THE ART OF DRIVING: VOLVO’S NEW V90
Perhaps the most indelible image of Volvo is the large estate car, and the new V90 exemplifies it
Based on the same scalable platform as the very successful second-generation XC90, the V90 - and its saloon brother the S90 - is the second model in Volvo’s rejuvenation.
The all-new V90 will be coming to the UK with the same 2.0-litre ‘D5’ diesel as you’ll find in the XC90, to be joined by a hybrid-electric petrol ‘T8’ model later in the year.
LOOKS AND IMAGE
There’s no getting away from the fact the V90 is an incredibly imposing car on the road. It’s rather large, coming in at just under five metres nose to tail and a fraction over two metres across the mirrors, but it’s not just the size that gives it serious presence.
The ‘Thor’s Hammer’ headlights and concave grille, along with the redesigned Volvo logo - all of which debuted on the XC90 - generate an overall image that exudes confidence. Opt for the Inscription trim and the grille is chromed too, which adds to the effect.
SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
Cabin space is just as vast as you might
expect. Rear legroom is particularly impressive with even a leggy supermodel able to fit in the back without any danger of running out of space. A fifth occupant might not have such a great time, with a fairly broad central tunnel to straddle, but otherwise, there is plenty of space front and rear.
It’s a traditionally Volvo- esque boot, too. There’s a powered tailgate as standard and it reveals a nicely uniform opening with a low and flush lip. Boot space is 560 litres in standard configuration, with the rear seats folding flat by a single button each in the boot.
A 13 gallon (60 litre) fuel tank gives the 57.6mpg V90 D5 a range of just over 750 miles between fuel stops.
BEHIND THE WHEEL
Equipped with the D5, the V90 is quite a brisk beast, with 60mph coming up in just under seven seconds. This is helped along with the ‘Powerpulse’ feature which is, in essence, an electric supercharger. Using electric power to compress air, it spools the turbocharger up at low engine speeds in low gears to reduce any lag as you’d normally have to wait for exhaust gases to do the job.
There isn’t a pleasing soundtrack to go with the tech and the performance though, it merely sounds hoarse rather than coarse if you provoke it, and settles down to an unobtrusive hum on cruise, assisted by the eight-speed gearbox.
Set to Dynamic mode, the 1.8-tonne V90 makes for a very capable point-to-point machine, as it will need to be when the 401bhp T8 Twin Engine model arrives later in the year, but while you’ll have to be going some before you run out of available grip, it almost feels wrong to do so. Slot it back into Comfort or Eco and the V90 becomes a supreme cruiser, taking everything in its stride. On a gentle 75mph lope down a Spanish autopista, we recorded interior sound at under 70db, so it’ll be easy to maintain conversation.
VALUE FOR MONEY
It wouldn’t be a Volvo if it wasn’t filled with safety kit, and the V90 meets targets here. As standard, the V90 packs in city safety, pedestrian and large animal detection, adaptive cruise control and a run- off-road prevention system that detects the offside of the road and keeps you from crossing it inadvertently. Volvo also fits pilot assist as standard, which allows the car to maintain its speed and lane positioning at up to 80mph, decelerating down automatically as appropriate to traffic conditions - even to rest.
Navigation, an 8-inch TFT screen, two-zone climate control, DAB radio, heated front seats and LED headlights are all standard kit, as is the power tailgate.
The V90 range starts at £ 34,555 for the D4- engined Momentum model, rising to £44,055 for the D5 Powerpulse Inscription we tested. It’s broadly comparable to what Volvo terms its German rivals, but noses ahead on equipment levels.
WHO WOULD BUY ONE?
It’s an ideal vehicle for the family, with two older kids, plenty of luggage and a couple of large dogs. Volvo has always been inextricably linked with the big estate car and it more than meets expectations here, too.
More noticeably, the UK’S police forces will probably be up for getting a few on their fleets as well.
FACTS AT A GLANCE
Model: Volvo V90 D5 Powerpulse AWD Inscription Engine: 2.0-litre turbodiesel producing 232bhp and 354lb/ft Transmission: Eight-speed automatic driving all four wheels Performance: Top speed 145mph, 0- 62mph in 6.9 seconds Economy: 57.6mpg combined Emissions: 129g/km