Volvo’s V90 is one of the most handsome estate cars on the market.
Low slung and sleek, with lovely details like the “Thor’s Hammer” headlights it’s a real head turner. Purpose hasn’t been sacrificed for panache, however.
The V90 has plenty of space for five passengers and a gargantuan boot. It’s available with a range of diesel, petrol and mild hybrid engines, along with the plug-in hybrid I spent a week with.
The V90 Recharge T6 pairs a 2.0 litre turbocharged 253bhp petrol engine with an 87bhp electric motor.
A 11.6kWh battery provides enough charge for 35 miles on electric power alone. Essentially this means if you keep it topped up all your short journeys will cost buttons.
Alternatively, you can use the combined 340bhp to enjoy superb performance. Do so and you’ll see 0-60mph come up in just 5.6 seconds, which is exceptional pace for a big estate car.
The V60’s strong suit is not performance, though. It’s comfort. Ride quality and refinement are up there with the best luxury saloons. On a long trip up the A90 and the A92 it was quieter at 70mph than many cars are at 30mph. Road, tyre and wind noise are all whisper soft.
As standard, the car operates in Hybrid mode, using petrol power, electric or both as it sees fit. Switching to Pure uses battery only and is intended for city driving, while Power does as you’d expect. You can also tell the car to hold onto its battery charge – useful if you’re doing a long journey with some city driving at the end.
Official economy is 104-134mpg. In real driving that’s complete fiction and returns will depend very much on what you use the car for. Do short journeys on battery power and you’ll barely use any petrol. Drive steadily on longer journeys and you’ll get 40-50mpg. Make good use of the car’s performance and that will easily drop into the 20s.
The V90 range starts at £41,645 and my Recharge T6 AWD model in top spec Inscription trim occupies the upper echelons of the range, with a price tag of £56,800 (excluding around £4,000 of options).
That’s pricey, admittedly, but keep the battery topped up and running costs should be low.
Inside is one of the classiest interiors this side of a Bentley. Comfortable leather seats, a beautiful dashboard layout and understated wood trim make the cabin an extremely pleasant place to spend time in.
The 9.0 inch touchscreen looks fantastic and is for the most part easy to use. My only bugbear is the heating controls. You need to dive into a second menu to change temperature, fan settings and aircon. Not only is this time consuming, it’s difficult to do while driving without taking your eyes off the road. Buttons and dials are much easier to operate.
The Volvo V90 is built for refinement so those who want a sporty drive should look at BMW. Through corners it wallows much more than a 5 Series. Show it a motorway, though, and it’s a much more comfortable cruiser than the BMW.
Ride quality is superb. The suspension treated a long gravel farm track in Perthshire like it was a tarmac road. Even after a long day of driving the comfortable seats and refined nature of the car mean you’ll reach your destination feeling fresh.
My top spec model came with all-wheel drive and should be sure footed through the winter months.
Volvo makes the safest cars in the world and should the worst happen the likelihood is you’ll walk away unscathed.
The Volvo V90 is very hard to criticise. It looks fantastic and has the best interior in its class. It’s as comfortable as a high end saloon, yet can fit the whole family, dogs and all their gear inside. Go for a four-wheel drive model and you’re sorted for winter driving and rural living as well.
The V90 may have a steep price tag but the big Volvo also sets the bar extremely high indeed.
0-62mph: 5.6 seconds
Top speed: 112mph
CO2 emissions: 47-61g/km