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Thanks for finding out what you can re: child safety. I realize that's a limited area of interest for other readers!

Also curious about Latch (ISOFIX) anchors in the 3rd row. Audi has two sets in current Q7's third row, and we have one set in our exciting Sienna driving machine.

You can see the Latch markers on the 2nd row outboard sets, but not on 3rd row seats. Will all the safety "tech", you would think... ??
It's too difficult getting kids into and out of child seats in the third row, I've never seen anyone put child seats back there, I would guess research bore that out, so they didn't.
 

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The front is quite Audi-esque, in my opinion. A larger, better looking Q5 more than a Q7.

I have a feeling the design had already been minted before the slew of drop dead gorgeous concepts came out, the bottom lip of the new XC90 looks similar a current S60 to me and there is much talk of this being the transitional design so more future cars will appear increasingly like the concepts.
Completely agree! The hood is also similar to the current face-lifted 60 series. Honestly, you could do a lot worse than look like a Q7. A lot a folks will be very interested in a Q7-esque Volvo with a state of the art interior and safety. Many also forget that the Volvo design chief came from VW; designers tend to maintain a personal design philosophy throughout their career, so you'll see some "trademarks" pop up here and there. Example, the slab sides with the sharp high shouldered crease is reminiscent to the current Jetta, US Passat and various Skoda's.
 

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Oh dear, it is just as bad as the teasers indicated. A sleeping pill on four wheels. Unisom design language inside and out. The design department must be getting a head start on adopting the Chinese habit of knockoffs.

In 1999 when the first gen. XC90 design was frozen, the SUV market was already booming and some critics claimed Volvo was too late to the party. The joke was on them. The XC90 set the bar much higher than some brands have cared to reach. I see no excuse (other than pure strategy) why Volvo did not repeat themselves with a truly unique looking vehicle with innovative features. They certainly had enough time. Yes yes, the fancy compression seats are innovative but not something unique to SUVs. The waterfall dash, the logically raked audio/climate console, low COG, pleasing interior shapes, all made it stand out. This does not stand out. Rather, it looks like it was designed to fit in to its competition's line up and into the mindsets of the me-too car buying crowd.

As others have mentioned, there are hints of Audi, BMW, and Jeep and I also see them. That steering wheel is awful- sharp edges around the airbag? I do take issue with the statement that all SUV designs have been done before and as a 7 seater it requires different parameters. Sedans, wagons, cabrios have all predated SUVs and automakers still manage to differentiate themselves (when they choose to) from other brands. I have a 7 seater Volvo in the garage right now and it looks unique and distinct not just amongst other SUVs but amongst automobiles in general.

This behemoth seems to attempt to be everything to everyone. Audi markets to being an intelligent alternative to BMW and MB. Volvo marketed to being an alternative to German marques. Now they seem to be launching "familiar" designs with price points, option package names (Platinum Plus!, oh my my), and fads (touch interface) that are more Germanic/Japanese than Swedish. It might look better in person but that does not bode well when it looks this ugly in pictures. It might look all around gorgeous to someone cross shopping one of the vehicles with its competitors, but to this long-time Volvo fan and owner, the new XC90 is a Volvo in safety engineering only.
 

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It's too difficult getting kids into and out of child seats in the third row, I've never seen anyone put child seats back there, I would guess research bore that out, so they didn't.
I was going to spare others extra clarity re: 3rd row, but here goes...

Agree you wouldn't want harness seats way back there, because when kids are small/lightweight enough to use Latch, they're unlikely to be able to strap themselves in using the harnesses. But once a kid has graduated to a high-back booster, they can ususally strap themselves in using the seat belts. Purpose of the Latch anchors then becomes to simply secure the seat when unoccupied, and prevent it from becoming a projectile in the event of a crash. I'm sure that's why Audi put Latch anchors in both 3rd row seating positions in Q7.

The other part of your point actually tempts me to leap back into the captain's chairs discussion, but I won't...!!! So rejoice, everyone.
 

