Volvo’s mid-size sedan gets jacked up and luxed-out; but it’s the XC90 three-row crossover that’s still the star of their display

Plonking a matte-blue crossover in the middle of your stand sends a message. In Volvo‘s case, that message is yet another repetition of how important the XC90 is for their success in North America. Flanked by standard versions of the three-row crossover upon which Sweden’s hopes are pinned, the Smurftastic machine taking centre stage was the world premiere of Volvo’s R-Design language on their largest offering.

It looks pretty great, both inside and out, sitting lowered on 22-inch alloys, with unique front and rear fascias. Inside, there are gorgeous sport seats – always a Volvo strength – combined with carbon-fibre inlays and custom treatments for floormats and pedals. Engine choices are yet to be announced, but the R-Design XC90 should be available with both the twin-charged 2.0L Drive-E system, or the 400-hp plug-in hybrid based on it. Will we yet see a Polestar version? Perhaps as a mid-model refresh.

Also shown at Detroit were two versions of Volvo’s S60 sedan, one raised and one lengthened. The S60 Cross Country adds 65 mm of height over the standard car, and comes with standard all-wheel drive, making for a go-anywhere luxury sedan. Did anybody want a go-anywhere luxury sedan? Well, now you’ve got one, whoever you are.

If you’d prefer to stretch out, the S60 Insignia adds length and luxury, and will be the first Chinese-assembled Volvo sold in North America. True, the S60 and V60’s small rear seats are a problem for some, but this feels like a car that’s not just made in China, but made for China.

Instead, it’s the XC90 that’ll make or break Volvo’s goals for 100,000 cars sold in North America. So far, everything looks good. Hopefully the drive matches.

Volvo R-Design XC-90

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