Nearly Unrecognizable 2020 Volvo XC90 Bows With Novel Mild Hybrid System

Steph Willems
by Steph Willems
nearly unrecognizable 2020 volvo xc90 bows with novel mild hybrid system

You wouldn’t know it, but that’s a heavily refreshed 2020 Volvo XC90 staring back at you from the header image. Good thing the grille still carries a Volvo badge.

Okay, the tweaks made to the SUV’s front fascia are milder than chain restaurant salsa, but the changes to the Swedish brand’s largest vehicle for 2020 are more than skin deep. For the upcoming model year, Volvo rolls out the first of its B-badged vehicles. What’s B? It signifies the presence of a kinetic energy recovery system designed to boost fuel economy by up to 15 percent.

A mild hybrid, in other words, but not the belt starter-generator type you’re used to.

Volvo began development of a Flywheel KERS system back in the early part of the decade, hoping to use technology developed for F1 racing in its passenger car lineup. With this system, braking energy is transferred, via a brake-by-wire system, to a carbon fiber flywheel, which quickly spins itself up to 60,000 rpm. When the driver switches pedals, the rear axle-mounted system sends the energy captured by the flywheel to the wheels via a specialized transmission. View a layout here.

In past years, Volvo claimed the system could add as much as 80 horsepower to the vehicle’s output, aiding in acceleration or reducing engine load at speed.

The system will be used in combination with existing powertrains; 2020 CX90 models equipped with KERS will carry a “B” badge. As part of the company’s plan to offer electrification throughout its range, Volvo says the system “offers drivers up to 15 per cent fuel savings and emission reductions in real world driving.”

Other Volvo models, starting with the XC60, stand to gain the system. Note that Volvo claims the B-badged models won’t come to the U.S. straight away.

At the top of the range, the T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid returns for those seeking maximum fuel savings.

Other than KERS, a revamped grille, and other cosmetic tweaks, the company’s midsizer gains a six-person seating configuration for 2020. That means there’s now a four-, five-, six-, and seven-person layout. Safety improvements come in the form of steering assist, which is added to the model’s City Safety and Blind Spot Information System. Volvo boasts that its City Safety with Autobrake “is still the only system on the market to recognise pedestrians, cyclists and large animals.”

Joining that tech for 2020 is Volvo’s Oncoming Lane Mitigation system, which first appeared in the XC60. Meanwhile, the SUV’s Cross Traffic Alert gains automatic braking.

Had Jeff Bridges driven a 2020 XC90 in Fearless, Rosie Perez would never have overcome her intractable grief.

The new XC90 which starts production in Sweden this May.

[Images: Volvo Cars]

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  • Art Vandelay Art Vandelay on Feb 24, 2019

    Lol...but them turbos are rube Goldberg devices. Does this device make up for the extra weight of hauling I around? And talk about needless complexity...a giant heavy flywheel spinning at 60k rpms?! Yeah it's a no from me dawg.

  • Cimarron typeR Cimarron typeR on Feb 25, 2019

    For some odd reason I watched an entire 40minute podcast of Matt Farah and the Savage Geese car reviewers talking about the business of auto reviewing, and Farah mentioned that he offers car manufacturers the ability to not even post the video if he has absolutely no positive things to say about a vehicle .He called it a self destruct or kill switch something or other .The only car he had to "kill the video " was a Volvo (S80 iirc).

  • Johnds Years ago I pulled over a vehicle from either Manitoba or Ontario in North Dakota for speeding. The license plates and drivers license did not come up on my dispatchers computer. The only option was to call their government. Being that it was 2 am, that wasn’t possible so they were given a warning.
  • BEPLA My own theory/question on the Mark VI:Had Lincoln used the longer sedan wheelbase on the coupe - by leaning the windshield back and pushing the dashboard & steering wheel rearward a bit - not built a sedan - and engineered the car for frameless side windows (those framed windows are clunky, look cheap, and add too many vertical lines in comparison to the previous Marks) - Would the VI have remained an attractive, aspirational object of desire?
  • VoGhost Another ICEbox? Pass. Where are you going to fill your oil addiction when all the gas stations disappear for lack of demand? I want a pickup that I can actually use for a few decades.
  • Art Vandelay Best? PCH from Ventura to somewhere near Lompoc. Most Famous? Route Irish
  • GT Ross The black wheel fad cannot die soon enough for me.