Volvo has long been willing to go against the automotive grain, and the V90 wagon is a yet another example of this independent spirit.
Long after many manufacturers abandoned wagons for minivans and, more recently, SUVs and crossovers (especially in North America), Volvo refuses to give up on a body style that screams practicality, versatility and, because it’s Volvo we’re talking about, safety.
I wrote about the V90’s mechanical twin, the S90 sedan, back in February and came away from the experience impressed with car’s level of refinement, sharp styling and its Scandinavian take on luxury.
Because the S90 and V90 are essentially the same under the skin thanks to a shared Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform and both test vehicles are T6 AWD Inscription models, the focus here is going to be primarily on my impressions of the car.
For those wanting more detail on my test vehicle’s engineering and equipment, please see the spec and option lists below and refer to the S90 review.
As mentioned, my V90 tester is a T6 AWD Inscription model finished in crystal pearl white with a charcoal nappa leather-trimmed interior. As is the case with the S90, the Inscription trim brings a lengthy list of standard equipment to the table, including LED headlights, heated and cooled front seats, panoramic sunroof, a and a 9.3-inch Sensus touchscreen with navigation and voice recognition among others.
I’m not a big fan of white cars, but crystal white flatters the V90’s lean and angular proportions, giving the car a rather regal look especially when combined with optional 20-inch, 8-spoke diamond cut alloy wheels. I also think white works better on the V90’s more distinctive shape – its brightness definitely makes it stand out in a sea of silver and black SUVs that fill up our roads these days.
I don’t have much to add with respect to the V90’s interior – what I said about the S90 holds, as the V90 gets the same cool, minimalist approach to luxury. Bottom line, I like this take on luxury because it marries ease of use with quality materials and pleasing aesthetics. If only some of Volvo’s rivals would take a similar approach!
A colleague remarked to me recently that he thought, for a luxury sedan, the S90 had a rather rough and unrefined ride. While I don’t think its driving dynamics are best in class, I thought the S90’s ride met expectations – quiet and comfortable – and I feel the same way about the V90.
During my week behind the wheel, I fiddled around with the drive modes and found the dynamic setting to be quite to my liking, with its livelier throttle response and more aggressive transmission shift pattern.
The 2.0-litre turbocharged and supercharged four propels the 1,782 kg V90 with impressive haste and emits a nice turbo-induced growl while doing so. And while it’s likely not anyone’s nominee for ‘king of the autocross’, it has confident handling in everyday driving situations, both at speed and in slower traffic. Plus, it has AWD – perfect for a land that has months of bad weather.
Because the V90 is a wagon, I must make note of its roominess and versatility. While rear-seat passenger space is adequate, if not cavernous, the rear cargo area (even with the rear seatbacks upright) is quite spacious.
If you’re in the market for a car you can take on a family vacation, or just need a lot of space to lug stuff around in every day, the V90 is up to the challenge. Rear cargo capacity is rated at 723 litres, and if you fold the rear seats down, well, this is a vehicle you could move with – okay, you’ll need a moving van for bigger furniture, but everything else can fit in the V90. And, if you’re the sort that likes to do weekend shopping at IKEA – you get my point.
While wagons, or estates as they’re known in Europe, have a limited market in North America, the Volvo V90 provides ample evidence that style, refinement and performance need not be divorced from practicality.
SPECIFICATIONS – 2017 Volvo V90 T6 AWD Inscription
BASE PRICE / AS TESTED: $66,050 / $80,720 (incl. $1,395 destination)
FINAL ASSEMBLY: Torslanda, Sweden
ENGINE: 2.0L turbocharged and supercharged 4-cylinder
HORSEPOWER: 316 hp @ 5,700 rpm
TORQUE: 295 lb-ft. @ 2,200 – 5,400 rpm
CURB WEIGHT: 1,824 kg
CONFIGURATION: front engine, all-wheel drive
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed Geartonic automatic
FUEL ECONOMY RATINGS (L/100 KM - CITY / HWY. / COMB.): 10.8 / 7.6 / 9.4
WARRANTY (MOS. / KM): 48 / 80,000
ALTERNATIVES: Mercedes-Benz E-Class
Convenience Package ($1,500)
Park Assist Pilot + Park Assist Front & Rear
Compass in Inner Rearview Mirror
12V Power Outlet, Cargo Area
Vision Package ($2,000)
Automatically Dimmed Inner + Exterior Mirrors
Retractable Rearview Mirrors
Blind Spot Information System + Cross Traffic Alert
Visual Park Assist + Front ‘Fisheye’ View
Climate Package II ($2,300)
Heated Rear Seat, Outer Position
Heated Steering Wheel
Heated Washer Nozzles
Graphical Head Up Display
Accessories and / or Stand Alone Options
Metallic paint ($900)
Bower & Wilkins Premium Sound ($3,250)
Rear Air Suspension + Active Chassis ($2,350)
20” 8 Spoke, Bright Silver Diamond Cut Wheels ($975)
Total – $13,275
Photography by Lee Bailie