Volvo continues design renaissance with latest SUV concept

The Concept XC Coupé is the second show car based on the Swedish car company’s new scalable product architecture and expressing a newfound design confidence that had been missing from the brand for some time.

Just as the Volvo Concept Coupé — the first car to reflect the company’s new design philosophy — stole the show in Frankfurt in September, there’s a good chance that this SUV concept will garner a fair share of attention when it makes its official global debut in Detroit on Jan. 13.

Inspired by the design of modern sports equipment, the XC Coupé somehow manages to combine masculinity and femininity in equal measure. The result is a car that suggests both adventure and protection and is clearly a vehicle aimed at those with an active lifestyle.

Car companies are rushing into the SUV segment as demand for cars with an elevated driving position and four-wheel drive continues to grow. The result is a slew of cars that look like they can climb any mountain and ford any stream but in reality will need assistance negotiating a slightly muddy field, thanks to low profile tires, lack of a differential lock and a compromised ground clearance.

But the Volvo is different. “Those who love extreme sports freely seek new thrills and challenges. To ensure that they make it back in one piece, they prefer high-performance equipment that offers the ultimate sense of freedom and protection,” says Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President Design of Volvo Car Group.

One of the most interesting aspects of the car’s design is that rather than do away with functional but often utilitarian elements of serious off-road vehicles — such as skid plates, extended wheel arches and side protection — are all present but have been cleverly integrated into the body.

Volvo is yet to reveal what the car’s cabin looks like or what is under the hood in terms of power and performance. We’ll have to wait until the North American International Auto Show gets underway on Monday.