As we mentioned in our preview post earlier this month, it's a bit of a stretch to say that Volvo's mildly freshened 2007 XC90 merits a new model launch, but Volvo has made a number of noteworthy refinements to its successful SUV.

At the top of the list of new features is Volvo's new 3.2-liter inline 6-cylinder engine, which replaces the old turbo five-cylinder. The new six puts out a respectable 235 hp and 236 ft-lb of torque. Volvo's 311 hp V8 remains at the top of the option list for the new XC90.

The interior and exterior of the XC90 receive a number of detail refinements, including a new premium sound system which includes an Alpine power amp and Dynaudio speakers.

The new XC90 builds on Volvo's safety theme with a number of new features in the area of "preventative safety," including active headlights, a Blind Spot Information System built into the door mirrors, and a Park Assist Camera system integrated with the navigation system display. More pictures and the XC90 press release follow the jump.


Official Press Releases:
GLOBAL LAUNCH OF NEW VOLVO XC90

Award-winning SUV Refined and Restyled for 2007

NEW YORK (April 12, 2006) - The 2007 Volvo XC90, shown for the first time at the New York International Auto Show, features a more car-like design, a restyled interior, an all-new Volvo 3.2-liter six-cylinder engine, and of course enhancements to the legendary Volvo safety.

The Volvo XC90 rolled onto the SUV scene in 2003 with a range of innovations previously unseen in the premium SUV segment. Now, four years later, Volvo Car Corporation is introducing an enhanced XC90 with its sights firmly set on taking the segment to the next level.

“We are moving deliberately upward in the premium segment. In order to make the highly successful XC90 even more attractive, we have elevated the vehicle’s luxury quotient and passenger car-like comfort,” says Fredrik Arp, President and CEO of Volvo Cars.

The new 2007 XC90 is intended to strengthen Volvo Cars’ position in an SUV market that received the vehicle with rave reviews, quickly becoming "The Next Generation SUV."

“We have listened keenly to our customers and refined the vehicle to boost our competitive position, on both sides of the Atlantic. We already have a winning concept, so the aim was to fine-tune rather than make major changes,” says Arp. “Enhanced lines, more sophisticated materials and a better driving experience without compromising the demands for safety and good environmental properties in the powertrain,” continues Arp.

Continuing Success

The Volvo XC90 has been, and continues to be, an enormous sales success for Volvo Cars. From its original projected annual volume of 50,000 units, production was successively increased to meet demand. In 2005 production of the XC90, at the Torslanda manufacturing facility in Sweden, approached 90,000 units.

The new, enhanced Volvo XC90 will start production in spring 2006, arriving to U.S. showrooms during the summer. The United States will continue to be the model’s largest single market, accounting for 50 percent of total sales.

New, Advanced In-Line Six Engine

Since introduction, XC90 powertrains have been gradually refined, resulting in entirely new engine variants.

Replacing the 208-horsepower, turbo-charged five cylinder engine will be a new in-line 3.2-liter six cylinder engine. The new engine utilizes the latest technology to maintain the same exterior dimensions and fuel consumption as a five-cylinder unit.

The engine, primarily comprised of aluminium, produces a power output of 235-horsepower and 236 lb.-ft. of torque.

The 2007 XC90 will also be available with Volvo's compact and energy-efficient V8 (311 hp, 325 lb/ft of torque). Both the in-line six and V8 will be mated to a six-speed Geartronic automatic transmission and the Volvo All Wheel Drive system with Instant Traction.

“With state-of-the-art six- and eight-cylinder engines in the USA, we will appeal to a far broader customer segment,” says Hans Wikman, Vice President Vehicle Line Large Cars at Volvo Car Corporation.


Alert Response and High Performance

The new inline-six cylinder engine is designed to provide excellent throttle response and performance across a broad range of conditions, key factors for the driving experience of a premium SUV. At the same time, the engine delivers good fuel-efficiency. For reasons of collision safety, the engine has been designed with extremely compact dimensions and installed transversely in the engine compartment.

The valve train features Variable Cam Timing (VCT) and Cam Profile Switching (CPS) to control valve lift and duration on the inlet side – two key elements in providing the engine with excellent flexibility. CPS determines valve lift; the VCT system controls duration over a wide range of operation.

With CPS, the camshaft lifts the inlet valves to two different heights, depending on engine speed and load. In normal driving with modest throttle openings and low engine revs, fuel consumption is moderate yet torque is sufficient to provide good drivability.

