When I finished my very short test drive in the new V90, I came out thinking that this is not your stereotypical Volvo. Gone are the days of boring, square family station wagons, and in comes the elegant, exciting, and thoroughly modern way of getting around with your family.
This is the T6 AWD Inscription model, which means that you get a twin-charged (turbocharged and supercharged) 2.0-litre four-cylinder engine with 320hp and 400Nm of torque. It comes with all-wheel drive and eight-speed automatic transmission, accelerates from 0-100km/h in 6.1 seconds, and tops out at 250km/h.
It is a rapid car indeed, pinning you against the seat as you push the gas pedal to the floor and shifting through its eight gears quickly and very smoothly. I was very surprised to find that this car actually has one of those exhaust parps between gear-changes, much like a BMW or fast VW group product. Not what you would expect from a Volvo station wagon, especially considering how reserved the V90’s predecessors were.
Ride quality is also quite good, despite being equipped with 20-inch wheels and low-profile tyres. Sharp bumps might be felt more than I would have liked, but for 98% of my drive it was fine – it definitely would serve as a great everyday commuter and long-distance cruiser. The big seats are comfortable, and finding a good driving position is easy. Inputs to the steering translate to accurate direction changes, with weighting being just about right for around-town and highway driving. Maneuvering in a tight parking lot is also quite easy, thanks to light steering and the addition of a reverse camera and parking aids.
The interior is probably just as impressive as the exterior. Again, it feels very elegant and expensive. The leather seats are great, and the simple layout of the instruments is almost perfect. The touchscreen interface is very easy and intuitive to use, it took me less than a minute to get my phone connected to the car, and the graphics are also very good.
The V90 is a great modern car, but it still does the two main things that old Volvo wagons were known for, and that’s being spacious and safe. There is so much legroom in the back you could almost stretch out when sat behind someone of my height (174cm). The trunk is also quite spacious; you could probably fit in three big suitcases and a few small bags. As for safety, it comes with a five-star rating from Euro NCAP.
The things that I did not like during my short drive, was the lane-keeping assist system when going through bends – it felt more like an overly-protective parent trying to correct your steering inputs by placing their hand on the steering. Luckily, the lane-keeping assist can be switched off. Also, while 320hp is more than adequate for a family car, I can’t help but feel disappointed that it comes from a four-cylinder engine. Volvo used to have characterful five- and six-cylinder engines, but none of them will ever be seen in the V90 and that’s a shame.
The as-tested price for this V90 is CHF 76,900, and for this you will get a very good-looking car and all the features you could need in a family car. The claimed combined fuel economy and CO2 emissions figures are 7.4l/100km and 169g/km. Petrol-powered Volvos have never held on to their values well, so when time comes to re-sell, it might be a bit of a concern. Despite this, the Volvo V90 is worthy of your CHF 76,900, as I struggle to think of any other family car that looks as good this. There might be others that are better to drive and are faster, but as an all-round package the V90 is right up there with the best of them.
Written by Alex Kisiri