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
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.
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.
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