V90 speaks vol­umes for new Volvo im­age

The V90 changes the per­cep­tion of big Volvo es­tates – it’s no boxy load-lug­ger but re­ally mea­sures up, says mo­tor­ing ed­i­tor ANDY RUS­SELL

EDP Norfolk - - Motoring -

IT’S A large Volvo es­tate but not as we know it. The box on wheels – loved by an­tique deal­ers and traders – has been re­placed some­thing sleek, stylish and very im­age-con­scious.

The V90, UK Car of the Year best es­tate, is rad­i­cal by Volvo stan­dards. Gone is the slabby styling and ver­ti­cal tail­gate, swapped for an eye­catch­ing de­sign with a rak­ing rear end that sets the tone of be­ing more en­ter­tain­ing.

UN­DER THE BON­NET

Diesels are the driv­ing force with 190 and 235hp 2.0-litre D4 and D5 four-cylin­der units, with eight-speed au­to­matic gear­box. The big-sell­ing D4 has enough get up and go, kick­ing down read­ily and cruis­ing ca­pa­bly and looks great value against the all-wheel drive D5. It also gets Pow­erPulse – us­ing com­pressed air to wind the turbo up to make it quicker off the mark – but costs £6,500 more.

In the real world, once rolling, the D4 is brisk enough and re­turned 45 to 55mpg.

HOW IT DRIVES

The V90 is all about con­fi­dence, com­fort and com­po­sure and is far more en­gag­ing and ag­ile than the old V70.

Stan­dard trans­verse com­pos­ite leaf spring sus­pen­sion, rather than coil springs, keeps this big Volvo flat­ter through cor­ners with im­pres­sive grip. There’s the op­tion of rear air sus­pen­sion and adap­tive damp­ing but save your money.

The ride is firm for a Volvo but still irons out poor sur­faces.

SPACE AND COM­FORT

Ul­ti­mately, es­tate cars are about load space and the V90 sac­ri­fices space for style with that slop­ing pow­ered tail­gate. That said, its long 560-litre load bay meets most needs, ris­ing to 1,526 litres loaded to the roof with the rear seats backs flat.

Enor­mous cabin space, front and back, and cos­set­ing seats let you stretch out in com­fort.

AT THE WHEEL

The XC90-in­spired fas­cia takes Volvo’s clean, clin­i­cal de­sign into the modern era with an ex­cel­lent driv­ing po­si­tion and ‘vir­tual’ LCD dis­play which changes look and colours ac­cord­ing to driv­ing mode – eco, com­fort and dy­namic.

If you use a smart­phone you’ll love swip­ing through the con­trol func­tion menus on the large re­spon­sive Sen­sus tablet-style touch­screen.

EQUIP­MENT

Less is more with the V90. Just as the D4 en­gine is the top choice so en­try-level Mo­men­tum trim meets most needs with leather seats, LED head­lights with auto high beam, two-zone cli­mate con­trol, in­ter­net ac­cess with cloud-based apps, sat nav, key­less ig­ni­tion, heated front seats, City Safety emer­gency brak­ing and Pi­lot As­sist, a semi-au­tonomous driv­ing sys­tem which con­trols speed, dis­tance and lane­keep­ing at up to 80mph.

FI­NAL SAY

Stylish to look at, re­ward­ing to drive, the V90 may no longer swal­low large pieces of fur­ni­ture but has loads of ap­peal

Above: Sleek, slip­pery V90 dis­pels the big, boxy Volvo es­tate im­age

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