Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Step It Up ... the Second-Generation Volvo XC90 Aims to Make the Most of Its Sleek Swedish Design Values. ANDY ENRIGHT Takes a Look

Newspaper article The Journal (Newcastle, England)

Step It Up ... the Second-Generation Volvo XC90 Aims to Make the Most of Its Sleek Swedish Design Values. ANDY ENRIGHT Takes a Look

Article excerpt

LESS is most definitely not more when it comes to the secondgeneration Volvo XC90. Bigger, bolder and more technologically advanced than ever, it's a long way removed from its low-key predecessor.

The interior's beautifully finished and the focus is on downsized, efficient engines.

Key to understanding the dynamics of this second-generation XC90 is the fact that it runs on the all-new chassis based on Volvo's Scalable Product Architecture (SPA).

Yes, it's Volvo's take on the infinitely customisable chassis systems like Volkswagen's MQB and will inevitably underpin a whole host of next-generation models.

In this guise, it's lighter, stronger and safer than the old XC90 chassis, but despite an increase in vehicle dimensions, this XC90 downsizes its engines.

You'll find no Yamaha V8s this time round, just a range of engines from the marque's green-tinted Drive-E family. The flagship engine is the 320PS T6 petrol, which utilises both turbo and supercharging, while most British customers will inevitably walk straight past that to look instead at the 225PS D5 twin turbodiesel.

Both engines drive all four wheels via the almost obligatory eight-speed automatic transmission.

The other option is the T8 Twin Engine petrol/electric plug-in hybrid model, billed as "the world's most powerful and cleanest SUV". This delivers a combined 412PS output, with a thumping 640Nm of torque. 62mph from rest is achieved in just 5.6s, yet this car can also give you 26 miles of pure electric driving range when fully charged.

Whatever you think of Volvo's latest design direction, it's hard to ignore. The XC90 has a very big face. Even the "iron mark" grille badge has been updated, while the headlamps now get T-shaped "Thor's Hammer" daytime running lights.

The intricately shaped bonnet is an XC90 trope and that continues, blended into even more complex forms. …

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