The electric successor to the Volvo’s flagship SUV – the XC90 – will be revealed in the final quarter of 2022. The new SUV flagship, as the marque's first totally bespoke EV and the first atop a new platform, will play a fundamental role in Volvo’s electrification ramp up whereby the company plans to sell 600,000 pure-electric cars annually from 2025.
- XC90 successor will have EV electric and ICE-powered options
- It will be based on the Concept Recharge that was showcased in 2021
- Will be based on Volvo’s new SPA2 platform
Volvo XC90: exterior and interior design
The Concept Recharge heavily hinted at how Volvo will ensure its new flagship EV retains the XC90’s core characteristics while ushering in a totally new approach to exterior and cabin design, as well as a host of advanced new technologies.
So, although the XC90 successor will adopt a radically different design, it will continue to be major on space and practicality. The ‘less is more’ approach exhibited by the concept points to an enhanced focus on minimalistic design in Volvo’s new electric era as well as a drive to minimise the well-to-wheel environmental impact of each vehicle it produces.
Some of the concept’s more outlandish and futuristic cues will be toned down for production – the four free-standing seats, for example. However, the skateboard-style architecture will offer new levels of interior space and flexibility. To that end, the production car will ditch physical controls for a cleaner and simpler driver environment. Most of the functions will be controlled through a large-format central touchscreen using operating software developed by Google – as first adopted by the XC40 Recharge and Polestar 2.
However, Volvo’s next SUV will not be so easily categorised as an SUV because, although it sits high off the ground and emphasises all-round visibility like the current car, it has a straighter-edged two-box silhouette reminiscent of estate cars.
The XC90 successor will, therefore, straddle the boundary between two segments to capitalise on the popularity of SUVs while differentiating itself from rivals and avoiding alienating buyers of lower-slung models.
Volvo XC90 replacement: platform and powertrain
The XC90 successor will be a production version of the Concept Recharge that was showcased in 2021 and will be based on Volvo’s new SPA2 platform. This evolved version of the current car’s architecture will accommodate a choice of combustion and pure-electric powertrains. It will be the first production car to use the new underpinnings before they are rolled out to other Volvo models and sibling brands owned by parent company Geely Auto.
Unlike the vast majority of mixed-powertrain platforms currently on the market, the SPA2 will be offered in two distinct forms. This will allow the electric XC90 successor to benefit from a completely flat floor, shortened overhangs and a more overtly cabforward stance, whereas the combustion-engined versions will have slightly more familiar interior proportions, given the need to accommodate an engine, transmission and exhaust system.
Volvo remains guarded about details of the new car’s powertrain offering, but the firm’s well-publicised push to reduce emissions across its line-up means all combustion variants will feature some form of electrification, be they mild hybrids or plug-in hybrids. Diesel will not be offered at all.
The electric variant, meanwhile, could usher in entirely new powertrain set-ups distinct from those offered on the CMA-based XC40, C40 and Polestar 2 EVs, while four-wheel drive is highly likely to be standard, given its large SUV billing. Volvo will offer a choice of battery sizes on its new EVs, giving buyers the option of standard and long-range versions, the latter capable of travelling up to 310 miles between charges.
Volvo XC90 replacement to come by late 2022
The Swedish marque's financial report for the first quarter of 2022 revealed a dramatic dip in profits in light of the supply chain crisis, rising material costs and factory shutdowns, but it remains committed to rapidly ramping up its electrification plans.
Volvo CEO Jim Rowan has confirmed to our sister publication Autocar UK that the flagship SUV was still on track to arrive in 2022. He said, “We are very much on track. We've made commitments that we would be launching a certain number of vehicles every year, and we'll make the decision on when we release that, but the fourth quarter this year is when we will release more details on that product.”
Following Volvo's earlier confirmation that the new arrival will take a name, rather than an alphanumeric designation into production, a recent trademark filing suggests it will be called the Embla. Embla was the name of the first woman in Norse mythology, which could signal a naming strategy for future models centred around Volvo's Scandinavian heritage.
Volvo XC90 replacement for India
Volvo has been selling the second-generation XC90 in the Indian market since 2015. The three-row SUV recieved an engine update late last year, where the 235hp, 2.0-litre diesel engine was replaced by a new 300hp, 2.0-litre mild-hybrid turbo-petrol engine. Along with the new petrol motor, the XC90 is also available with a plug-in hybrid powerplant. It rivals cars like the Audi Q7, BMW X7, Land Rover Discovery and Mercedes-Benz GLS in the Indian market.
It is early to predict when we will see the XC90 replacement on our shores. It is likely that Volvo would bring the XC90 replacement to the Indian market sometime towards the end of 2023.