|New Volvo XC90 (Photos: Volvo Cars)|
The new XC90 doesn't have any of these things.
Probably the most interesting thing on the totally new XC90 crossover will be the crystal gearshift and little Swedish flag tags on the seats. Many of us are disappointed after the months and months of teasing, but I think I'm fine with this new Volvo. In an age of tacky LEDs and vents and pointless swooshes everywhere in car design, this is a clean, simple design. It's a Volvo, and that's a good thing here.
The first full photos of this new XC90 also show why launch colors are so important. The first picture most of us saw Tuesday morning was this beige one with smaller wheels. It's just not this car's best look. Beige isn't is color and those wheels don't fill up the arches enough, and the color diminishes the "Thor's Hammer" LEDs in the headlights.
The interior is beautifully simple, yet the seats continue to do tricks and fold flat. That ingenious built-in booster seat in the second row is still there, even if the split tailgate is apparently absent.
Volvo has made a lot of really nice interiors lately, but none have been quite so detailed and use such visibly fine materials as this XC90's. The efficiency extends to the controls, as everyone crows about the Tesla-like touchscreen in the dash, it looks like there are still enough physical switches to keep simple tasks simple.
2.0-liter supercharged and turbocharged four, as most Americans will probably think it's at least a V6. Almost as much as I like the idea of that superbocharged engine being mated with an electric motor to deliver 400 horsepower. A plug-in hybrid Volvo has to be one of the most responsible and practical cars out there.