Review: 2017 Volvo V90

– Málaga, Spain

Volvo is a company that has found its voice. And while the brand’s newfound swagger is manifested beautifully in the XC90 crossover and all-new S90 sedan, Volvo is not running away from its proud tradition of building classy station wagons. Identical under the skin to the lovely S90, the V90 is just as stunning to behold. Make ours brown.

Pros

  • Mechanically, the V90 is virtually identical to the S90 sedan on which it’s based, save for about a Golden Retriever’s worth of additional mass in the rear quarters. That is not enough to change the way it drives, a good thing indeed.
  • At launch, Volvo will offer the V90 a single powertrain in Canada: the powerful T6 with all-wheel-drive, capable of 316 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission with manual shifting on the console. Our initial impressions were that it got along swiftly and quietly, with decisive transmission shifts and zero turbo lag.
  • While Mercedes’ upcoming 2018 E-Class wagon is likely to offer superior handling due to its rear-drive architecture, the Volvo nonetheless offers unflappable poise and very tidy handling at the limit, especially with the drive select system in “Dynamic” mode. Yes, we’re still giggling about a Volvo wagon that features a “Dynamic” mode.
  • The interior is simply spectacular, especially in loaded Inscription trim. Like the XC90 and the S90, the cabin is a veritable sanctuary. High-tech gauges and precision craftsmanship combine with soft-touch materials and just enough knurled brightwork to look dressy, and a choice of wood or aluminum trim.
  • The ergonomic correctness of Volvo’s portrait-oriented Sensus infotainment system makes us wonder why more companies don’t do it this way. Infrared screen sensors allow it to be used with gloves, a feature certainly appreciated by drivers in Volvo’s native Sweden.
  • The brown paint deserves its own bullet. It will be a wagon-exclusive color, at least initially.

Cons

  • There are no paddle shifters, even with the powerful 316-hp T6. While this isn’t a performance car per se, the lack of steering wheel shifters is a curious omission, if not a deal-breaking one.
  • Inscription model’s seat cushions feel a bit too structural beneath one’s backside in Volvo’s quest to provide ergonomic perfection. A bit more suppleness would go a long way to make this car feel like the luxury car it is.
  • Forward-facing cameras and radar hardware are contained in a huge housing between the windshield and the rearview mirror, allowing them to be cleaned easily by the windshield wipers during inclement weather. This doesn’t block much of the view of the driver, but from the passenger side, it looks terrible.
  • The V90 won’t be available until 2017 as a 2018 model.

Competitors

 

 

 

2017 VOLVO V90 AWD  
ENGINE Turbocharged and Supercharged 2.0L I4
OUTPUT 316 Horsepower / 295 Pound-Feet
TRANSMISSION 8-Speed Automatic
0-100 KM/H 6.1 Seconds
TOP SPEED 249 KM/H
WEIGHT 1,970 Kilograms (est.)
SEATING CAPACITY 5
CARGO VOLUME 1,526 Litres
BASE PRICE $58,000 (est.)

 

Photos: Steve Siler / Motor1.com & Volvo

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