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Volvo's Design Team Has Reimagined the Luxury Car The team turned to Scandinavian principles to give the driver and passengers exactly what they need.

Volvo Canada

Volvo has always been known as the safe and reliable option. The car that families turn to. The car that has everything you need to get from A to B. But the car that exemplifies sleek Scandinavian design?

That's what Volvo's former Senior Vice President of Design, Thomas Ingenlath, hopes will be the first thing you notice about Volvo's new XC60. "A look and feel that's warm and inviting. And of course, a design that stands the test of time," he says.

His passion for cars and design stems from his youth. He grew up next to a gas station, spending hours peering out the window, analysing the cars that came and went, in awe of their power. This passion is the centre of the Volvo design team, and is the crux of the innovative XC60.

Volvo embodies what Ingenlath calls good Scandinavian design – "beauty that wants to be discovered." And the XC60 radiates this subtle beauty. The materials used, for example, were carefully chosen. They include real wood, something that comes from Ingenlath's childhood. "If you live in Sweden, driftwood is something you grew up with. It's what you collect at the beach. And we actually managed to get it into our production," he explains.

"This attitude of designing a room, we applied to the [XC60's] interior. Your car interior should have the same thing -- it's not just the box where you move from A to B. It's where you sit... you enjoy that ambience," says Ingenlath.

The design may be elegant, but it's also timeless and thoroughly purposeful. Its bold simplicity radiates Scandinavian style. It gives the driver and passengers exactly what they need. No distracting extras.

One of the car's distinguishing features -- and something that distinguishes it from traditional luxury cars -- is its focus on how people live and drive. Ingenlath's design team has considered the way people interact with their cars to develop human-centric technologies that put the person at the centre of the experience. Every aspect, from the overall luxe comfort to the smallest amenity, has been rethought to make the driver feel comfortable. For instance, the car includes a hidden compartment for laptops and tablets located right beneath the seats, meaning drivers can lock up without leaving their tech devices in plain sight.

The combination of strength and style, grace and power, is what the new Volvo XC60 does so well. The long bonnet, the muscular wheels and the short overhangs all create refined strength that looks good, but ultimately -- and most importantly -- serves a purpose. The T-shaped LED lights give this car a unique identity, making it easy to spot and providing the driver with the best vision possible without dazzling others on the road.

This prudent design complements the brand's reputation for cutting edge safety. They brought us the side airbag, the 3-point seatbelt used worldwide, collision avoidance and semi-autonomous driving, and redefined what it means to feel "safe" in a vehicle. Now, they've designed proactive safety features under the name IntelliSafe that react before an accident happens. Technology like City Safety identifies vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and large animals that appear on the road, braking automatically to help avoid a collision, while Oncoming Lane and Run-off Road Mitigation can help prevent you from hitting oncoming vehicles or leaving the road accidentally. The goal is that by 2020, no one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car.

Sleek and simple Swedish design, hand in hand with renowned safety, makes the XC60 responsible for putting Volvo back on the map. It's innovative, modern and simply beautiful, inside and out.

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