We drove the Volvo V90 D5: an icon embraces graceful modernity…

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The Volvo estates have carved a unique niche in our car world, and are more than ever geared to continue this grand tradition. Just look at the latest stylish V90. It embodies a unique Scandinavian panache with its beautifully proportioned curves and contours, and continues the legendary Volvo estate car tradition with uncanny and timeless elegance.

A beauty it is, but of course state of the art technology is also omnipresent, with abundant drivetrain power, safety features and driving aids, all wrapped in a package which offers supreme comfort. Just read on…

Hans Knol ten Bensel

Stylish, inside and out

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The Volvo designers have realized a “tour de force” without parallel. They succeeded in shaping a spacious nearly 5 meter long estate car like a sleek thoroughbred, without being ostentatious. Its stunning design evokes the typical Volvo styling hallmarks of the past, yet they are reinterpreted into the present day, with a clean, harmonious and well proportioned styling language which remains uniquely Scandinavian, breathing timeless purity.

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The same is found in the interior. The clean lines continue, well proportioned, and further enhanced by excellent quality materials with unique textures and patterns. In the centre of the dashboard sits a large, 9 inch portrait oriented touchscreen, with one of the most logical and user friendly layouts we have ever come across. Our test car came in the Inscription trim, which means nappa leather on the seats, chrome detailing in the cabin.

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Soon one finds an excellent seating position and off we go. Starting the engine needs a rotation to the right of a square knob sitting in the middle of the console.

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The powerful diesel is smooth enough, and after shifting in D, one immediately feels the impressive torque flowing through the 8 speed auto box. The 2 liter D5 unit has a so-called PowerPulse air compressor – it pushes compressed air into the intake as soon as you hit the accelerator. 480 Nm of torque at 1750 rpm is the result, and this V90 is a brisk performer indeed.

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What to think of 0 to 100 in merely 7,2 seconds, with superb accelerations between cruising speeds. On the Autobahnen, the V90 really lifts its skirts, reaching a top speed of 240 km/h. The 235 HP at 4000 rpm see to that. Thanks to the judicious ratios and the clever actions of the 8 speed auto box, not only there is made good use of the engine’s power and torque characteristics, it also makes this Volvo quite frugal.

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Of course, a lot still depends on your driving style, as this is a 1,7 tonne car to accelerate and brake. Combined consumption is given at 4,9 liter/100 km, with 129 g of CO2 emissions per km. Average consumption during the test was 6,4 liters, which is very creditable indeed.

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One can choose between different driving modes, from sport to “eco”, you select it by just rolling  a simple bar with your fingertips on the central console. We preferred throughout the test the “comfort” mode, as we found it suited best the long legged, gracious “feel” of this car.

Even in this mode, the car shows precise and dynamic handling, combined with comfort of a very high standard. Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) certainly works. After the XC90, the V90 uses the state of the art modular platform, together with the S90 of course.

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Suspension is double wishbone in front, with an integral link lay-out for the rear wheels. The standard 4WD setup of the D5 version adds of course even more surefootedness. If you are in a hurry, you can indeed move this Volvo up to very high speeds with utter safety over winding roads, as a supercar befits. During the test, we met always dry roads, but we bet that the 4WD system adds more safety when driving on wintery snowy paths…

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Roomy comfort and excellent sound

The infotainment is up to scratch, with DAB radio, Bluetooth, you name it. We were stunned and delighted with the superb Bowers & Wilkins audio system, with a sound spectrum seldom heard. It all added to the gracious and refined experience of driving this Volvo…

We loved the ergonomics of the system, with a large volume knob right at the centre beneath the touchscreen, so intuitive and simple, it is amazing nobody thought of this before.

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The Volvo offers ample room for four or five, with of course luggage space to match. The luggage space offers 560 liters with seats upright, with backrests folded down it enlarges to 1526 liters.

Conclusion

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The V90 will transport you in comfort and style, and will be your timeless companion as its Scandinavian panache, performance and solidity will stand out for decades to come. It offers outstanding performance, excellent handling, economy and reliability. But above all, it has maintained its original character and aura which makes it a true Volvo, and with this personality it will always stand out from the competition.

Hans Knol ten Bensel

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