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In 1999 when the first gen. XC90 design was frozen, the SUV market was already booming and some critics claimed Volvo was too late to the party. The joke was on them. The XC90 set the bar much higher than some brands have cared to reach. I see no excuse (other than pure strategy) why Volvo did not repeat themselves with a truly unique looking vehicle with innovative features. They certainly had enough time. Yes yes, the fancy compression seats are innovative but not something unique to SUVs. The waterfall dash, the logically raked audio/climate console, low COG, pleasing interior shapes, all made it stand out. This does not stand out. Rather, it looks like it was designed to fit in to its competition's line up and into the mindsets of the me-too car buying crowd.
Yes, volvo was always a bit different, both in design and positioning. And what did it bring them? In '99 they sold 400K volume, and that's still their volume. SAAB always thought you need to have the key in the centre. It was properly liked by SAAB-drivers only. Now they are gone....
The German 3 do have about 80% of the premium market. If you can't beat them, be so clever to join them. And that is what Volvo is doing. The XC90 is not a Q7-/X5-clone. But it is has made a step towards competition: by design, by performance, by quality (I hope) and price-wise.

When Volvo had listened to all the critics in the past, they still designed square 240-type of models...
 

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guys - aesthetics is ONE piece of the puzzle, and it's NOT why any of us bought our first XC90

Why do so many people ignore that?

Granted, perhaps aesthetics is the most important factor for the casual buyer - the buyer who has historically not bought a Volvo. The brand is probably more concerned with what those folks think than what the true blue Volvo owner thinks. The historic Volvo owner is gonna test drive the new 90, regardless of its looks. The key question for Volvo is how to get the folks who would be new to Volvo. Maybe some of those will be driven by aesthetics. I am guessing this passes that test.

What will be funny is if the old school Volvo buyers abandon Volvo because Volvo becomes appealing to the mainstream....Some of us DID buy a Volvo because so few other folks have them (and the Volvo met all our other criteria, of course). Many of us wouldn't be caught dead in a BMW.
 

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Aesthetics, in concert with need and safety, did put me into an XC90. The deciding factor: the XC90 had the most unique design and made me feel happy driving something whose aesthetics I appreciated. I can't say that for the new 90. I would hazard a guess that I am probably in a small minority that not only prizes a well-designed car but also puts a priority on an automaker that creates original designs.

I think old school Volvo buyers who abandon anything would abandon new models, not their favorite "old" Volvo series. If becoming mainstream means making cars that lack their own identity, then why not abandon their new models? If I wanted a German car, I would buy a German car. Not one that straddles the line, attempting to put a Scandinavian aesthetic on something that is not.

I love classic Bruno Sacco Mercedes design and have two examples in the garage. That brand left their own design philosophy when threatened by Lexus and now their cars neither look nor feel like a 126, 129, or even a 220. As such, I "abandoned" their new models but adore my 107 and 129. Mercedes-Benz has been redefined to me over the years as my favorite models and my favorite indie shop. My memory recalls clean Teutonic designs and solid engineering. When I see a late model Benz on the road, it feels like a different brand. This is how I will think of Volvo as their design language descends into the cloning vats.

Conradi- It brought them an SUV that outlasted its peers in a positive way. Many auto journalists still praise its looks, features, and its safety was ahead of other brands. So their solution to stagnant sales volume is to produce a cookie cutter car? That's fine, but there is a word for it: selling out. That must be what management devised to keep them in business and it explains the silly Swedish flags in an interior that looks like a Chrysler. That's good as I would be sad to see the world left without a Swedish car brand. But it means no new Volvos for me. Good thing they (used to?) build them so well.
 

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For someone as into cars as you seem to be, you base an awful lot of your opinion on the aesthetics

if aesthetics is only ONE factor to evaluate when comparing cars, I would hardly call the 90 "cookie-cutter" (even if the 90 looked EXACTLY like others in the segment)

and I find it strange that you imply that Volvo no longer builds cars "well" based on PURELY a take on the aesthetics

aesthetics has ZERO relevance to whether a car is "built well" afaik
 

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I think many are disappointed because this thing was hyped more than a politician saying 3 years before an election "I am not running for president" despite the fact that they have a campaign office and an exploratory committee.

Hype is good thing. But I think too many bought in to the hype that this car was going to be something that it could never be.

This is an SUV, AKA a jacked up wagon with some cool features. It looks nice, but as ADP said and I agree, looks alone aren't going to sell this thing.

So as the hype etc are now dying down, wait another 6 months and we can judge for ourselves.

I still prefer the looks of my current XC90. It is more rounded and less angular. But to each their own. This XC90 looks remarkably similar to the car it is replacing, which is very smart indeed. Volvo still manages to sell a decent amount of these old XC90s and they are donkeys years old. The formula works. Tweak it. Don't rewrite the book and this was smart on their end.
 

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Ugh - Underwhelming and overhyped. This is an overpriced Toyota Highlander, with none of the reliability that comes with a new chassis, transmission, engine, hybrid drive-train, and in-car infotainment system. It's a damn expensive gamble, IMHO, so kudos to all the early adopters out there and good luck to the First Edition guinea pigs.
 