The Variable Intake System (VIS) allows for adjustment of the intake manifold to suit the current driving situation, making it possible to extract maximum possible power throughout the engine’s entire rev range.


Compact Format Contributes to High Collision Safety

Despite the engine’s 3.2 liter displacement, it is also extremely compact. Its compact dimensions allow the engine to occupy a minimal amount of space under the hood, helping to reduce the risk of intrusion into the passenger compartment in the event of a collision.

The engine’s compact dimensions were achieved by positioning ancillary components, such as the power steering pump and air conditioning compressor, behind the engine and above the transmission. The alternator is direct-driven and fitted on the engine block. Furthermore, a vibration damper, which compensates for vibration in the six-cylinder’s relatively long crankshaft, has been integrated inside the engine block.


Exterior with Slimmer, More Scandinavian Lines

The primary aim for the design changes to the 2007 XC90 was to create a more modern, elegant uniquely Scandinavian appearance. This was achieved through a number of modifications including a new grille with more chrome and bumpers with a greater degree of color coding. The tail lamps have been redesigned and the reflectors in the bumper are recessed within chrome trim surroundings.

All versions of the XC90 now have color-coded side trim mouldings and door handles. Optional new wheel-housing moldings are partly painted in the car’s body color. The door mirrors are partly color-coded and now feature built-in turn indicator repeaters. At the same time, a new turn indicator function is being introduced: a quick push on the indicator stalk flashes the turn indicator three times. This feature first appeared in the current-generation S40 and V50.

Two new body colors, Electric Silver metallic and the XC90-unique Shadow Blue, provide added choice, as do the new Camulus 18-inch aluminium wheels (also unique to the XC90). All aluminium wheels now feature the classic Volvo emblem in the center.

As an alternative to black roof rails, brushed aluminium can be specified as an option.


Interior with an Elegant Touch and Wider Range of Choices

A number of changes have been implemented, giving the interior a more exclusive aura. There are new color combinations and a wider range from which to choose.

For example, enhancing the interior for with a high-quality feel, new upholsteries added to the design repertoire. The most exclusive alternative is the new perforated soft-leather Sovereign Hide with contrasting seam stitching.

The center console has been upgraded with a new display and aluminium-effect trim. New trim panels, with Sapeli Wood as an added option, give the customer a wider choice and impart an elegant Scandinavian touch to the interior.

Additional options come in the form of a combined instrument panel with a watch dial-inspired design and an interior rear-view mirror featuring an integrated compass.


Upgraded Navigation System and World Class Audio System

The navigation system has been further enhanced for faster performance, ease of use and provides more information about the cities and locations than before.

The top-of-the-line Premium Sound now includes a digital ICE Power amplifier from Alpine and loudspeakers from Dynaudio. The new amplifier and loudspeakers further enhance the effectiveness of the Dolby Pro Logic II Surround sound processing for a truly world-class audio experience.

In the High Performance and Premium Sound systems, it is now possible to play CDs with music in MP3 and WMA (Windows Media Audio) format. All audio systems will be equipped with an extra input (AUX) to connect external equipment, such as an Ipod.


An SUV Offering Unique Levels of Safety

“When the Volvo XC90 was initially developed, our aim was to offer exceptionally high safety levels to all occupants in the car,” says Wikman. “All the test results indicate that we have succeeded.”

The Volvo XC90 is a modern SUV, built like a passenger car with a monocoque body, effective deformation/energy absorbing zones, a low center of gravity and advanced systems to minimize the risk of personal injuries, irrespective of the situation or collision. Further, the XC90 was equipped with several advanced systems to prevent accidents from occurring in the first place.

“With the launch of the restyled Volvo XC90 for 2007, preventive safety is the primary area for further enhancement and we have focused on driver control,” says Wikman.


Active Bi-Xenon Light

In order to contribute to the best possible visibility when driving in the dark on twisting roads, Active Bi-Xenon Light manipulates the headlight beams to follow the curvature of the road. A microprocessor is used to measure and analyze a number of parameters (speed, steering angle, etc.) and optimize the light pattern to suit those conditions. The headlamps can be rotated up to 15 degrees in either direction. To reduce power consumption, the system is automatically disabled in daylight.


BLIS Contributes to Better Driver Control

The Volvo XC90 is also equipped with BLIS (Blind Spot Information System). Using cameras integrated into the door mirrors, BLIS registers whether another vehicle has entered the XC90’s offset rear blind spots. If so, a light is illuminated in the relevant mirror to alert the driver and help them make the right decision to avoid a collision help the driver gain better control of the driving situation.


