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VOLVO V90

2.0 B4P Momentum 5dr Auto

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Volvo V90 - By Jonathan Crouch

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Performance

Handling

Comfort

Space

Styling

Build

Value

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Volvo's V90 offers an appealingly different way to go for buyers looking for a large luxury estate that's a little different, thinks Jonathan Crouch reports.

Ten Second Review

Volvo's V90 is a large luxury estate every bit as good as anything the German brands can bring you. It's the most sophisticated station wagon we've seen from the brand for a couple of decades, efficient, spacious and stylish. If you're shopping in this segment, you need to consider it. Especially in this lightly revised form.

Background

There's nothing quite like a big, boxy Volvo estate car: it's the kind of product that defines this Swedish marque. Nor is it the kind of car this Scandinavian brand is going to leave behind as it redefines its product range under rejuvenated Chinese ownership. For proof of that, check out this car, the V90. This is the station wagon version of the S90 saloon, a car based on the same sophisticated architecture as the company's award-winning XC90 luxury SUV. It's a size larger than the existing V70 model - and a good deal more sophisticated under the skin. Plus, as you'd want, it remains as Swedish as meatballs and as practical as ever. The prospects then, are promising. Let's check out this improved model.

Driving Experience

Because this V90 uses the same 'Scalable Product Architecture' as its XC90 SUV stablemate, it also uses many of the same engines too, which are virtually all now based around the brand's mild hybrid technology. There's a choice of B4, B5 and B6 petrol units respectively developing 190, 250 and 310hp. And B4 and B5 diesels, respectively developing either 197 or 235hp, the latter unit featuring the security of AWD. With both diesel engines, there's also the option of 'Cross Country'-spec models that have AWD, a 65mm higher ride height and a wider track. At the top of the range sits the T6 Twin Engine petrol/electric plug-in hybrid model. This delivers a 253hp output plus an 87hp electric boost, the combined total offering 350Nm of torque. 62mph from rest is dispatched in under 5.9s. All the engines, as usual with the brand, are 2.0-litres and four cylinders in size. As before, all V90s will be ordered with smooth 8-speed auto transmission. On the move, you aren't served up anything that encourages much driving involvement - blame the rather vague steering for that - but in compensation, there's unruffled poise and exemplary refinement. You get supple standards of ride comfort from the soft suspension too and there's the option of rear air suspension if you want it. A standard 'Drive Mode Settings' driving dynamics system allows you to tailor throttle response, steering feel and auto gearshift timings to suit the way you want to drive. And if you do push on a bit, grip and traction are actually quite impressive and cornering bodyroll decently well controlled.

Design and Build

This is certainly a more credible full-sized executive estate than anything Volvo has brought us to date. The V90 has a proud yet non-aggressive face, characterised by a concave grille - apparently a homage to the Volvo P1800 - that's home to the brand's distinctive 'Iron Mark' logo. The T-shaped 'Thor's Hammer' lights are recognisable from the XC90 and deliver a powerful sense of direction that makes this car unmistakable on the road. Visual updates with this revised model are minor - new fog lights, a fresh spoiler design and a new lower front bumper. At the back, there's a brand-new rear light design, including full LED-powered signature lighting and a sequential turn indicator. Inside, you'll find basically the same interior as the S90, with beautiful finishing and plenty of leather, classy wood and glass. As with the XC90 luxury SUV, the dash features a massive tablet-like touch screen that plays a key role in creating an interior that is modern, spacious and uncluttered. Volvo's clearly put a lot of budget into driving up materials quality and this V90 gets soft leather and wood with handcrafted details, including diamond-cut controls for the start/stop button and volume control. Changes made to this updated model are minor. You can now specify seats with an exclusive tailored wool blend, there's an improved version of the premium Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system and there are now double USB-C charging points in the rear. At the rear, there's up 1526-litres of bootspace (including underfloor storage). That's a useful figure, though is a little bit less than you'd get with rival BMW 5 Series Touring and Mercedes E-Class estate competitors. That's probably down to the stylish sloping rear glass.

