Volvo celebrates 20 years of All-Wheel Drive in the snow

Volvo celebrates 20 years of All-Wheel Drive in the snow

Volvo V90 Cross Country, Volvo Cars
Volvo V90 Cross Country

Volvo Cars is celebrating 20 years of mechanical All-Wheel Drive (AWD). Some of its most capable cars went through their paces on frozen lakes around the Northern Swedish ski resort of Åre.

The Swedish car maker’s winter test drive showcases its mechanical and new electric All-Wheel Drive solutions. All-road, all-weather XC90, V90 Cross Country and V40 Cross Country participated in the test.

“Volvo cars are well known for the ability to get you wherever you want to go. Regardless of the weather conditions. This is an important part of our heritage. It is a clear reflection of who we are and where we come from. With the recent addition of electric All-Wheel Drive to our top-of-the-line products we have further refined our performance in this important area,” said Henrik Green, Senior Vice President, Research & Development at Volvo Cars.

Advances in AWD technology mean that improved handling, stability and traction continue to provide a confident, agile and enjoyable driving experience while reducing fuel consumption.

“Electrification will bring ever more flexibility to AWD. You can see the first signs of this in our XC90 T8 Twin Engine. There we have an electric rear-axle drive unit powering the rear wheels. As we move to full battery electric vehicles and other powertrain applications, we will see increased opportunities to control each motor and wheel independently, based on either the surface conditions or the desired driving style,” said Henrik Green.

Volvo Cars is celebrating 20 years of mechanical AWD

As AWD technology has advanced, the weight of mechanical systems has come down and efficiency improved.

“We understand the needs of our customers. We understand the need for a flexible AWD solution that quickly and automatically adapts to different real-world, all-weather circumstances. AWD is as much a safety feature as it is a vehicle dynamics system. We are committed to delivering a confident, balanced and enjoyable driving experience,” added Henrik Green.

All-Wheel Drive variants account for over 50 per cent of new 90 Series car orders for the Swedish carmaker. Across the wider Volvo Cars model range, the figure is over 40 per cent.

Volvo’s research into and testing of AWD systems goes back more than 20 years

The first AWD Volvo car to go into serial production was the Volvo 850 Estate. Its launch was in May 1996 with the 2.5l turbocharged I5T engine developing 193 hp and a five-speed manual transmission.

The Volvo V70, based largely on the 850, came with AWD from 1997 onwards. The same year, Volvo produced its first ‘Cross Country’ V70XC variant. That was a completely new type of car with a rugged design and capable characteristics that is now a familiar sight both on the road and off the beaten track.

Volvo Cars introduced its AWD program just as it began development work on the first generation XC90, its award-winning entry into the SUV segment, launched in 2002 at the North American International Auto Show in Detroit. The first generation XC90 came with an optional Haldex Traction Generation 2 AWD system on the turbocharged 2.5T petrol engine. The T6, a 3.2L power plant came with AWD as standard.