When a group of women automotive writers (myself included) traveled to to Sweden to present the award to Volvo, the President and CEO of Volvo, Hakan Samuelsson, noted, “We are here today to acknowledge a very important segment of our customer base.”
While it was the first time Volvo has hosted a press event just for women, Samuelsson suggested it would not be the last, “Our design concepts are just one aspect of where we are headed.”
Besides having a legacy of safety, Volvo has a history of considering women in the design of their vehicles.
The Volvo YCC (“Your Concept Car”), shown at the 2004 Geneva Motor Show, was developed by a female team and built specifically for women.
In developing YCC, Volvo surveyed female drivers and found that they found caps annoying. As a result, YCC’s windshield washer tank and gas tank were covered by a capless ball valve. The car also featured run-flat tires (like those of wheeled armored vehicles) so that women could avoid changing a tire on the side of the road and drive safely to a garage.
The fashion statement came in with the textile parts (such as seat pads or the door sides) that could be easily removed to change interior colors and textures. And what seemed to garner the most press was the fact that the headrests had indentations for ponytails!
While the 2016 XC90 does not have removable seat pads or headrests with ponytail cutouts, it does include a lot of female intuitive features. And the fact is, that while the judges at WWCOTY are from very different cultures, we all agreed on the XC90 as Car of the Year.
For example, Ylle Rajasaar from Estonia, said, “Volvo XC90 has made a great leap, compared to its predecessor, In addition to top-notch safety, the car’s infotainment system is elegant and intuitive.”
Odiel Mennink of the Netherlands noted the XC90 was one of the biggest cars available to drive in Holland. And that’s apparently a good thing. She said, “It is the ideal family and business car — it’s comfortable, stylish, fashionable, and has great value.”
Size rated as a big plus. Geraldine Herbert, from Ireland, offered, “The seven-seat cabin is MPV-like in its versatility. Space in the front two rows is plentiful and unlike rivals, space in the third row is just as good.”
Another noteworthy point among voters was design, price, and clever technology. Sevil Okumus from Turkey noted, “It’s young and modern, and it doesn’t have an attitude.”
Sue Baker from the UK agreed. She felt the XC90 was a standout. She explained, “It has select design and a dynamic drive. It’s a capable car with clever ideas incorporated.”
California-based Lou Ann Hammond, chief editor at drivingthenation.com, offered, “The XC90 embodies safety, technology, and infotainment that the consumer of today wants to purchase.”
She added, “Next year a plug-in hybrid will be offered in the United States that will make the XC90 an even more compelling acquisition.”
I chose the Volvo XC90 for Women’s World Car of the Year for not only everything mentioned above, but also because I’m impressed by how Volvo is evolving: They are creating technology that is intuitive and designing cars that are sexier, all while keeping a clear focus on the future of the industry.
— Holly Reich, Motor Matters
Copyright, Motor Matters, 2016
Manufacturer Photo: Volvo’s award-winning XC60 offers a full spectrum of luxury, convenience and cutting-edge technology features while continuing its leadership of safety.
The removal of the front passenger seat allows for full forward vision creating a uniquely spacious environment.
The XC90 can be equipped with an integrated booster cushion for a child on the center position in the rear seat.