Sleek and safe - Volvo shows off new XC90

By Liz Dobson

First new model in 12 years looks after the passengers

Volvo have finally unveiled the new XC90. Photo / Supplied
Volvo have finally unveiled the new XC90. Photo / Supplied

It's nearly four weeks until the Paris motor show, but some car companies have already hit the accelerator and revealed their products.

One of the most keenly awaited new cars at Europe's largest motor show is Volvo's XC90 as it's been 12 years since the previous model appeared.

Since Chinese owner Zhejiang Geely took over the Swedish car company in 2010, it's pumped US$11 billion into it, and the seven-seater XC90 is its most important vehicle.

So it's no wonder the company couldn't wait for October 2 and the Paris show, and has instead shown images of the car to motoring journalists in Sweden.

While the XC90 retains its angled rear look, it has gained more visual muscle and a larger bonnet.

But as Volvo is synonymous with safety, the new XC90 includes two world-first safety devices - a run-off road protection package and autobrake at intersection capability.

If the XC90 runs off the road, it detects what is happening and the front safety belts are tightened to keep the occupants in position. To help prevent spine injuries, an energy-absorbing function between the seat and seat frame cushions the vertical forces caused when the car makes a hard landing.

The automatic braking takes effect if the driver turns in front of an oncoming car.

The XC90 will also have semi-autonomous drive, enabling the vehicle to automatically follow the vehicle ahead in stop-go traffic.

Inside, the vehicle's most noticeable new feature is a tablet-like touch screen control console, which is the heart of an all-new in-car control system.

New Zealand will see the first XC90 at next year's Volvo Ocean Race in Auckland on around February 27.

Volvo NZ's general manager, Steve Kenchington, is expecting the XC90 to help increase sales of his brand .

"In 2014 Volvo is up about 75 per cent year to date in New Zealand and will likely have its biggest sales year in the history of the brand in this country," he said.

"That would indicate Volvo is gaining significant traction and respect locally and we only see this continuing with the ensuing arrival of the all new XC90 in 2015."

Suzuki Motors has also decided to give an early look at the new Vitara it will officially launch at Paris.

Vitara is based on the concept model iV-4, which was exhibited at last year's Frankfurt motor show.

- NZ Herald

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