Volvo’s largest estate majors on style and safety over outright
- Passenger space
- Elegant styling
- Lots of safety kit
- Efficient diesels
- Boot isn’t the largest
- No sports model
- Non-adaptive ride
Representing a return to its corporate roots is the Volvo V90 estate. While the XC90 SUV may have stolen the limelight in recent years, at heart the Swedish marque’s an estate car specialist, with decades of wagon-building prestige to its name.
However, the last couple of V70 offerings haven’t been the most inspiring, so this new model – resurrecting the V90 badge – has a hard task ahead if it wants to make a good impression.
Not everyone wants an estate, of course, and for those buyers is the closely-related Volvo S90 saloon.
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 traction allied with a quiet, comfortable ride – providing you opt for the adaptive suspension package.
Powering the V90 are two diesels, called D4 and D5 PowerPulse. Although other markets also get a T6 petrol this is unlikely to come to Britain, but we should see the petrol-electric plug-in hybrid T8 in due course.
All engines are four-cylinder, 2.0-litre turbocharged units and boast impressive economy figures.
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.
It’s the D4 that’s the cheapest to run with official claims of 62.8mpg and CO2 emissions of 119g/km.
High-tech safety kit
Safety and space are the main selling points of this car but it impresses more on the former count.
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. It’s decent, but rivals are considerably bigger and Volvophiles with doubtless lament the absence of a vertical tailgate to boost capacity.
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 driver 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.
Volvo V90 estate model history
- March 2016 – new estate car range to replace the Volvo V70 available to order for delivery in the second half of 2016. Two powertrains are available, each with a 2.0-litre diesel engine: D4 is front-wheel drive, while D5 PowerPulse has all-wheel drive as standard. There’s a pair of well-appointed trim levels, too, in the forms of the entry-level Momentum and the luxurious Inscription.
- June 2016 – Sporty R-Design specification now available to order with both the D4 and D5 PowerPulse AWD powertrains. Key visual differences include a gloss black grille, a deeper front spoiler and matt dark grey alloy wheels.
- September 2016 – Aftermarket Polestar Performance Optimisation package optionally available, uprating the D5 PowerPulse to 240hp and 500Nm of torque.
- November 2016 – Safety enhancements with the introduction of Slippery Road Alert and Hazard Light Alert. Information is shared with a data cloud that similarly-equipped cars download and present to the driver.
- December 2016 – Multimedia system now compatible with Android Auto and Skype for Business.