seats in the third row, on the other hand, offer class-leading comfort for passengers up to 5 feet, 7 inches (170 centimeters) high.
Interestingly, the two seats are slightly centered so that occupants will also have a view of what’s in front (and not the headrests of the second row seats).
Also, under the second row seats, Volvo made sure there is enough space for the feet of those seated on the third row.
Moreover, special attention has been given to ensure getting in and out of the third row is easy, making the XC90 having the best third row in the segment.
A leader in the field of safety, Volvo made sure that all seven seats are equipped with three-point safety belts with pretensioners.
Also, all the seat rows are equipped with Volvo’s improved Inflatable Curtain airbags in the event of a side impact or rollover situation.
Apart from a generous amount of soft leather (with tiny Swedish flags sewn into the seats), there are also wood, metal and other high-end details inside the new XC90.
The gearshift lever is made from crystal glass courtesy of Swedish glassmaker Orrefors and a diamond-cut controls for the reduced switchgear (including the start-stop button for the engine).
All told, the new XC90 looks promising. Volvo stresses that it uses 100-percent in-house technologies.
Its new Chinese owners rightfully decided to keep the brand’s Swedish heritage and cachet, and they all seem to work toward a harmonious whole.