As a new Mom, my focus in life has shifted greatly, and the safety of my son has become priority number one. This has made me look at my daily commute in a whole new way. I need a car that helps protect my family and allows me to travel from point A to point B without sacrificing a sense of luxury. When I look at purchasing a new car I look for safety, efficiency and comfort. The all new XC90 T8 Plug-In Hybrid from Volvo far exceeds my expectations.
Volvo has been making cars since 1927, and safety has always been at the forefront of their advancements. In fact, Volvo developed the first 3 point safety harness in the automotive world. Volvo engineer Nils Bohlin created the much safer 3 point seat belt compared to the 2 point used at that time. Instead of holding the patent and using it to rake in profits, Volvo opened this patent to other car makers allowing them to use the design. Volvo saw the chance to save lives as the most important goal; a goal that should be shared by all car makers. This kind of concern about the well-being of their consumers is what makes them a top choice for expanding families.
In their never ending search to perfect safety in their vehicles, Volvo has stated that their “vision in the future is that cars should not crash.” While this thought may sound like a leap, such goals are not that far off with ever evolving technology. On their path to create a car that “will not crash”, Volvo has set their sights on a goal that is a step in the right direction:
By 2020, nobody should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car.
This is especially important to me because I had a brother that died in a car accident at seventeen. His life was cut short when he was still just a child, and his accident is something that runs through my head often as I climb into my own car or buckle my son into his car seat. I cannot help but think, “How safe are we?”
Volvo has recreated their XC90 from the ground up, and it is changing the way we drive. It is making the consumer safer in the event of a crash, and it even facilitates a decreased likelihood of crashing.
The all new XC90 T8 offers safety features that parents will appreciate in a family car.
- 360 Degree Camera that picks up images and aids in vehicle back-up and offers Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection. It is constantly using radar to pick up images surrounding the vehicle and translating it into information that will prompt the driver to take action to avoid collision.
- Pilot Assist will apply the brake when the vehicle is too close to other cars. It allows for a safe time gap between the car and the car in front of you. It also prevents lane deviation. As the driver comes around a curve, the wheel will automatically turn to maintain a safe and steady path.
- Park Assist Pilot allows for hands free parallel parking.
- Extensive research on spinal injuries in crashes has led Volvo to design new supportive seats with features created to reduce the risk of spinal fractures in the event of a crash.
- Varying steel strengths make up the body of the car. Stronger steel is used in the common points of collision to protect the driver and passengers while lighter steel is used in other areas to help ensure a lightweight frame. Volvo believes that structure is the backbone of performance.
- A lithium battery is used in the XC90 and its placement in the center of the car allows for a lower center of gravity making the car more maneuverable. This placement also means the battery is less likely to be deformed in the event of a crash making the car safer.
While safety is my number one concern, I still want a car with horsepower. In Volvo’s consumer research they have found that over 10 million people in the U.S. have a commute that is over 60 minutes long. I am one of those people so I need something that allows me to easily zip down the expressway. That being said, the automotive industry is slowly transforming to accommodate the needs of our environment. There is a growing demand for electric cars and the new XC90 has found a way to marry the desired horsepower with the necessary needs for a cleaner Earth. The XC90 T8 offers world class fuel consumption and performance.
The T8 hybrid has a 2.0 liter four cylinder combustion engine paired with an electric motor that is connected to the rear axle. Together it creates a powerful output of 400 HP which can take you from 0-62 mph in 5.6 seconds. The engine is both supercharged and turbocharged. The super provides power at lower speeds while the turbo amps up force at higher speeds allowing for more fuel efficiency. The average fuel economy is 59 MPGe City while maintaining lower CO2 emissions.
The unique twin engine and strategic placement has created a compact, lightweight powertrain that allows for more room inside the car. All that extra room has made the third row seating standard making the XC90 T8 the world’s first 7 seater Plug-In hybrid. Included in those seven seats is an integrated child seat as well. Say goodbye to hauling that booster seat around.
When the third row is collapsed there is 85 cubic ft of glorious space to store anything you might need.
There are different driving modes to suit your terrain and your personal preference. An individual mode allows you to combine features to create a driving experience completely unique to the driver.
- Pure Electrical Drive Mode – 17 miles on average in this mode.
- Hybrid – This is the default mode that has balanced attributes. It shifts to electrical while stopped and engages the combustion engine at higher speeds.
- Power Mode – The combustion engine is engaged in this mode and provides peak performance
- AWD Mode– Provides the best traction and engages the air suspension to raise the clearance to take on rugged terrain.
- Save Force Charge Sustaining Mode – saves energy for later use
With safety and functionality standards met, Volvo has also created a SUV of luxury that implores a sense of natural beauty. Between work and driving the kids all over, most of us spend a significant amount of time in our car. It should have a sense of comfort and ease that help remedy the stress of commuting.
Butter soft Nappa leather creates an oasis while the flame birch wood paneling offers an effortless beauty.
A diamond cut gear shift made of Orrefors crystal promotes elegance in an unexpected way. You can even pick from a variety of colors to program the gearshift to light up like the aurora borealis.
The touch-screen Sensus infotainment has replaced the old dials and knobs re-creating a similar feel to the handheld technology that we use all day.
Bowers and Wilkins has provided superior sound for the XC90. 1,400 watts from 19 speakers strategically placed create a concert hall sound. A sub-woofer placed in the rear wheel arch allows for more air flow meaning more air can be pulsed to create an incredible sound. The stereo settings allow you to create a virtual mixing board for the best possible experience. You can even use the Gothenberg Concert Hall setting to make your ride a symphony of enjoyment.
Volvo has created a masterpiece of elegance and function while maintaining safety as their core value.
I attended the Volvo XC90 press launch. All opinions remain my own.