Everybody knows that station wagons have been dead for a long time, but somehow Volvo never got the message. They have doggedly continued to market wagons in the U.S. even though there is not much of a demand. They’re latest version, the V90, may not be a big sales hit, but it’s definitely a luxuriously elegant vehicle.
The V90 is a prime example of Volvo’s “Relaxed Confidence” styling. It features a wide stance, lots of side glass and a sloping rear window. Up front, Volvos “Thor’s Hammer” LED headlights flank the graceful waterfall grille. Only the oversized vertical taillights at the rear detract somewhat from the otherwise classic design.
The interior of the V70 is equally impressive. It combines simplicity with luxury. The dash is clean, yet elegant. There’s just one dial and only a few switches. Almost everything is controlled from an integrated touchscreen that functions like a smartphone. It’s large (9-inches) and vertically mounted. However, there is a learning curve to be dealt with—I had trouble at first tuning the radio. Elegant wood trim, walnut in my test car, and optional leather on the top of the dash, were premium touches.
Highly-styled heated leather seats up front feature articulated cushion extenders for the comfort of taller passengers. Seats in the rear will hold three adults, and have plenty of head-and legroom. The cabin is light and airy, thanks in part to the panoramic moonroof. Storage space behind the seats is more than adequate at 20.2 cubic feet. The power liftgate opens and closes at the touch of a button.
The base power plant (T5) is a 2.0-liter turbocharged, four-cylinder engine with 250 horsepower. The optional T6 is a turbocharged and supercharged version of the same engine, and it generates a whopping 316 horses. Both are teamed with an eight-speed automatic transmission. The base V90 has standard front-wheel drive, however, most V90s will come with AWD.
My test car, with the top-of-the-line Inscription trim, was equipped with a host of high-tech safety features and luxury accessories. In the safety column were collision mitigation/braking, blind-spot warning, lane-keep assist and adaptive cruise control. Luxury features included a head-up speed display, rear window shades and an optional Bowers and Wilkins audio system that delivered concert quality sound.
The 2018 V90 delivers improved handling and a premium quality ride. It comes with a double-wishbone front suspension that provides more precise cornering ability. It resists running wide negotiating turns. My test car also had the optional air suspension at the rear. By flicking a switch on the console, I could select Comfort and Dynamic and Eco settings. The Comfort mode provided a cushy, yet stable ride. Dynamic stiffened the air shocks for hustling around twisty roads, and Eco relaxed the throttle response for better fuel economy. The EPA, by the way, rates the V90 at 25 mpg in combined city/hwy driving.
If you are in the market for a luxury wagon, the Volvo V90s start at around $50,000. My upscale T6 Inscription model had a base price of $58,945. Optional equipment on my test car, like a head-up display, a Bowers and Wilkins sound system and the air suspension boosted the bottom line to $69,340.
Superior Handling and Ride
Powerful Engine (T6)