The 2013 Volvo XC90 is wearing slightly different clothes, thanks to some minor updates from the Swedish carmaker, but bigger changes should be on the way two years from now.
The biggest visual change Volvo did was to replace some silver exterior pieces with body-colored moldings, including the side skirts and front and rear bumpers. The SUV sits atop new 18-inch Thalia or 19-inch Ixion wheels. Buyers can also paint their XC90s in two new hues, named twilight bronze metallic or flaminco red. For 2013 the car also adds LED daytime running lights, and LED taillights with new chrome trim.
On the inside, the XC90 has more polished metal trim pieces, but Premier Plus and Platinum trim levels gain standard leather seats, red wood trim pieces and shifter inlays, and special floor mats. All trim levels continue to offer standard Bluetooth phone pairing and audio streaming, but Platinum models gain a 12-speaker, 650-watt stereo system. All trim levels now have automatic wipers and headlight washers standard.
Underneath the surface, it’s the same XC90 we’ve come to know for quite some time. Power comes from a 240-hp, 3.2-liter I-6, which is mated with a six-speed automatic transmission and either a front- or all-wheel drive driveline. The 2013 XC90 is also available with the R-Design package, which adds quicker steering, a firmer suspension, and exclusive interior features like an R-Design steering wheel.
All of these tweaks may seem minor, and there’s a good reason for that: this is likely the last iteration of XC90 before the model receives a total overhaul in late 2014. The new model will likely be a 2015 model year car and use Volvo’s new Scalable Platform Architecture, which would cut the XC90′s curb weight by at least 320 pounds. We’d also expect at least a few new engine offerings to work their way into the next XC90: Volvo will introduce a slate of four-cylinder engines next year that will meet or exceed the I-6′s current output figures. If some of those engines wind up in the XC90, expect a commensurate rise in fuel economy.