Market and Model

Prices start at just over £41,000 for the entry-level B4 diesel and B4 petrol models. That represents a premium of £2,000 over the S90 saloon variant. Figures elsewhere in the range swell up towards and just over the £54,000 mark, as you'd expect from a car in this class aiming to go up alongside full-sized executive segment rivals like BMW's 5 Series Touring, Audi's A6 Avant and Mercedes latest E-Class Estate. There's also the option of 'Cross Country'-spec models that have AWD, a 65mm higher ride height and a wider track. You'll need around £56,000-£57,000 for the plug-in hybrid T8 variants. There's a choice of 'Momentum', 'R-Design', 'Inscription' and 'Cross Country' trim levels. Across the range, top models can be ordered with features like 21-inch alloy wheels and powered, heated and ventilated seats trimmed in Nappa leather. Inside, the tablet-like touch screen in the centre console drives the minor controls and a whole host of Internet-based products and services. Audio services in the plushest variants come courtesy of a monster Bowers & Wilkins stereo. The electronically controlled air suspension has a choice of five modes, including one where the driver is free to tailor the settings to his or her personal taste. V90 safety gear includes a run off-road protection package which tightens seatbelts and activates energy-absorbing technology in the seats when the car detects challenging terrain ahead. Another system is the auto-braking feature, which cuts in if a driver pulls out in front of on coming traffic. Plus the V90 also introduces a world-first - large animal detection - a system capable of detecting large animals such as elk, horses or moose, night or day. All these safety systems aim to bring Volvo closer to its vision of nobody being seriously injured or killed in any of its vehicles by 2020.

Cost of Ownership

With the B5 diesel front driven model most V90 buyers will choose, the official figures suggest up to 49.5mpg on the WLTP combined cycle and up to 149g/km of CO2. Inevitably, these readings take a tumble in the more powerful B5 petrol variant; there, you're looking at up to 40.4mpg and up to 159g/km. If you want to do significantly better in a petrol V90, you'll need to look at the top T6 Twin Engine petrol plug-in hybrid model, which delivers up to 47g/km of CO2, up to 134.5mpg on the combined cycle and up to 35.4 miles of pure electric driving range. What else? Residual values? They're key in this segment of course and you'd expect those of a big, relatively expensive Volvo luxury large estate to lag severely behind the kind of figures you could realise in a rival BMW or Mercedes. You'd be wrong though. The V90 has turned around Volvo's performance in the Executive sector when it comes to depreciation. To the point where independent experts reckon that after owning a typical B4 model for the usual three year/60,000 mile ownership period, you'd get between 39 and 41% of your original purchase price back, depending in the trim level chosen. That's pretty close to the kind of return you'd get from a rival Mercedes E-Class Estate.

Summary

So, how to sum up? Well this is certainly a different kind of large Volvo estate, even if some of its attributes are reassuringly familiar. Things like class-leading safety, solid build quality and the feeling that, were you to buy it, this model would probably out-last you. All are classic Volvo virtues. What's different this time round though, is the level of sophistication that's been brought to bear in terms of engineering and connectivity. For this V90, it's all been enough to create a seismic step forward over its V70 predecessor. Does it matter that this car doesn't provide the one thing you might expect from a large Volvo estate: class-leading carriage capacity? We don't think so. For one thing, it's been a long time since any of the brand's big station wagons actually offered that, despite boxy looks that suggested otherwise. What's important is that this car is big enough for those who want a luxurious conveyance for antiques and grandfather clocks. But is now also smart enough to interest those who previously wouldn't have seen themselves as 'Volvo people', folk who simply want a more stylish way to travel to Chamonix or transport the family Labrador.

Volvo V90 - June Neary and family check out Volvo's spacious V90 estate

Score

Performance

Handling

Comfort

Space

Styling

Build

Value

Equipment

Economy

Depreciation

Insurance

June Neary and family check out Volvo's spacious V90 estate

Will It Suit Me?

As a family, we've always thought an estate car would suit us. And in this day and age of fast motorways, town congestion and sheer volume of traffic, we're tempted to invest more money in a family car than we've done in the past for the extra peace of mind that superior build quality brings. The latest generation Volvo V90 estate that I was driving recently appealed to me far more than I expected it to. After all, it looks like a Volvo, solid and dependable - but not quite as dull as the V70 model it replaced.

Practicalities

Volvos are nothing if not practical. Five passengers will travel in complete comfort and the boot space will swallow up a fair bit of kit, too. The driving position is well thought out, with all the buttons and switches close to hand and easy to identify. My first impressions were that the rear end of this V90 looked a little more sleeker than before but it was clear that Volvo hasn't been diverted from this car's raison d'etre - lugging gear. There's a class-competitive 560-litres of virgin space back there and a massive space can be liberated if you fold the rear seats down and stack your cargo to the roofline. The total cargo capacity is though, 110-litres shy of what you'd get in a Mercedes E-Class Estate. Still, forget the numbers and just enjoy the usability: the cargo divider that raises out of the boot floor; and the way that you can raise that floor on little struts so that muddy items can foul a part of the cargo area which can afterwards be shut away out of sight if you can't be bothered to clean it. You get a proper spare wheel beneath the boot floor (Mercedes take note); there's a ski hatch for long narrow items; an optional retractable tow bar can spring out at the press of a button; and there are more buttons to help you retract the rear seat head restraints and seat backs. Activate them and a completely flat cargo area is revealed. Ok, so at 1,526-litres in size, it's the smallest area on offer in this class, but we don't think many potential owners will mind too much. Those who do will be directed towards Volvo's XC90 SUV, which offers up to 1,868-litres. On to safety, which as you'd expect is a Volvo strongpoint, a subtle reminder of the fact found with the 'Since 1959' references on the seatbelt buckles, this being the year that the brand invented the three-point seatbelt we all now use. Today, the company's continues its safety ambitions with the most daring and far-reaching safety objective in the industry: that by 2020, no one should ever be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo. Ramping up to that means the need for a whole new level of safety in the company's future models, a process that starts in this V90 with two segment-unique 'Intellisafe' features that are standard across the range. 'Run off road protection' detects that you've lost control and left the road, pre-tensioning the seatbelts and priming the standard seven airbags (twin front, side and curtain 'bags, plus a driver's knee 'bag). What's unique about this set-up though is that if the car's launched into the air and thumps down - as often happens in such a situation - a little mini shock absorber in the front seat frame protects your body from the damage that might otherwise be inflicted upon your lower spine, while Volvo's usual 'WHIPS' protection guards against whiplash on your neck.

