New estate majors on style and safety
- Huge inside
- Elegant styling
- Lots of safety kit
- Efficient diesel engines
- Sublime ride
- Boot isn’t the biggest
- No fast diesel
Volvo’s XC90 SUV may have stolen the limelight in recent years, but at heart the Swedish marque’s an estate car specialist, with more than 60 years of wagon-building prestige.
However, the last couple of offerings haven’t been the most inspiring, so this new model - the Volvo V90 - has a hard task ahead if it wants to make a good impression.
Based on same platform as the XC90
The V90 has been given a solid foundation - it’s based on the same Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) underpinnings as the larger XC90, and will feature 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engines also used by the SUV.
Immediately recognisable are the T-shaped LED headlights and large swathes of the cockpit. There’s a lot borrowed from the XC90, which is a good thing, as it’s a great car.
The way it drives is similar too. Volvo calls this “Relaxed Confidence” and it’s a refreshing change from the sporty pretentions of its German rivals. It’s no driver’s car but there’s plenty of confidence-inspiring grip allied with a quiet, comfortable ride.
Powering the V90 are two diesels, called D4 and D5, and a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid called T8. All use a four-cylinder, two-litre engine and boast impressive economy figures.
There’s no fast diesel version but the T8 races from 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds thanks to a combined 407hp. Despite this, it promises fuel economy in three figures and CO2 emissions of 47g/km.
The D5 features an innovative Powerpulse system that helps spool up the turbocharger at low revs for faster throttle response, and it makes the V90 feel more spontaneously powerful than you’d expect from a big diesel estate.
High tech safety kit
Safety and space are the main selling points of this car and it impresses on both counts. You get a 560-litre boot that expands to 1,526 litres with the seats down, and loads of head- and leg-room for all inside.
As well as a large Sensus touchscreen in the centre console, which replaces a huge number of functions and buttons from around the cabin, you also get a set of digital dials and a raft of safety and assistance equipment.
Standard features include Pilot Assist, which takes care of the throttle, steering and brakes from traffic jams all the way up to cruising speed; plus a sophisticated crash avoidance system that can spot pedestrians, cyclists and large animals in front of the car, day or night.
Read on for the full Volvo V90 review to find out more about this luxurious estate car.