Parkers overall rating: 4.1 out of 5 4.1
  • Well-made cabin employs high-quality materials
  • Central touchscreen replaces much of the switchgear
  • Very similar layout to the XC90 SUV’s interior

Climb aboard the Volvo V90 and you’ll appreciate that the cabin is full of lovely materials, from soft leather to cross-cut wood inserts with the grain lined-up diagonally. It’s strikingly bare as well – most of the controls and buttons have been migrated to the central screen so the cabin looks simple but elegant and really attractive. If you’ve been in an XC90 you might get a sense of déjà vu, so similar are their cabins.

It’s very easy to get comfortable thanks to a squashy yet supportive driver’s seat that offers plenty of adjustment. The digital dashboard is bright and clear and just as uncluttered as the rest of the cockpit.

If you're the type of person who likes physical heating controls - you're outta luck. The climate controls, including the heated seats and steering wheel, are on a touchscreen. Once you've been using the car for a week or two you'll grow accustomed to them. But they're still a pain when compared with physical buttons. It's a lot of effort to knock the heating down a degree, for instance. Luckily Volvo has fitted physical buttons for the heated windscreen/rear window.

Comfort

  • Ride is improved with the optional air suspension
  • Volvo’s seats continue to be the industry benchmark
  • Lots of space for passengers, especially in the rear

Given our findings in the Handling section you’d imagine that comfort would be an area where the Volvo V90 excels, and you would be right – with one caveat. The adaptive air suspension setup is very comfortable indeed, gliding over tarmac imperfections with little hassle and isolating larger bumps to a corner of the car rather than it reverberating around the cabin.

Stick with the standard steel springs and while it’s not uncomfortable, you’re aware of ruts in the road being telegraphed to your posterior. This is most prevalent on R-Design spec cars with 19-inch wheels. At motorway speeds it's not too bad, but attack a typical speed bump in a built-up area at anything more than 15mph and you might be met with the sound of scraping metal.

Noise-wise there’s very little intrusion from the tyres. However, both diesel and petrol engines can be gruff. Certainly a lot gruffer than you'll find from rivals. One example of this is during the switchover from electric power to petrol on the T6-engined models. While the transition feels smooth, the audible chunter from the engine really contrasts with the near-silent electricity. Like with the standard suspension, the engine noises calm down at motorway speeds.

The rear seats are nothing short of being supremely comfortable, as you’d expect from Volvo, and unsurprisingly considering the length of the V90, you get acres of space back here too.

Pilot Assist: standard on all V90s

It's interesting that the V90 range as a whole gets its amazing Pilot Assist system as standard (a fact worth crowing about, as most rivals keep their versions on the options list), and in doing so, gives its drivers a real taste of what properly autonomous hands-free driving could be like in the future.

First thing to know is that it's described by Volvo as 'a comfort function that can provide you with steering assistance and help you to maintain the distance to the vehicle in front of you.' In reality, you use it in exactly the same way you would a cruise control system – when you're happy with your speed, set the car running, and take your feet off the pedals. 

There are two modes – Adaptive Cruise Control and Pilot Assist. The former will maintain distance between you and the car in front, and offers lane-keeping assist, which will gently nudge you back into the correct place if you stray,

Pilot Assist takes that concept a step further by being more active with the steering. It will maintain your car's position in the lane, and should allow you to relax your steering inputs, as it guides you along your lane. You'll know the car has picked up a lane that it can keep you in, because there's a green tell-tale (below) in the dash that informs you as much.

It genuinely makes motorway driving a whole lot more restful. It's at its best on modern tarmac with good paint and light traffic, though. Meet that criteria, and you really can let the car take the strain, while you concentrate on the traffic ahead.

 It's wonderful in traffic jams, trickling along in traffic, taking over that most boring of driving chores, but if you hold the steering wheel too gently the system will nag you to get my hands back on the rim.