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

Belfast Telegraph - NI Carfinder - - Front Page - AN­DREW EVANS

VOLVO V90

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

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