Volvo has more or less accidentally discovered that it’s an SUV company.
Perhaps that shouldn’t be a surprise, given that it’s a car maker founded on the virtues of strength and stability, but where once it was famed for its blocky, spacious estate cars, today those have given way to more dynamic-looking saloons and estates and the values of spaciousness and pragmatism are instead found more in its SUVs, the Volvo XC40, XC60 and XC90.
Which is handy, given that 4x4s, crossovers or anything with a hint of rufty-tufty will likely find itself as one of the faster-growing and more profitable market segments there is. Whether by good fortune, design, or most likely a combination of the two, with Volvo and SUVs it’s very much a case of ‘right place, right time’, and the brand certainly isn’t letting this moment pass it by.
Having long offered a Volvo XC90 and XC60 but benefiting from a vast and rapid range renewal under Chinese owner Geely, Volvo has an SUV range that now accounts for more than half of all the cars it sells: the benchmark at which it accepts it is primarily a maker of 4x4s.
Those two larger off-roaders are based on the same modular platform, which also underpins the S90 and V90, and continue the same theme – although with vastly more confidence – as the XC60 and XC90 always have. The assertive elegance of their exterior designs and their superficially unremarkable but deeply cosseting and spacious cabins are hallmark traits of modern Volvo, and these bigger-hitting SUV derivatives know how to maximise their appeal along these lines.