Park Assist Camera – an Extra Eye to the Rear

Helping to protect someone standing behind the vehicle and to aid in parking, Volvo Cars is introducing the Park Assist Camera. The system not only gives the driver an extra eye to the rear, it also shows the vehicle’s planned track when reversing.

A wide-angle camera shows the area behind the XC90. The image is displayed in the navigation screen above the instrument panel and displays the widest area possible without excessive distortion. The picture, also displays the intended path the vehicle will take in the reversing maneuver, changes with the steering wheel movements. Park Assist Camera is a fully-integrated function in the XC90 and is expected to be ready for delivery to customers in autumn 2006.

“The changes we have made to the new Volvo XC90 can be regarded as precision tuning designed to increase the vehicle’s appeal further,” says Wikman. “We are aiming at a highly discerning group of buyers and we want to give them an even better premium experience.”

Descriptions and specifications in this press material relate to the Volvo Cars international model range. Car specifications may vary from one country to another and may be altered without prior notification.



The New Volvo XC90: Holistic Approach to Retain Top Ratings for Safety
       
Real World Safety Innovation
       
Standard for SUV Safety
       
Highest safety ratings by independent analysis
       
Safety for all occupants, including the third row of seats
       
Transversely mounted engines for Safety
       
Advanced functions for increased driver control
       

       
The award-winning Volvo XC90 has become a favorite with large families since it was introduced in 2002.  The popularity of Volvo Cars’ first SUV goes beyond the roomy cabin and comfortable seating for seven people. One of the most compelling arguments for the XC90 is its high level of safety – innovative designs and systems that were unique for an SUV at the time the vehicle was launched.
       
Maintaining Volvo Cars’ world-wide reputation for safety leadership was a high priority in the development of the company’s first SUV.  The company relied heavily on its extensive research gained from real world traffic accidents, the world’s most advanced testing facility and a holistic approach to safety to create the active and passive safety systems that would immediately distinguish XC90 as a breakthrough in the SUV category.
       
Volvo Cars’ ambition was to create an SUV that could be compared with the best passenger cars with respect to both driving stability and the capacity to provide effective protection in various types of accidents. By any measure, the company has succeeded.
       
“We would go so far as to say that we redrew the safety map for SUVs when we designed the Volvo XC90,” says Ingrid Skogsmo, head of Volvo Cars Safety Center. “Our ambition was to achieve a very high level of safety for everyone in the car, and test results indicate that we have succeeded.”
       
The Volvo XC90 receives consistently high ratings and positive assessments in surveys conducted by independent organisations. The five stars earned in Euro NCAP testing are based to a great extent on the comprehensive protection for the occupants of the car, including highly effective protection for children. The IIHS (Insurance Institute for Highway Safety) reports similar results. That organization gives the XC90 the highest ratings for both frontal offset and rear-end collisions. The Volvo XC90 is also one of the few models among SUVs to receive the highest rating for protection against whiplash injuries.
       
Another measure of safety in the XC90 comes from the sister organization of the IIHS - the Highway Loss Data Institute. That agency compared different car models with respect to the costs incurred by insurance companies.  Results showed the Volvo XC90 is the leader among mid-sized SUVs with regard to minimizing the costs incurred by insurance companies.
       
Built like a passenger car
       
The high degree of safety in the Volvo XC90 begins with its passenger car-style construction with a unitized body, effective deformation zones, a low centre of gravity, and advanced systems to minimize the risk of injury, regardless of the type of accident.
       
Among other features, the XC90 was fitted with an innovative system to reduce roll-overs, a type of accident that was often associated with earlier SUV models. This system, Roll Stability Control (RSC), is an active, stability-enhancing system that uses a gyroscope with a sophisticated computer program to determine the risk of a roll-over. If the system determines that the risk is high, engine torque is cut and a strategic amount of brake force is applied to one or more wheels to stabilize the vehicle.
       
If a roll-over cannot be avoided, the occupants are protected by the interior safety system that includes safety belt tensioners for all seats and Inflatable Curtains (IC). In addition, the safety cage around the occupants helps reduce the risk of injury.
       
Safety for the third row of seats
       
A great deal of attention went into safety for passengers in the third row of seats. The area was designed so that children and adults up to a height of approximately 5’ 3”/160 cm can sit comfortably, without compromising safety. The two seats in the third row have an extremely robust design and are positioned above the rear axle, which contributes to reducing the risk of injury in side impact collisions. Third row passengers are also protected by an enhanced inflatable curtain, the first of its kind in the industry.
       