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Thanks for finding out what you can re: child safety. I realize that's a limited area of interest for other readers!

Also curious about Latch (ISOFIX) anchors in the 3rd row. Audi has two sets in current Q7's third row, and we have one set in our exciting Sienna driving machine.

You can see the Latch markers on the 2nd row outboard sets, but not on 3rd row seats. Will all the safety "tech", you would think... ??
I wasn't able to get a hold of the proper people, as this event has many, many people on it and the PR team is quite busy. With that said, either Chris or myself will be able to email someone and get an answer. Based on how Chris gets the next trip (and it's frankly a bad-ass one), I nominate him. Either way, I'll see him tomorrow afternoon post-flight and we will get the info you need.

I think it's funny that people already have negative opinions about the vehicle. The FACT is, not one single XC90 owner bought their XC90 based on looks alone. Every one of us bought our 90 because of how the drive compared to the competition, how the safety features compared, the number of seats, the mpg, the price - in other words, the OVERALL package.

There will always be prettier SUVs. There will always be faster SUVs. There will always be cheaper SUVs. There may even be a safer SUV. But no other SUV gave us as much of what we want as the Volvo XC90 has, for the past 10 years.

Very few people buy a vehicle based on ONE characteristic, and that's really all we have, right now, from Volvo. Yet people have opinions that this 90 will never outsell the Lexus, etc. That's all nonsense. I'd wait for the reports from the road.

Having an opinion on the looks of the car is warranted, at this stage. Having an opinion about more of that, until the vehicle hits the streets and people start driving it, is weak.

or do the experts really think that a high % of purchases are based on looks and paper specs, alone? Maybe I am the only one who would not buy a car until the road reports are out.
I think the previous XC was a sharp vehicle, but mark my words that the new XC is striking in person. Not a single journalist I spoke with had anything but praise for the design. I did my best to capture it in the images that we uploaded earlier today, but time was limited. While the sales numbers have yet to be discovered, we can all agree that it won't be as boring as the GX Lexus or the current monstrosity that Inifinity sells. If people are looking to spend the dough and give Volvo an honest look, they will find it quite hard to pass up.

The design (specifically the LEDs) will carry through to all future Volvos, and I think it works well.

I've read that the 90 is "lower"

what does that mean?

Is seat height lower?
is road clearance lower?
is roofline lower?
It looks lower in all respects when compared to a standard height V8 model. The roof is definitely lower, and the ride height may be a tad lower. We'll have to wait until the final specs come out.

Should be around that neighborhood. The rumor I've been hearing is 416hp/500nm. In "power" mode with both engines providing maximum thrust, the car shouldn't have any problems being low 6s/high 5s to 60mph.

Here is another question for the T8 if you guys can ask. Since some of us own Volvo's for anywhere from 10-20 years (I'm on year 7.5 for my 04XC70), what will the replacement cost be for the batteries in the XC90 in 8-10 years of age? Asking, cause if I go with a T8, and hold onto it til it dies, what will the cost be for me at half-life of the XC90?

Ed
From what I have gathered, it is too early in the process to determine for sure, but I'll make sure Chris or I ask once I return to the states tomorrow afternoon.

my recollection is that most hybrid batteries are lasting longer than 10 years, fwiw. I think Toyota put some data out on this, recently

$3,000 for a new replacement Prius battery; $800 for a reconditioned, used Prius battery

http://www.forbes.com/sites/tonybra...ery-doesnt-have-to-cost-thousands-of-dollars/

more info: http://www.greencarreports.com/news/1078138_toyota-hybrid-battery-replacement-cost-guide

still, info from Volvo would be nice
Seems pretty standard for the Hybrid market. Obviously you hope its cheaper than that, but it is important to remain realistic. With that said, it is a Volvo, so reliability was indisputably a key focus during the development process.
 

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Will - thank you for all of your helpful information. Has there been any talk on what Volvo has done for noise isolation? I found the previous gen 90 to be reasonably quiet, but I think it trails some of the quietest cars in this class (the Infiniti QX60, higher trim Acura MDX with extra sound deadening, and the Merc GL) when it comes specifically to road/tire noise.
 

