Chinese automaker Geely's majority stake in Volvo cars had many wondering how the Sino-Swedish partnership would fare. But it doesn't seem like Volvo's new owners are withholding any corporate largesse when it comes to investment in the product. The company just announced and showed comprehensive updates to almost all of the brand's product line in Europe and the U.S., including the popular XC70 tall-wagon and XC60 crossover.
Both the XC60 and XC70 get new wider grilles with bigger "ironmarks," the characteristic directional Volvo logo. Styling updates to the XC70 serve to make it look simultaneously more rugged and elegant, with protective black cladding below the beltline extending around the foglights, and skidplates.
The XC60 gets new integrated rear tailpipes and optional 20-inch wheels. Also newly available on the XC60 are optional sport seats offering a combination of traditional Volvo comfort with greater support for enthusiastic drivers. The XC60 T6 can also now be specified with paddle shifters on the three-spoke steering wheel, which also gets optional heating.
Technologically speaking, all the Volvos getting the 2014 refresh will have the new Sensus Connected Touch, Volvo's house brand for its multimedia touch interface. Volvo claims the system, which works through the central 7-inch touch screen, has an infrared, beam-scanned interface that facilitates use of the display with gloves. The new system includes embedded apps from TuneIn Radio, Google Maps and search, free parking locator, weather, and an app store that will feature new functions and apps as they become available.
Also included in the tech updates is a new adaptive TFT digital display with Elegance, Eco, and Performance themes. Predictable, the Eco theme features green illumination, and a green "E" light when driver behavior is optimally efficient. The Performance theme changes the color to red, and re-configures the gauges to put a digital speedometer in the middle of the display with the tachometer surrounding it, and an all-important "power meter."
City Safety is now standard on both models, and operational up to 31 mph, and includes pedestrian detection with full auto braking. Engines and powertrains carry over from the 2013 models, meaning a 240-hp, 3.2-liter, naturally aspirated six-cylinder on the XC70, and the same engine or a 300-hp, 3.0-liter twin-turbocharged I-6 on the T6 model of the XC60.
Conspicuously absent from the announced refreshes is the full-size XC90 crossover. Volvo's largest crossover received a host of detail updates for the 2013 model year, but nothing as comprehensive as what's being announced on most of the 2014 models. An all-new XC90 is expected for the 2015 model year, and will likely be the first Volvo model on an all-new platform that will underpin other future Volvo models. Surprising for a vehicle of the XC90's size, the next-generation XC90 will have four-cylinder engines. Gas, diesel, and hybrid versions are expected.