Volvo V90 review
The Volvo V90 isn't the biggest executive estate on sale, but what it lacks in volume it makes up for with style and comfort
Volvo's latest V90 estate is no longer the stand out choice if you want the maximum amount of boot space. While that's a shame, it has plenty to recommend it otherwise. It's practical enough and crammed with useful features, while its versatility combines with an eye-catching design, a classy and minimalist cabin and a relaxed driving experience.
With the emphasis on comfort, the V90 is largely a pleasure on the road - as long as you don't expect handling to rival the class best. Despite the lack of any six cylinder engine options, the punchy and refined diesels are a great choice, while attractive pricing, a long list of standard equipment and wallet-friendly running costs mean it's a serious class contender.
About the Volvo XC90
The V90 shares chassis parts and engines with the excellent XC90 SUV, and the S90 saloon. It reflects Volvo’s different approach to premium big cars, with relatively small-capacity four-cylinder, turbocharged petrol and diesel engines instead of a big V6. There's even a rugged Cross Country version with enough off-road ability to make a five-seat SUV largely redundant.
The real strengths of the V90 are its cabin and cruising refinement. The interior is roomy enough for four adults and superbly finished, with a clean, uncluttered fascia that’s easy to use. And on the move, the D5 diesel engine is a refined cruiser, even when you’re pushing along at motorway speeds.
Volvo has a long history of producing big, practical estate cars, but the latest V90 sacrifices ultimate carrying capacity in favour of comfort and upmarket style. That's not to say it's tight in the back like the older V50 and V60 models, but with 560 litres available in five-seat mode, it's not quite as big as rivals such as the BMW 5 Series Touring or vast Mercedes E-Class Estate.
Car group tests
- Audi A6 Allroad vs Volvo V90 Cross Country
- Jaguar XF Sportbrake vs BMW 5 Series Touring vs Volvo V90
- BMW 5 Series Touring vs Mercedes E-Class Estate vs Volvo V90
Used car tests
Still, what the V90 lacks in load volume it more than makes up for with stylish looks. The striking lines are an evolution of the S90 saloon, and there's some of the XC90 SUV in its make-up, too. That also applies to the V90's running gear, as it also uses the same platform, running gear and electronics as these two. As a result, the V90 has a host of advanced technology on board, including a suite of advanced safety tech.
The V90 engine range consists purely of 2.0-litre four-cylinder units, in petrol, diesel and plug-in hybrid forms. The 194bhp B4, 247bhp B5 and 296bhp B6 versions make up the petrol offerings, with the most powerful B6 available with all-wheel-drive compared to the B4 and B5's front-wheel-drive set-up.
A single 194bhp B4 (FWD) diesel variant is also on the price list for the standard V90 model, while the Cross Country lineup includes a potent 232bhp B5 oil-burner with four-wheel-drive. Both diesels will return decent fuel economy, but the 249bhp T6 plug-in petrol hybrid is the one to go for if you're looking to reduce day-to-day running costs.
There are three basic trim levels on offer: Momentum, R-Design and Inscription. Even Momentum cars are well equipped, while R-Design adds a sporty look, and Inscription is positively luxurious, while the V90 Cross Country is a high-riding variant that rivals the Audi A6 Allroad.
As well as BMW and Mercedes estates, the V90 also challenges cars like the Audi A6 Avant and Jaguar XF Sportbrake. Prices start from around £41,000, with the plug-in hybrid models weighing in at over £56,000, although if you keep the battery charged up, you'll save on fuel costs.
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In this review
- 1Verdict - currently readingThe Volvo V90 isn't the biggest executive estate on sale, but what it lacks in volume it makes up for with style and comfort
- 2Engines, performance and driveThe V90 has excellent cruising refinement, but the chassis isn't quite the ultimate in this class in either ride or handling terms
- 3MPG, CO2 and Running CostsV90 buyers have the choice of either petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid power
- 4Interior, design and technologyThe V90 is distinctive, stylish and nicely finished, although there are some pricey options
- 5Practicality, comfort and boot spaceThe V90 is capable enough, but it’s strange for a Volvo wagon to no longer be the biggest load-lugger in the class
- 6Reliability and SafetyV90 safety levels are excellent, while Volvo's performance in Driver Power satisfaction survey is improving