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The all-new Volvo XC90 – a combination of luxury, safety and technology

Since it was formed in 1927, Volvo has always been a car company that was known for its leadership in safety, design and innovation and that legacy has continued with the XC90 luxury SUV (sports utility vehicle).

The seven seat vehicle has a head-turning look with a premium interior finish and a new range of technologies and leading safety features.

Volvo is calling the XC90 the world’s safest SUV with two world-first safety features – the run-off road protection and the auto brake at intersection capability.

The Swedish car maker has gone as far to say that by 2020 no one will be killed or seriously injured inside a Volvo vehicle.

The vehicle offers up to 300kW of power and it will be available in two-cylinder and four-cylinder models with turbocharged and supercharged engines and a petrol engine with an electric motor.

The interior of the vehicle is one of the most luxurious Volvo has ever created with soft leather and handcrafted wood finishes.

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THE NEW VOLVO

For Volvo, the XC90 represents not only the introduction of a new model, but also a new beginning for the brand with the goal of introducing a portfolio of exciting new models in the next three years.

The company took a very human-centric approach to the design and development of the XC90 with the goal to create a calm and relaxing environment.

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The car has tiered seating so the seats flow down to the front to allow everyone in the car a clear view through the large windows which let in lots of light.

CONTROL SYSTEM

Another aim for Volvo was to create a new approach to interaction that would be both useful yet not distracting.

Ironically it has achieved this not with less technology – but actually with more of it.

It all starts with the iPad-size screen that dominates the centre console.

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The Volvo XC90 touchscreen control system

In fact, there are hardly any buttons or knobs so it looks modern and uncluttered.

The 9-inch screen has a black background so it blends into the surrounding panel and adjacent air-vents.

There are three main pages in the car’s system that can be accessed with an easy swipe and include essentials like navigation, audio, communications, climate controls and settings.

Users can also position the screen’s controls how they like with a long press of the icons in the same way you can move apps on a smartphone’s screen.

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The screen has multi-touch so the driver or passenger can zoom in and out on maps with a pinch.

And the display even has a special infra-red layer so it can be operated while you’re wearing gloves or if you have longer nails.

ON-ROAD TECHNOLOGY

Volvo has take a huge leap forward with technology brings the car a step closer to autonomous.

QUEUE ASSIST

Distraction and inattentiveness are the two biggest causes of accidents but new features in the new XC90 helps avoid both.

Queue assist, designed for city driving in monotonous stop-go traffic, enables the car to speed up and slow down and safe distance in front of it as long as driver has one hand on the wheel.

It combines with active control cruise control so the acceleration and braking are controlled automatically

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LANE KEEPING AID

Lane Keeping Aid is another feature that helps keep drivers where they are supposed to be – in their lanes.

It applies added torque to the steering control when it senses the driver drifting out of the lane so it feels like the car is keeping bringing you back in the lane again.

Driver alert control can also detect inattentive drivers and offers an audio alert and directs the driver to the nearest rest area.

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EXTENDED ROAD SIGN INFORMATION

The Volvo XC90 is the first car that has road sign information technology.

There is actually a camera in the lower half of the Volvo badge of front grille that recognises speed signs and display then on the all-digital dashboard.

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Extended Road Sign Information is gathered through the camera in the lower half of the Volvo logo and is displayed on the digital driver display

RUN OFF ROAD PROTECTION

This world first feature protects the driver and passengers if the XC90 runs off the road – a common accident caused by fatigue and poor weather conditions.

A high number of road fatalities in Australia were caused by road departure accidents.

The XC90 can detect when the car has left the road and instantly sets in motion a number of protective measures.

Firstly, it tightens the seatbelts to keep the passengers firmly in place and, to help reduce the chance of a spinal injury, it reduces the vertical occupant forces by up to a third.

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AUTOBRAKE AT INTERSECTIONS

This is another world first for Volvo where the car automatically brakes if it turns in front of an oncoming car.

The vehicle can detect a potential crash and brake automatically to avoid a collision or reduce the impact of the crash.

AUDIO SYSTEM

Also on board the Volvo XC90 is a top shelf audio system with 19 speakers scattered throughout the car.

Volvo has partnered with prestigious audio brand Bowers & Wilkins to deliver a system that has been acoustically tuned to the vehicle.

Drivers can even select the sound mode whether it’s a concert hall, studio or individual stage.

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The Bowers & Wilkin audio system in the Volvo XC90

It’s also possible to optimise the sound for the number of occupants in the car whether it’s just the driver or a whole car full of people.

And the inside of the car acts as the subwoofer chamber.

The subwoofer is integrated into the body of the car and uses the space inside the cabin to drive more air and create amazing bass.

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PRICING AND AVAILABILITY

The Volvo XC90 comes in three models.

* D5 Diesel
T6 Petrol
T8 Twin Engine

* Drive–E Technology, 8-Speed Automatic, AWD
Drive-E Technology, 8-Speed Automatic

* AWD
Petrol / Electric Drive-E Technology, 8-Speed Automatic, AWD

The XC90 starts at $89.950 and goes all the way up to $122,950.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

About Stephen Fenech

Stephen is the Tech Guide editor and one of Australia's most respected tech journalists. He is a regular on radio and TV talking about the latest tech news, products and trends.

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