With much fanfare about the excellence of Swedish design (its panoramic sunroof was likened to the light in a Swedish living room), Volvo showed off its seven-seat SUV in Loa Angeles today. This is a big deal for the company – those buyers who once favoured the boxy wagons of the past have pretty much all moved on to Subaru Outbacks and the like. If Volvo wants to win over new luxury buyers, they have to offer something different.

At first bork, it’s a good looking lump of Scandinavian sheet metal. The new T-shaped lighting elements in the headlights look a bit like miniature versions of Thor’s hammer, and the grille is bright and prominent. Under that hood is a twin-charged (super and turbo) 2.0L four-cylinder, which can be paired with a hybrid drive for a total of 400 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque. Impressive stuff, and it makes the XC90 the first three-row, seven seat crossover with plug-in capabilities.

Inside, as with all three-row crossovers, there’s not much trunk space with all the seats deployed. However, with the third row flat you’ve got plenty of room, and it comes with Volvo’s clever little cargo divider. More high-tech gear can be found up front, from the dash-mounted touchscreen that controls all infotainment functions, to the multifaceted jewel-like drive selector. On the safety side, there’s an automated braking system, and adaptive cruise control that operates steering, acceleration, and braking for nearly fully autonomous driving.

Next to the XC90, Volvo also showed off their V60 Cross Country, essentially a lifted V60 wagon. Equipped with all-wheel drive and powered by a 250-hp 2.5L five-cylinder engine, the V60 Cross Country will start at $44,100 for the base model and run to $50,400 for the platinum trim. Paired with similar equipment levels, Volvo claims to be “bringing the wagon back.”

That may be, but it’ll be the XC90’s performance – both on the road and in sales – that’ll make or break the brand.

2016 Volvo XC90

2016 Volvo XC90

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