What's the used Volvo V90 estate like?
To anyone familiar with modern Volvos it should have come as no surprise when the covers were taken off this sharp-looking V90 in 2016. After all, the time of the utilitarian estate had long since given way to the era of the lifestyle estate: modern Volvos are designed to appeal to celebrity vloggers, not antique floggers.
Based on the luxurious and upmarket S90 saloon, the V90 takes all that we expect from the Swedish firm – the premium feel, the high-tech efficiency and the unquestionable reputation for safety – and adds in abundant style. For more weekend fun, there’s also a raised-up and more rugged four-wheel-drive Cross Country version for mild off-road use.
The 385bhp T8 is a petrol-electric hybrid that’s extremely quick to accelerate and shuffles between power sources easily. There's also a 187bhp T4 and a 247bhp T5 for petrol engine lovers, the T5 being the better of the two because the T4 is a little down on low-rev torque, and will need to be thrashed more in the real world to make similar progress to the more powerful T5.
For 2020, Volvo added mild hybrid technology to the V90's engines. The system combines a 48V battery with an integrated starter/generator and energy recovery system, capturing kinetic energy during braking or coasting and using it to boost overall efficiency. Theses engines started with a 'B' to distinguish them from the regular 'D' and 'T' engines.
The base 197bhp petrol unit goes by the name B4P, while the entry-level 197bhp diesel is called the B4D. The most powerful engine with this mild-hybrid tech is the 300bhp B6P – that’s before you get to the 340bhp T6 Recharge, which is a plug-in hybrid (PHEV). All come with 2.0-litre engines, whether petrol or diesel.
Entry-level Momentum starts off the trims. You get LED headlights, heated leather seats, sat-nav, Bluetooth and a DAB radio. On top of that, there’s a powered bootlid, keyless start and rear parking sensors. Stepping up to Inscription brings extra interior lighting, nappa leather seats and a larger, 12.3in digital instrument cluster, as well as bigger alloy wheels and electric front seats. R-Design adds different suspension that makes the ride harsher, so we’d avoid its otherwise tempting package.
It’s comfortable, too, on all manner of roads. Ride comfort is crucial in family estates, and this is another area in which the V90 impresses, especially if the original owner ticked the box for the optional adaptive dampers that includes air suspension at the rear. It helps the V90 glide along motorways with a relaxing buoyancy and rides over most surfaces at town speeds in a composed fashion. Its motorway refinement is excellent, although it’s fair to say it can’t quite match its sporty rivals when it comes to handling finesse.
As mentioned, it’s certainly distinctive and eye-catching from the outside, and things are even better when you step inside: it’s spacious, stylish and impressively plush to compete against those premium models from the German brands, including the very capable BMW 5 Series Touring, Audi A6 Avant and Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate.
The V90's Sensus infotainment system features a 9.0in portrait touchscreen, through which you control many of the car's functions. At times it’s unresponsive and hard to find what you want within the vast array of menus and functions, and trying to press the some of the smaller icons while driving is pretty tricky.