What is the first thing that comes to mind when you think of Volvo? For many of us growing up in the 80’s and 90’s our memories of the Volvo brand will be of boxy estates. Back then, good looks in a car were something that few did well. What we have witnessed with the Volvo brand over the past number of years however is a new direction when it comes to styling. We had our first opportunity to witness the newest design features in the Volvo XC90 which launched a couple of years back. There is no question that whilst it is big it still retains a sleek yet muscular appearance. These features continue into the new S90 and V90 which were launched last year with greater emphasis being put on comfort and safety.
I recently had the opportunity to put the Volvo V90 D4 through what could be regarded as my most extensive test yet. I brought it on holidays, to the UK. Week in and week out we test cars and a normal week may involve anywhere between 400 to 800 kilometres. The benefit of bringing the V90 on my holidays was that I had the opportunity to put almost 2,000 kilometres on the clock whilst having a brilliant motorway network to drive on.
As far as estate cars go, the V90 looks great from the outside. Crisp creases running from front to rear define the muscular shoulder lines. Up front the distinctive grille and now signature “Thor Hammer” daytime running lights take pride of place. Even with its size it remains elegant and stylish. The 19-inch 10 spoke diamond alloy wheels which were paired with my test car finished off the exterior with a touch of class.
It is all well and good having a car that looks great from the outside, but this also needs to extend to the interior. With the Volvo V90 the inside is a designer’s masterpiece. Every surface is finished to the highest standard available and comfort is at the forefront. One of the first things that will catch your eye is the large tablet-like touchscreen. Everything except for the hazard lights can be controlled from here. Granted it does take a bit of getting used to but once you get the hang of it it is a pleasure to use. My only concern and this isn’t restricted just to Volvo would be, what happens if this system fails? You have zero control over anything if these new age touchscreens decide to have an off day as can be the case with any electrical component. This new touchscreen is a welcome addition however when compared to the old cluttered centre dash of Volvo’s of yester-year.There is an abundance of space inside the V90 regardless of where you are sat. There is plenty of range in the adjustments of the driver’s seat to find your optimum driving position as well as great lumbar support which ensures you don’t get stiff on even the longest drive. The cabin is also littered with clever storage compartments. In the rear, the seating on either side is ISOFIX compatible and child seats both front and rear facing can be fitted with ease. There is also ample leg and headroom in the rear so much so that even with a rearward facing child seat it doesn’t end up rubbing off the backs of the front seats or requiring the driver to slide the seat forward as is the case with some family saloons.One of the many optional extras fitted to my test car was the Sensus Connect with premium sound by Bowers and Wilkins. Whilst this system will set you back €3,800 it does offer a unique and brilliant sound experience.During our trip to the UK we brought a lot of baggage and the V90 handled it all in its stride. There is no load lip on the boot so even the most cumbersome of cargo can be loaded with ease. The sloping rear windscreen does influence the overall capacity of the boot if you are loading it to the roofline but this is rarely the case. Boot capacity with the rear seats in place stands at a respectable 500 litres.On the road, the Volvo V90 is an absolute pleasure to drive where comfort and safety are at the forefront. Even on the longest of journeys over the course of my test week I never tired of driving the V90. The addition of Intellisafe Assist took any hassle out of the motorway driving. Explained simply, this system incorporates adaptive cruise control as well as steering assist which controls your road position based on the lines either side along with distance alert. A step closer to autonomous driving. Road noise from the D4 2.0 litre turbo diesel engine is kept to a minimum except for when pushed hard which is to be expected. Road noise is almost none existent.Over the course of my test week having driven almost 2,000 kilometres I was surprised and pleased that it only required 2 full tanks of fuel to complete this distance. My test car also came with drive mode selection which allowed me to toggle between various driving modes from Eco and comfort to dynamic and individual. Whilst I encountered my fair share of motorways over the course of my test week, I did encounter plenty of country roads too. Even on the worst of the road surfaces, the V90 was never harsh. Serious attention to detail has been given to the suspension system which is faultless. In its clever design, the comfort level of the suspension system does not compromise the stability of the V90 on cornering. The steering does offer little or no feedback but the flip side of that is that the V90 in this guise at least wouldn’t be bought for its racing ability, more so for its excellent design and superb comfort.As is always the case with Volvo, safety and security features feature heavily in all the 90-range including alarm, 12-volt outlet in the luggage area, first aid kit, front collision mitigation support, Emergency Braking lighting, lane keeping aid, hill start assist, drivers knee airbag, SIPS airbags, front seat whiplash protection, intelligent driver information system as well as run off road mitigation and run off road protection.Volvo have really thrown the cat amongst the pigeons by putting it up the competitors such as the Audi A6 Avant, BMW 5 Series Tourer and the Mercedes E-Class estate. The big question that remains though is if loyal customers of the competition will be tempted by the V90. Personally, I think it should definitely be considered and if it is based on exterior looks and interior comfort the V90 will hold its own.
Engine Size – 2.0 litre D4
Fuel Type – Diesel
Power – 190 bhp
Torque – 400Nm
Acceleration (0 – 100km/h) – 8.5 seconds
Top Speed – 225 km/hour
Consumption (Combined) –4.5 litres/ 100 kilometres
CO2 emissions – 119g / km
Road Tax – € 200
Base Price – € 46,650
Model Tested – €78, 273 including optional extras