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415hp saweeeeeeeet!..........so euro quote likely 420PS. XC90 will be high 5s and likely end up 5.8s just like I predicted;)
I'm hoping the Volvo suits let's Polestar do their magic.......I see Polestar as becoming the AMG, M division, F (Lexus), etc of the Volvo brand:p
 

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I wasn't able to get a hold of the proper people, as this event has many, many people on it and the PR team is quite busy. With that said, either Chris or myself will be able to email someone and get an answer. Based on how Chris gets the next trip (and it's frankly a bad-ass one), I nominate him. Either way, I'll see him tomorrow afternoon post-flight and we will get the info you need.
Thanks for looking into it, by no means urgent (still have three in harnesses).

Last I heard from Chris, he is unable to travel anyplace cool due to fear of heights. He agreed that his backfill also needs to reside in the DC area, and be someone that knows Agile can refer to more than just handling responsiveness...

So where am I going?
 

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@evilnewbie: I tried the QX60 hybrid - it was coarse and flimsy as hell. Plus, you can't drive it on the road on electric power alone, which you CAN do with an XC90 T8 (and any other plug-in hybrid).

@adp: Cabot's not the only one; the deciding factor for us was also aesthetic design. We found the XC90's design so much more elegant than the Audi Q7 that also got through all our filters, that we were willing to sacrifice the Audi's infotainment and diesel engine just to have it in our garage.
 

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For someone as into cars as you seem to be, you base an awful lot of your opinion on the aesthetics
Not at all. My favorite cars are the ones that look great and have the engineering/reliability to back up those looks. That is why I love those Mercedes-Benz series and my Volvos. I do not base my opinion solely on aesthetics. I think the L322 Range Rover (pre-09 lift) is a beautiful piece of industrial design. Sadly, it has questionable build quality and so-so reliability, therefore I don't see myself owning one. I don't like the way the new XC90 looks and its engines don't interest me. Even if a more appealing face-lifted model strikes my fancy, that distract-o-matic touch interface remains an insurmountable deterrent.

I never implied that Volvo no longer builds cars well based on aesthetics, hence the question mark. If aesthetics had any bearing on build quality, Azteks would have imploded into subspace. I should have been clearer- I tie this new design language in with Geely's purchase of Volvo and the XC90's future build site of China. I think the quality we are accustomed to is going to suffer when that happens and then I will see an ugly Volvo with terrible quality. I see its design as messy and that T8 hybrid thing is going to join the Azteks in subspace if Chinese build quality messes it up. We might as well throw VCNA through that wormhole, too, if Chinese XC90s go poorly.

The XC90 is cookie cutter-ish enough for me. I am not alone in distinctly seeing other brand's designs in it. I can't say that about the original XC90 as nothing else looks like it. Nothing else looks like a Mk1 C70 or a LR Defender. At the end of the day, I am happy with my three Volvos and for the sake of the brand I hope this new XC90 starts populating the parking lots of Starbucks and obnoxious prep schools across the land and that's my story.
 

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Not at all. My favorite cars are the ones that look great and have the engineering/reliability to back up those looks. That is why I love those Mercedes-Benz series and my Volvos. I do not base my opinion solely on aesthetics. I think the L322 Range Rover (pre-09 lift) is a beautiful piece of industrial design. Sadly, it has questionable build quality and so-so reliability, therefore I don't see myself owning one. I don't like the way the new XC90 looks and its engines don't interest me. Even if a more appealing face-lifted model strikes my fancy, that distract-o-matic touch interface remains an insurmountable deterrent.

I never implied that Volvo no longer builds cars well based on aesthetics, hence the question mark. If aesthetics had any bearing on build quality, Azteks would have imploded into subspace. I should have been clearer- I tie this new design language in with Geely's purchase of Volvo and the XC90's future build site of China. I think the quality we are accustomed to is going to suffer when that happens and then I will see an ugly Volvo with terrible quality. I see its design as messy and that T8 hybrid thing is going to join the Azteks in subspace if Chinese build quality messes it up. We might as well throw VCNA through that wormhole, too, if Chinese XC90s go poorly.

The XC90 is cookie cutter-ish enough for me. I am not alone in distinctly seeing other brand's designs in it. I can't say that about the original XC90 as nothing else looks like it. Nothing else looks like a Mk1 C70 or a LR Defender. At the end of the day, I am happy with my three Volvos and for the sake of the brand I hope this new XC90 starts populating the parking lots of Starbucks and obnoxious prep schools across the land and that's my story.
There is no evidence that the xC90 will be built in China and then sent here. That may change in the future, but for now at least, this thing is going to be built in Sweden.

The Chinese made S60L may be coming here, or so they say, but I don't see the Chinese XC90 coming here.

Unless you know something I don't, in which case, I'd like to know.
 
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