OK, so that headline was a bit of click bait, but since you’re here you should know that it wasn’t entirely made up as a way to entice you to read on.
So what if it’s just a homonym – it all comes down to one word: flush. It was a refrain so common it became something of a theme throughout the entire development process of the 2024 Volvo EX90, with this brawny electric vehicle (EV) flexing very few hard edges and tons of technology.
Check out the side glass, for instance, which looks from afar almost as if it’s all one piece that extends from the front door to the rear quarter window. Then there’s the front end, which doesn’t need an open grille like a conventionally powered vehicle, so the entire fascia appears like a single moulded piece.
The exterior door handles are colour-matched and flush-mounted so they recess into the door panels when locked. Of course, the EX90 isn't the only vehicle on the market to feature these, but they're in keeping with the theme.
The EX90 is a true flagship, which is something of a rarity. Not many other brands this side of Jeep or Land Rover have SUVs as their showpiece products, and even fewer have ones so deeply rooted in practicality. This is a three-row family hauler, not a vehicle that oozes opulence or performance.
Instead, the EX90 is flush – flush with simple yet stand-out styling elements, and all the latest technologies Volvo has to offer. The headlights are a combination of both, boasting an internal clamshell-like mechanism that opens the pixel-style daytime running lights to reveal the LED projectors tucked behind them. They’re almost like a modern-day take on the pop-up headlights of old.
Those headlights still feature the so-called Thor’s Hammer signature Volvo has used for nearly a decade now, but even that has evolved. Look closely at the vertical-strip fog lights that are perfectly aligned below, almost like nails ready to be struck by the hammer’s head. This is a brand that’s long been known for simple and timeless styling touches, and these headlights are yet another example of exactly that.
In terms of technology, well, there’s going to be a ton of it. According to Volvo, the EX90 will come outfitted – assuming optionally – with “one of the most advanced sensor sets” around, including a roof-mounted light-detection and ranging (LiDAR) sensor that can measure the vehicle’s surroundings, even at night. While the sensor panel itself looks a bit like the distinctive light on a London taxi, its location above the windshield is strategic, keeping it away from slush, snow, and whatever else other vehicles on the road might kick up towards the front end of the vehicle where such sensors are typically placed.
According to Örjan Sterner, Volvo’s Senior Exterior Design Manager, washer nozzles on the windshield wiper arms themselves are able to spray the LiDAR panel to keep it clear. Volvo claims the system can detect pedestrians at a distance of 250 metres, and can even distinguish between tires and black asphalt as far as 120 metres away.
That system will work alongside five radar sensors, eight exterior cameras, and 16 ultrasonic sensors. Some of those sensors, plus two more cameras, are mounted inside, allowing the EX90 to detect if a person or pet is left inside the vehicle. In these circumstances, according to Volvo, it will keep the doors unlocked and the climate control system active.
It’s all pretty advanced stuff, as is the computer that all the drive-related sensors feed their data into. Using artificial intelligence (AI), the computer is capable of constant learning – both of the EX90’s various environments, as well as its drivers’ habits – as well as over-the-air updates that will allow it to better predict and understand situations, particularly when adaptive cruise control and other driver-assist systems are enabled.
As for the fundamentals, at launch the 2024 Volvo EX90 will feature a dual-motor setup – and all-wheel drive as a result – and an estimated 496 hp and 671 lb-ft of torque. Paired with an 111-kWh battery pack, which is about 18 per cent smaller than the all-electric Ford F-150 Lightning’s biggest battery, Volvo is aiming for an estimated range of about 480 km based on North American testing standards.
Expect the 2024 EX90 to start arriving at Volvo dealers late this year.