This decade, Volvo will metamorphose into an SUV-heavy, all-electric car brand. That process should begin later this year when Volvo unveils a new flagship, three-row SUV to replace the gracefully aging XC90 crossover. Like the XC90 did nearly a decade ago, it should set the tone for Volvo’s next generation of vehicles.
Here’s what we know about Volvo’s new flagship SUV — which should arrive for the 2023 model year and be built in America — so far.
While other manufacturers shift from model names to alphanumeric designations for the EV era, Volvo will ditch its traditional alphanumeric models for more “emotional” model names. Volvo’s CEO said this SUV would receive “a name, like a child.”
We aren’t getting a Volvo Lars or Volvo Erik yet. But based on Volvo trademark filings, we expect them to call the SUV the Embla, after the first woman of Norse mythology.
The Embla will be electric. However, Volvo should continue to offer combustion and hybrid vehicles in the near term alongside it. Reports differ on how Volvo will achieve that.
Autocar says the SUV will use two different platforms — the EV version would have a flat floor, while the combustion version would have a more conventional layout to accommodate the engine. Other reporting has Volvo facelifting the current XC90 and keeping it in production for a bit.
The EV Embla is also expected to share a platform with the upcoming Polestar 3 SUV, though the latter is expected to be sportier and more powerful.
According to Autocar, the new flagship SUV will have straight edges reminiscent of the Volvo 940 and V70 wagons. The interior will stick with Scandinavian minimalism, albeit with a more modern design that swaps out many physical controls for an expansive touchscreen.
Why take the trouble to include a prominent LiDAR sensor in a concept car? To highlight that you're planning to include some serious new tech. Volvo told Automotive News that the new flagship SUV may debut Volvo's "unsupervised" Level 3 hands-free driving system on highways — allowing the driver to text and watch YouTube.
Volvo is partnering with Epic Games — the makers of Fortnite — to use its Unreal Engine to offer gaming-quality 3D Graphics on its next-generation infotainment displays. Volvo believes the new system will be twice as faster and have ten times faster graphics and processing.
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