Behind the Wheel

For a larger car than I'm used to, the V90 handled beautifully. The power steering felt to me a bit lighter than I might have expected in a heavy estate like this, but it's responsive and relaxing. There's a choice of B4, B5 and B6 petrol units respectively developing 190, 250 and 310hp. And B4 and B5 diesels, respectively developing either 197 or 235hp, the latter unit featuring the security of AWD. With both diesel engines, there's also the option of 'Cross Country'-spec models that have AWD, a 65mm higher ride height and a wider track. At the top of the range sits the T8 Twin Engine petrol/electric plug-in hybrid model. This delivers a 303hp output plus an 87hp electric boost, the combined total offering a thumping 640Nm of torque. 62mph from rest is dispatched in under 6s. All the engines, as usual with the brand, are 2.0-litres and four cylinders in size. As before, all V90s will be ordered with smooth 8-speed auto transmission. On the move, you aren't served up anything that encourages much driving involvement -blame the rather vague steering for that - but in compensation, there's unruffled poise and exemplary refinement. You get supple standards of ride comfort from the soft suspension too and there's the option of rear air suspension if you want it. A standard 'Drive Mode Settings' driving dynamics system allows you to tailor throttle response, steering feel and auto gearshift timings to suit the way you want to drive. And if you do push on a bit, grip and traction are actually quite impressive and cornering body roll decently well controlled.

Value For Money

Prices start at just over £40,000 for the entry-level B4 diesel and B4 petrol models. That represents a premium of £2,000 over the S90 saloon variant. Figures elsewhere in the range swell up towards and just over the £50,000 mark, as you'd expect from a car in this class aiming to go up alongside full-sized executive segment rivals like BMW's 5 Series Touring, Audi's A6 Avant and Mercedes latest E-Class Estate. There's also the option of 'Cross Country'-spec models that have AWD, a 65mm higher ride height and a wider track. You'll need around £60,000 for the plug-in hybrid T8 variants. With the B5 diesel most V90 buyers will choose, expect around 45mpg on the WLTP combined cycle and well under 150g/km of CO2. Inevitably, these figures take a tumble in the more powerful B5 petrol variant; there, you're looking at around 35mpg and around 155g/km. If you want to do significantly better in a petrol V90, you'll need to look at the top T8 Twin Engine petrol plug-in hybrid model, which delivers around 50g/km of CO2 and up to 26 miles of pure electric driving range.

Could I Live With One?

The V90 is an impressive executive contender that's also an admirable family car. If, like me, you're into 'need not speed', then this estate should suit you beautifully, meeting day to day needs while still offering a reasonable level of driving enjoyment. I could certainly live with this Volvo.

Driver Aids

  • Front and rear park assist
  • Rear park assist camera
  • 360 degree surround view parking camera (£525.00)

Trim - Leather

  • Leather - Charcoal (£0.00)
  • Leather - Maroon brown (£0.00)
  • Leather - Slate (£0.00)

Body Glass

  • Laminated rear and side windows (£750.00)
  • Dark tinted windows for rear side windows and cargo area (£400.00)

Driver Information

  • Head up display in windscreen (£750.00)
  • Smartphone integration with Apple CarPlay and Android auto + 2 USB (£300.00)

Safety

  • Power child locks (£85.00)
  • Mechanical child locks on rear doors

Seats

  • 2 Stage integrated child seat for outer rear seats (£300.00)
  • Passenger seat with power height adjustment and multi directional lumbar support

Entertainment

  • Sensus connect high performance sound with connected service booking , USB,10 speakers/330W output

Heating/Cooling/Ventilation

  • 2 zone electronic climate control with Clean zone air quality system + pollen filter