Third row passenger safety is further enhanced by maximizing the space between the seating positions and the vehicle's exterior. This is partly accomplished by providing a third row of seats that are somewhat smaller than the other seats. Volvo Intelligent Vehicle Architecture (VIVA) accounts for the ample space behind the rear seats. The efficiently compact way in which the engine is mounted (transversely), allows for a proportionately long cabin – resulting in ample space for luggage compartment as well as crumple zone.
       
Smaller children are best seated on the integrated booster cushion in the center position of the second row of seats. This world's first can also be moved forward approximately 12 inches to create closer child/parent contact.
       
The XC90 also exemplifies the Volvo Cars emphasis considering other road-users such as pedestrians and cyclists. The smoothly rounded front and the ample space between the engine and hood contribute to reducing the risk of injury to road-users in a collision. The frontal structure is also designed to help reduce the risk of damage, in the event of a collision, to smaller vehicles.
       
Only transverse engines
       
All engines in the Volvo XC90 are transversely mounted, which contributes to both a roomy cabin and protective safety. A transversely mounted engine takes minimal space away from the length of the car, thereby providing a more effective deformation zone.
       
Volvo’s newly developed and highly efficient six-cylinder in-line engine - now available in the XC90 – is also transversely mounted thanks to its extremely compact format. The complete engine unit, including the six-speed automatic gearbox, is only 1/10th of an inch longer than the Volvo predecessor, its five-cylinder equivalent. Its total length is 24.6 inches.
       
By placing the auxiliary components, such as the steering servo pump and air conditioning compressor, behind the engine, in the space above the gearbox, Volvo has achieved an impressively compact engine. Utilizing a creative solution known as READ – Rear End Ancillary Drive, power generation is provided via gears on the rear end of the crankshaft. The alternator is driven directly and is mounted on the engine block. The vibration damper, which compensates for vibrations in the six-cylinder engine’s relatively long crankshaft, has been built into the engine block.
       
Preventive safety
       
In addition to comprehensive collision protection, the XC90 was fitted from the start with a number of advanced systems to prevent accidents. Among these are numerous Volvo innovations, such as:  RSC (Roll Stability Control), which acts to stabilize the vehicle at the threat of a roll-over; and, Volvo’s stability system DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control), which contributes to the reduction of skidding - by reducing engine torque and applying well balanced brake force when necessary.
       
“The system contributes to safer driving in most situations,” says Skogsmo. “And with the introduction of the new Volvo XC90, we will also present several systems that further enhance preventive safety. We have put particular focus on driver control," she concludes.
       
Active Bi-Xenon Light – turning headlamps
       
In order to provide the best possible vision when driving in darkness on winding roads, Volvo Cars is introducing Active Bi-Xenon Lights – moving headlamps that follow the bends in the road. A mini-processor is used to measure and analyze a number of parameters and optimizes the beam of light to the situation. The headlamps can turn up to 15 degrees in both directions - a total of 30 degrees - thereby enabling them to illuminate a longer stretch of road in curves. To prolong the system’s service life, the function is automatically disengaged in daylight.
       
BLIS offers better driver control
       
The new Volvo XC90 is also available with BLIS (Blind Spot Information System). BLIS uses cameras mounted in the door mirrors to register if another vehicle is in the blind spot at the side of the car. If this is the case, an indicator lamp illuminates near the mirror to warn the driver, thus increasing the possibility for the driver to make the correct decision. In this way, BLIS helps give the driver better control of the driving situation.
       
Park Assist Camera – an extra eye to the rear
       
In the new XC90, Volvo Cars is now introducing the Park Assist Camera as an accessory. The mechanism alerts the driver to anyone who might be behind the vehicle, as well as provides information that makes parking easier. This advanced function not only provides the driver with an extra eye towards the rear but also shows the vehicle’s intended path prior to rearward motion. A wide-angle camera monitors the area behind the XC90.
       
The image is displayed on the navigation system’s screen, located on the dashboard. The camera angle is set to show the entire area without excessively distorting the perspective. The screen provides guide line markers projecting the path of the vehicle while moving in reverse. The guiding lines follow the turn of the steering wheel to help the driver steer properly. The Park Assist Camera is a fully-integrated function in the car, and is expected to be available to customers in the autumn of 2006.
       
“The Volvo XC90 has become a benchmark for safety in an SUV,” says Skogsmo. “But the fact that safety was uniquely high when the vehicle was launched does not mean that we have become complacent. All of the changes and new features that we are introducing have been evaluated from a safety perspective. This means that the XC90 is still one of the absolutely safest SUVs on the market."