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Volvo celebrates 20 years of AWD technology [w/Video]

30 January 2017

The frozen lakes around the Northern Swedish ski resort of Åre will be criss-crossed by Volvo models such as the XC90, V90 Cross Country and the V40 Cross Country, as the automaker celebrates 20 years of producing mechanical All-Wheel Drive (AWD).

This year’s winter test drives will be used to showcase the Swedish brand’s leading mechanical and new electric All-Wheel Drive solutions.


As AWD technology has advanced and ‘Active On Demand’ technology was introduced, all four wheels are always engaged to allow for the instant distribution of torque to the rear wheels when needed.

“Volvo cars are well known for what we call ‘framkomlighet’ in Swedish – the ability to get you wherever you want to go – regardless of the weather conditions. This is an important part of our heritage and 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.

Electrification will bring ever more flexibility to AWD. You can see the first signs of this in our XC90 T8 Twin Engine, where 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 R&D boss Henrik Green.

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, launched in May 1996 with the 2.5l turbocharged I5T engine developing 144kW 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, helping to develop 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.

Source: Volvo