Volvo's stylish range-topping estate tested in Ireland
Pros: Cabin quality and feel, refined drive, fetching looks
Cons: Roomier rivals, large wheels result in hard ride
Volvo has a strong reputation for building great estate cars and the Swedish firm’s new range-topping V90 estate looks set to continue that tradition. Volvo’s estates are known for being highly practical with enough luxury to compete with established rivals like the BMW 5 Series Touring and Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate. With updated models from Jaguar, BMW, Audi and Mercedes-Benz to compete with, it will have lots of competition for 2017 however. Is the Scandinavian-built V90 a better all-round package than its premium-priced German rivals? We spent a week with it on Irish roads to find out.
What is it like?
We reckon the Volvo V90 is even better looking than the firm’s S90 saloon, upon which it is heavily based. Stand out features include a pronounced front grille, ‘Thor hammer’ LED headlights and a swooping roofline, so it has lots of road presence. Volvo has also recently released a new Cross Country version of the V90 with raised ride height and off-road styling details. The V90 that we tested is a high specification Inscription model, though all models standard get 17-inch alloy wheels and a piano black grille surrounded in chrome as standard.
The V90 feels similar inside to the S90 saloon that we tested earlier this year, save for the huge extension rear end real estate. There is ample space to seat four adults in comfort and all of the materials look classy and feel well-made, while the touch screen infotainment system is very responsive to use. With the rear seats in place, the V90 offers 500 litres of boot space and the when the rear seats are folded forward this increases to a cavernous 1,526 litres. Unfortunately, that’s less than its main rivals like the new BMW 5 Series Touring and Skoda Superb Estate. That said, it is still incredibly spacious with enough space to haul large loads, and the flat floor makes light work of carrying bulkier items.
In Ireland, the V90 is available with a range of four cylinder 2.0-litre diesel engines with varying power outputs. There are three diesel options, D3, D4 and D5, and these symbols are indicative of the power output. The entry level D3 has 150bhp and is front-wheel-drive, the mid-range D4 is also front-wheel-drive with 190bhp, while the range-topping D5 model has four-wheel-drive and 235bhp, and all are available with either a manual or an optional eight-speed automatic transmission.
Our test car has the 190bhp D4 engine with the automatic transmission, and it packs plenty of power for cruising at motorway speeds and enough grunt to cope with hauling heavy loads. The D4 can cover 0-100km/h in 8.5 seconds, which isn’t as quickly as comparable cars like the E-Class E200d Estate, but it should satisfy most buyers nonetheless. During our time with the V90, we covered a lot of country-based driving and averaged approximately 7 litres per 100kilometres of driving in fuel economy (40mpg).
The V90 is incredibly refined out on the road, but it isn’t as agile as the BMW 5 Series Touring. That’s because the V90 emphasises on comfort and it makes for an exceptional long distance cruiser as a result. Road and wind noise are kept low and the ride quality is incredibly cosseting, but the optional 19-inch alloy wheels are tad firm on bumpy roads. The V90 feels safe with reassurance from the many safety aids it has including collision mitigation support, lane keeping aid, hill start assist and Volvo’s IDIS system (Intelligent Driver Information System).
The V90 starts at €47,745 for the base specification Momentum model in D3 diesel guise, which undercuts the BMW 5 Series Touring and Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate significantly. The V90 is generously-equipped as standard with features like adaptive cruise control, an electric tailgate, LED headlights, 17-inch alloy wheels, park assist and the 8-inch TFT touch screen display included on all models. Our high specification test car has some desirable extras including full leather and electric seats, a 12.3-inch digital driver’s display and front park assist.
Carzone verdict: 4/5
The V90 continues Volvo’s tradition for building attractive, highly comfortable and spacious estate cars. It is one of the most affordable luxurious tourers on the market right now and comes very well equipped right from base specification. The V90 is trumped by both the latest E-Class Estate and 5 Series Touring in terms of load space however, and the 5 Series Touring is much more engaging to drive. That said, it’s an incredibly refined cruiser, backed up with an expansive range of diesel engines, which are well-suited to Irish roads. The D4 with automatic transmission gets our vote.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: Volvo V90 Inscription
Prices from: €47,745
Price as tested: €61,000 (including options)
Annual Road Tax: €200
Engine: 1969cc four-cylinder turbocharged diesel
Power/Torque: 190bhp / 400Nm
Top Speed: 225km/h
0-100km/h: 8.5 seconds
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
Body style: Estate
Boot Space: 500 litres