Detroit Auto Show: Volvo XC Plug-in Concept Previews XC90 PHEV

In just under five days’ time, Volvo will unveil the second of three promised plug-in concept vehicles at the 2014 North American International Auto Show in Detroit, MI.  Called the Volvo Concept XC Coupe SUV, this second concept vehicle continues to pave the way for Volvo’s all-new Scalable Product Architecture vehicle platform and serves as a great hint at what Volvo has planned for its next-generation XC90, due later this year as a 2015 model year.

With strong flowing lines, the Volvo Concept XC Coupe shares a lot of its styling with the plug-in hybrid Concept Coupe Volvo treated us to in 2013, but more importantly, it shares the same plug-in hybrid drivetrain technology as the first of Volvo’s three concept cars.

Volvo has previously said it plans to achieve a 100 percent zero emissions fleet by 2020 — but for now it has chosen to marry its all-new range of lightweight turbocharged four-cylinder gasoline and diesel engines with a plug-in drivetrain as an interim measure. This means that at some point in the near future, most if not all Volvo models will come with a plug-in option.

Unlike the current production XC90 SUV, the Concept XC Coupe SUV is a three-door, mirroring the three-door form factor Volvo’s plug-in hybrid Concept Coupe.

But then as a four-seat, three-door SUV, it’s a fair bit smaller than the five-door, seven seat XC90, and shouldn’t be used as any more than a styling guide for the larger vehicle. In fact, Volvo design bosses have said that while the production 2015 XC90 will share some of the visual clues of the Concept XC Coupe, will have a ‘larger and fuller look” than the Concept XC Coupe.

Volvo hasn’t yet talked specifics when it comes to engine, motor or battery pack specifications, but since the Concept XC Coupe SUV is just a concept — nothing more — we’ll forgive that omission. Given that we already know the production 2015 XC90 will be based on the drivetrain technology found in its limited-production V60 plug-in hybrid station wagon, we’re hoping for a range of around 30 miles in all-electric mode, all-wheel drive capabilities on demand, and combined fuel economy figures in blended mode of around 80 mpg.

It’s unclear if this means Volvo will offer the upcoming 2015 XC90 — the first of Volvo’s production cars to use the SPA platform — in a three-door option, but given its place as Volvo’s premium SUV, we suspect the style of a three door will give way to the practicality of a five-door version when the next-generation XC90 finally debuts.

No doubt we’ll hear more next week when the Concept XC Coupe gets its official unveiling, but until then, we’re curious to know what you think?

Does Volvo’s latest concept car mark a change for the company, away from the sensible, dull image Volvos have held for the past few decades? And would you want a plug-in Volvo?

Leave your thoughts in the Comments below.


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