Paint - Metallic

  • Metallic - Bright silver (£715.00)
  • Metallic - Denim blue (£715.00)
  • Metallic - Onyx black (£715.00)
  • Metallic - Platinum grey(£715.00)
  • Metallic - Maple brown (£715.00)
  • Metallic - Pine grey (£715.00)
  • Metallic - Birch light (£715.00)
  • Metallic - Pebble grey (£715.00)

Exterior Body Features

  • Metallic paint (£715.00)
  • Solid paint
  • Premium metallic paint (£1,000.00)
  • Power glass tilt and slide panoramic sunroof (£1,325.00)

Wheels - Alloy

  • 18" 5 double spoke alloy wheels (£0.00)
  • 18" 10 spoke turbine alloy wheels
  • 19'' 5 double spoke diamond cut graphite alloy wheels (£775.00)

Paint - Solid

  • Solid - Black Stone (£0.00)
  • Solid - Ice white (£0.00)

Wheels - Spare

  • Tempa spare wheel and jack (£150.00)
  • Tyre sealant kit and compressor

Paint - Special

  • Premium metallic - Crystal white (£1,000.00)

Fuel Consumption - ICE

  • EC Directive 1999/100/EC Applies: False
  • WLTP - MPG - Low - Min: 27.4
  • WLTP - MPG - Low - Max: 25.9
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium - Min: 41.5
  • WLTP - MPG - Medium - Max: 37.2
  • WLTP - MPG - High - Min: 48.7
  • WLTP - MPG - High - Max: 43.5
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High - Min: 41.5
  • WLTP - MPG - Extra High - Max: 36.7
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb - Min: 40.9
  • WLTP - MPG - Comb - Max: 36.7
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low - Min: 10.3
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Low - Max: 10.9
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium - Min: 6.8
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Medium - Max: 7.6
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High - Min: 5.8
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - High - Max: 6.5
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High - Min: 6.8
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Extra High - Max: 7.7
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - Min: 6.9
  • WLTP - FC (l/100km) - Comb - Max: 7.7

General

  • Coin Series: Momentum
  • Coin Description: B4P
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Years: 3
  • Standard manufacturers warranty - Mileage: 60000
  • Manufacturers Paintwork Guarantee - Years: 3
  • Man Corrosion Perforation Guarantee - Years: 8
  • Safety Concerns?: False
  • Special Edition: False
  • Special Order: False
  • Based On ID: N
  • Insurance Group 1 - 50 Effective January 07: 34E
  • Service Interval Frequency - Months: 12
  • Badge Power: 197
  • Badge Engine CC: 2
  • Vehicle Homologation Class: M1
  • Generation Mark: 1
  • Alternative Fuel Qualifying: True

Performance

  • 0 to 62 mph (secs): 7.9
  • Top Speed: 112
  • Engine Power - BHP: 197
  • Engine Power - PS: True
  • 0 to 60 mph (secs): False
  • Engine Power - KW: 145
  • Engine Power - RPM: 4800
  • Engine Torque - LBS.FT: 221
  • Engine Torque - NM: 300
  • Engine Torque - RPM: 1500
  • Engine Torque - MKG: 30.6

Weight and Capacities

  • Minimum Kerbweight: 1756
  • Gross Vehicle Weight: 2350
  • Fuel Tank Capacity (Litres): 60
  • Max. Towing Weight - Braked: 2000
  • Max. Towing Weight - Unbraked: 750
  • Max. Loading Weight: 594
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Up): 723
  • No. of Seats: 5
  • Max. Roof Load: 100
  • Luggage Capacity (Seats Down): 1526
  • Turning Circle - Kerb to Kerb: 11.4

Engine and Drive Train

  • CC: 1969
  • Cylinders: 4
  • Cylinder Layout: IN-LINE
  • Number of Valves: 16
  • Camshaft: DOHC
  • Fuel Delivery: TURBO DIRECT INJECTION
  • Catalytic Convertor: True
  • Engine Layout: FRONT TRANSVERSE
  • Transmission: SEMI-AUTO
  • Gears: 8 SPEED

Tyres

  • Tyre Size Front: 245/45 R18
  • Tyre Size Rear: 245/45 R18
  • Tyre Size Spare: TYRE REPAIR KIT
  • Wheel Type: 18" ALLOY
  • Wheel Style: 10 SPOKE TURBINE
  • Alloys?: True
  • Space Saver?: False

Emissions - ICE

  • Standard Euro Emissions: EURO 6
  • HC+NOx: N
  • Particles: N
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb: 158
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb - Max: 176
  • WLTP - CO2 (g/km) - Comb - Min: 158

Vehicle Dimensions

  • Length: 4936
  • Width: 1895
  • Wheelbase: 2941
  • Width (including mirrors): 2019
  • Height: 1475

Fuel Economy

Fuel Tank Size: 60 Litres

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