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What is the Volvo V90?

The Volvo V90 is a large executive estate, sister to the S90 saloon and cousin to the XC90 SUV.

As with all these other Volvos, the V90 targets maximum comfort rather than sportiness, and comes with a huge helping of safety kit.

As is typical with most modern estates, however, some of the ultimate practicality has been sacrificed in the name of style.

Volvo V90 rivals include the Audi A6 Avant, BMW 5 Series Touring and Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate – though if you simply want the biggest boot for your money, also consider the Skoda Superb Estate.

At-a-glance 2019 Volvo V90 specs

  • Top speed: 130-155mph
  • 0-62mph: 5.3-8.8 seconds
  • Fuel economy 29.7-166.2mpg
  • Emissions: 43-183g/km CO2
  • Boot space: 560-1,526 litres

Which versions of the Volvo V90 are available?

The V90 comes as a regular V90 Estate variant and the V90 Cross Country, which is a raised ride-height variant, with additional body cladding and standard-fit four-wheel drive.

V90 trim levels mirror those of the S90, which means Momentum Plus, R-Design Plus and Inscription Plus took over from standard and Pro versions of those three trim levels at the start of 2019.

Silver 2016 Volvo V90 side elevation

The V90 engine range is more comprehensive than the S90’s, however, with an additional 310hp T6 petrol engine alongside the T4 and T5 options.

The diesels are the same D4 and D5 choices, though, and the T8 Twin Engine petrol-electric plug-in hybrid remains the range-topping choice.

Regardless of fuel or badging, every engine is a 2.0-litre turbo combined with a standard fit eight-speed automatic transmission and either front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

What is the Volvo V90 Cross Country?

Adding a little more lifestyle excitement to the V90 range is the V90 Cross Country, which bridges the gap between a regular estate and an SUV.

White 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country front three-quarter dynamic

As such, not only does it come with modest wheel-arch extensions and a redesigned front bumper, it also rides 65mm higher than the standard V90 for extra ground clearance, comes fitted with all-wheel drive as standard, and features some specific off-road electronic assistance systems. From 2019 only Cross Country Plus versions were offered, the standard models being discontinued.

Within the limitations of its ground clearance – which still isn’t as great as a proper SUV – the V90 Cross Country is surprisingly capable off-road. Though it’s also not quite as composed as an ordinary model on-road.

Like the idea but don’t fancy a Volvo? Then check out the equivalent Audi A6 Allroad and Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain.

Styling and engineering

The V90 follows Volvo’s latest Scandinavian design philosophy, which is distinctive and attractive, and a refreshing change to the rival German machismo.

Silver 2016 Volvo V90 rear three-quarter

However, fans of super practical Volvos estates of the past may be dismayed to discover that this added style has compromised the V90’s load lugging ability somewhat, and it doesn’t have the biggest boot in the large executive estate class (that honour goes to the Mercedes E-Class).

Still, on the inside it’s spacious and comfortable, and has a minimalism interior design focused on a large central touchscreen.

Material quality is very high, but having to use that touchscreen to control the air-conditioning may be a step too far for some buyers.

Being based on the Volvo SPA platform, the V90 is related not only to the S90 but also the XC90 and the smaller S60, V60 and XC60.

Is it good to drive?

It’s not a thrilling steer, but the V90 is perfectly satisfactory – Volvo has deliberately chosen to go for comfort rather than dynamic sportiness here.

2016 Volvo V90 Inscription dashboard

Again, this makes for an interesting – and viable – alternative to the German offerings, which often aim to be as sporty as possible.

Particularly positive aspects of the V90 experience are comfy seats and good refinement. 

The Cross Country version can feel a bit roly-poly.

How much does the Volvo V90 cost?

As with the S90, the V90 is particularly attractive to buyers looking to purchase using Volvo finance options – where it will typically be considerably more affordable than rivals.

List prices are competitive, too, and you get plenty of standard equipment on every model.

Want to find out what other buyers think? Read our comprehensive Volvo V90 owner’s reviews.

Volvo V90 Model History

First-generation Volvo V90 (1996-1998)

Silver 1996 first-generation Volvo V90 front three-quarter

There was a previous generation of Volvo V90 – but it doesn’t immediately precede the current one.

Rather, it was a late-in-the-day renaming exercise on the old Volvo 960 Estate – a truly vast and boxy load-lugger in the proper Volvo tradition.

The present car can only hang its head in shame to think about how style and design have compromised its load space by comparison.

Any example of the original V90 estate you find is likely to be well-used, to say the least, so tread carefully, and manage any expectations you might have about investing in a future classic.

Find out more with our data pages, or read owners' reviews from other buyers.