Canadian Debut: Volvo XC90


The latest luxury-equipped XC90 has been changed in every conceivable way, which is expected since the first-generation model has been around seemingly forever. The sheetmetal is as fresh as you can get, as is the XC's modular platform that's scalable for use in other Volvo models. In this case, the XC90 that debuts in March is roughly 115 kilograms lighter than the outgoing wagon, despite being about the same size. The hood, though, is decidedly longer and is fronted by a larger grille and unique LED running-light array that Volvo refers to as "Thor's Hammer".

The interior is epitome of Scandinavian design, with natural wood inlays, supple leather seats and trim and a very classy crystal glass shift lever. The second-row seat adjusts fore and aft, which helps create a bit more space for third-row guests. Keeping the XC90 on the move is a 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine that's exclusive to the T6. This "Drive-E", as it's called, is both supercharged and turbocharged and produces 320 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. For performance fans who prefer keeping it green, the T8 plug-in hybrid arriving later in the model year adds an electric assist to the Drive-E that increases the net output to 400 horsepower and 472 pound-feet. Both the T6 and T8 use an eight-speed automatic transmission. Although both models are all-wheel-drive, the T8's electric motor powers the rear wheels without a conventional driveline (and no drive hump on the floor). A selectable "Power" setting is for full-on performance, while the E mode allows the XC90 T8 to travel up to 40 kilometres on just electric power. The options list includes some exotic crash-mitigation features, along with luxury items such as an off-road package, 19-Speaker Bowers and Wilkins-brand audio system and 22-inch wheels (20-inchers are standard).