ESTATE OF MIND (some text hidden)
By Jonathan Crouch
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 Reviewword count: 56
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.
Backgroundword count: 125
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 Experienceword count: 265
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.
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Category: Luxury Saloons and Estates
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