Sure, crossovers are a hot commodity these days, coveted for their available cargo space and all-weather capability, but Volvo — despite selling a pair of lofty crossovers itself — believes you should ditch the SUV in favor of a car. And that car is the Volvo V90.
What we have here is an attractively styled, stretched five-door Scandinavian hatchback that carries Volvo’s renowned wagon legacy confidently into the future. It’s a car that places emphasis on driving dynamics and safety first, but won’t let you down if you have a family, a few pets, and some gear to haul around over the weekend.
The 2018 Volvo V90 was brought to this world to elbow the crossover in the throat.
Don’t Stop Believing
Volvo isn’t giving up on the midsize wagon. While its German rivals — BMW, Mercedes-Benz, and Audi — retain a toehold in the miniscule North American wagon market, it’s a tenuous grasp from a trio of automakers focused almost solely on European customers. All new from the ground up, the V90 is one of the last survivors of the luxury wagon breed.
It is, without question, a truly magnificent machine to behold. Based on the S90 luxury sedan, the V90 takes Volvo’s “Relaxed Confidence” design language to new lengths, thanks to an elongated greenhouse, wide stance, sloping roof, and Volvo’s iconic vertical taillights, which extend all the way up the car’s D-pillars.
Up front, now familiar Thor’s Hammer LED headlights flank a corporate Volvo maw like the one found on the XC90 SUV and upcoming XC60. The end result is an elegant automobile that stands out as a distinctive Volvo product. Most importantly, it finally looks and feels like a truly premium machine — a trait found lacking in Volvo cars for some time.
Step inside the Volvo V90 and you’re greeted to an equally luxurious cabin presented in the form of Swedish minimalist design. Fanatical attention to detail, high-quality materials, real wood inserts and vertical air vents — which Volvo calls Air Blades — decorate the airy cabin.
The center console is adorned with diamond-cut controls, with a Tesla-inspired 9.0-inch touchscreen dominating the center stack. The infotainment system looks the part with its clean interface, but newbies might find the learning curve a little steep.
Drivers access pretty much all of the car’s functionalities through it, from heated seats to the car’s start/stop function. Give your brain a bit of time to absorb how its combination of sliding screens and interactive menus operate, and you should do well. This is the system slated for all future models.
As per Volvo tradition, the front seats are immensely stylish and expertly bolstered thrones that immerse you in the distinguished scent of fresh Scandinavian cow hide, complete with small affixed Swedish flags for the purposes of nationalistic pride. To say the V90 is comfortable would be an understatement.
If the Vikings had access to today’s technology, their conveyance of choice would be a Volvo V90.
Bring Her to the Spa!
The V90 rides on Volvo’s shared Scalable Product Architecture platform, abbreviated as SPA. All 90-series models — the XC90, S90 sedan, and V90 Cross Country — are essentially mechanical twins. The beauty of this platform is its double-wishbone front suspension layout, which not only endows the V90 improved road-holding abilities, but is a great setup to reduce understeer in nose-heavy cars like this wagon.
During my time in the V90, Volvo extended a convenient invite to Montréal’s ICAR racing facility to sample a V90 R-Design equipped with the Polestar Optimization package. Driving both cars back to back better defined the model’s range — consumers can either opt for a full-on performance-oriented wagon with the R-Design, or go the more serene, luxury route with the Inscription model seen here.
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