Volvo South Africa has earlier this week revealed its refreshed 2020 XC90, but more important than the gently-massaged design is the new mild hybrid system that the automaker says will spread throughout its range. The second-generation XC90 was the first of Volvo’s reinvention vehicles, launching a new design language, new range of engines, and a more luxurious – and distinctly Swedish – experience inside back in 2014.
Volvo then proceeded to apply that recipe for success across its subsequent cars, SUVs, and crossovers. The XC90 was joined by the S90 luxury sedan and V90 wagon, together with the V90 Cross Country crossover.
At the same time, the 60 Series was rebooted, with XC60, S60, V60 abnd V60 CC. The 40 Series, most notably the XC40 crossover, helped the automaker debut Care by Volvo, its subscription-based driving package that’s yet to reach our shores.
Until now, Volvo has offered the T8 Twin Engine Plug-in Hybrid pair petrol engine with a battery pack and electric motors. This delivers an all-electric range, or can combine both power sources for maximum range and performance. Volvo’s ambitions for electrification have escalated, however. The manufacturer had already confirmed that all of its models will eventually be electrified by the middle of the next decade.
With the 2019 XC90, major changes are under the bonnet, the surface alterations to the refresh are minor. Even Volvo admits they’re subtle: then again, even five years after its debut, the second-generation SUV still looked relatively clean. New wheels and exterior colours have been added for the 2019 model year, along with a new grille.
Inside, there’s now a choice of seating configurations. Joining the seven-seat option and the four-seat Excellence luxury version is a new six-seat configuration that has three rows of two seats each. New wool blend materials see the 2020 XC90 follow the rest of the Volvo range in offering non-leather options.
The Volvo Sensus infotainment system now gets integrated Spotify support, and Android Auto has been added to the Apple CarPlay support. However this isn’t Volvo’s all-new, next-generation Sensus which will be based on Android. On the safety front, there’s now steering assistance in City Safety and the Blind Spot Information System, while Oncoming Lane Mitigation is also now an option. Cross Traffic Alert can autobrake now, too. The 2020 XC90 comes standard with Volvo On Call, an innovative app-based service that helps motorists to communicate with their cars.
Volvo On Call facilitates a multitude of tasks: with Volvo On Call, motorists can lock or unlock the doors to their car, check the fuel level and cool or heat their car – and they can do this all via their smartphone, smartwatch, tablet or desktop. We’ll have more info on it’s specifics as soon as we get a first drive with the vehicle.
Pricing for the 2020 XC90 starts at R1 023 700 for the T5 Geartronic AWD Momentum and goes up to R1 668 500 for the T8 Twin Engine AWD Excellence.