As unabashed station wagon followers, we have been happy to be taught that the Volvo V90 has proved to be extra in style than Volvo anticipated. When Volvo launched the V90 for the 2018 mannequin yr, it supposed it as a special-order merchandise, anticipating that North American consumers would favor the plastic-clad Cross Nation model or the large XC90 SUV as an alternative. However demand for the S90 variant was greater than anticipated, and V90s at the moment are recurrently constructed for vendor inventory. When Volvo introduced an up to date model for 2021, it appeared like a superbly believable excuse to get this previous favourite in for testing.
The Volvo V90 wagon shouldn’t be a wholly unfamiliar face at MotorTrend. Our sister publication Car had a 2019 V90 Inscription in its long-term fleet, and we would be mendacity if we stated we weren’t jealous. Funnily sufficient, the 2021 V90 R-Design that Volvo delivered for this take a look at was almost a lifeless ringer for Car‘s long-termer, a protracted black family-hauling missile that—now as then—attracted a shocking variety of compliments from neighbors and passers-by.
You Certain Look Acquainted, V90
Frankly, we had bother recognizing the adjustments to the 2021 model. Volvo assures us that the 2021 V90’s entrance and rear fascias have been massaged and the upholsteries and inside trim are new, however the of us from the Car crew (your creator included) could not spot most of the variations, except for a brand new wi-fi cellphone charger.
If that feels like an insult, we imply it as something however. One of many best issues about Volvo is the timeless nature of its designs. Think about the first-gen Volvo XC90: Does it actually appear like an almost-20-year-old design? To not us, it would not. The V90 is getting older as gracefully as any Volvo ever has, and its four-year-old design nonetheless seems to be recent and new, in and out.
We have all the time been amazed (and amused) that Volvo can draw 316 hp and 295 lb-ft from slightly 2.0-liter superturbocharged I-4, and the instance we examined went even additional with a Polestar Efficiency possibility, a $1,200 ECU improve that will increase output to 330 hp and 325 lb-ft. (Curiously sufficient, you do not essentially must buy this function when the automotive is new; it is doable to have the Polestar efficiency replace added anytime.)
Polestar Makes the V90 Faster, R-Design Makes It Extra Agile
Volvo credit the Polestar improve with a 0.1-second enchancment in 0-62-mph occasions, however we noticed significantly better outcomes: On the testing floor, the 2021 all-wheel-drive V90 jetted to 60 mph in 5.6 seconds, half a second faster than the final non-Polestarred V90 T6 we examined. We fairly preferred the best way the eight-speed computerized went about its enterprise: Highway take a look at editor Chris Walton famous that it was good sufficient to chorus from shifting on the skidpad, and out on the open highway the gearbox all the time appeared to know which ratio to select in an effort to get us gone.
Dealing with was by no means the Car V90’s robust swimsuit; it was sharp however a bit clumsy and felt unwieldy on slender, winding roads. This 2021 mannequin felt a lot sharper and extra correct, and the reason being one other Volvo quirk: This was the lower-spec R-Design mannequin, which has a sportier suspension tune than A-Magazine’s pricier Inscription mannequin. (Guess these guys ought to have learn the spec sheet slightly extra rigorously.)
Walton stated the all-wheel drive V90 was “a way more sporty expertise than I had imagined. I might even coax slightly little bit of drift off the nook. However steering is fairly springy, and I used to be fairly busy sustaining a clean arc across the skidpad, and boy, do the tires go away fairly abruptly.” Out on the open highway, we have been all smiles as we hustled the V90 by way of our favourite curves. One of many key benefits of a wagon over an SUV is a sportier drive, which makes good dealing with an all-that-much-more-important component of this evaluation. Our eyes might barely inform the distinction between the R-Design and Inscription fashions, however our butts positive might, and the R-Design is the mannequin we would purchase.
Hey, The place’d the Wiper Swap Go?
Most different points of life with the V90 have been unfailingly nice. Regardless of the alleged updates to inside supplies, the cabin stays as agreeable as ever, richly appointed and punctiliously completed. You begin the V90 by twisting a knob on the middle console, and every thing about that knob, from the texture of its metallic end to the sleek means it travels by way of its arc and hits its mechanical cease, transmits a tactile telegram of implied high quality.
Whether or not that is a real illustration is up for debate. Car‘s 2019 V90 had its share of wierd glitches, and our 2021 had a really peculiar one: After we went to activate the rear wiper, we could not discover the change. A session with the Volvo PR crew revealed that it was the truth is lacking, the results of a botched dealership restore (apparently they put in the stalk from an S90). We wished to query why an almost-new automotive would want one thing as elementary as a column stalk changed so shortly, however we acquired the sense we would requested sufficient questions for in the future. Nonetheless, it was an amusing glitch: Often if you’d like a automotive with lacking elements, you must purchase British (or a Tesla).
Good Interface, Nice Driving Help, however Simply One Downside …
All the things else on the V90 labored fairly properly. We’re glad Volvo makes use of a traditional sliding P-R-N-D-L shifter fairly than the odd digital gizmo present in another Volvo automobiles. We have made our peace with Volvo’s heart display screen, which, you will bear in mind, was one of many first to make use of a portrait orientation and a tablet-like person interface. A few of it nonetheless baffles us, although, like the truth that switching between audio sources requires you to swipe away from the music display screen.
We have additionally come to essentially admire Pilot Help, Volvo’s driver help system. Comprising adaptive cruise management and a lane centering system, Pilot Help is extra assist than hindrance: It is good at discovering lane strains, hardly ever tells you to place your palms on the wheel after they’re already there, and it actually eases fatigue on lengthy journeys. It is a powerful little bit of engineering.
We’re actually piling on the arguments for the large wagon, and maybe that is as a result of we’re compensating for the automotive’s one main disadvantage: As wagons go, it is not terribly sensible. The V90 shouldn’t be the box-on-wheels Volvo of yore—that swoopy roofline eats cargo house, to the purpose that, with all seats in place, the V90 truly has much less cargo than the smaller V60—19.Eight cubic toes (versus 23.2 for the V60), about the identical as a compact hatchback. A small value to pay for the nice seems to be, we are saying (although too be truthful, the final V60 we examined drew compliments, as properly).
So it is not essentially the most sensible, and it could or might not be the very best constructed, however the V90 R-Design is a superb automotive in each different respect: fast, posh, lovely, good enjoyable to drive, and each inch the anti-SUV. Volvo might have been shocked by the V90’s gross sales success, however we positive aren’t.
Seems to be good! Extra particulars?
|SPECIFICATIONS||2021 Volvo V90 T6 AWD Polestar (R-Design)|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$68,585|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Entrance-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door wagon|
|ENGINE||2.0L/330-hp/325-lb-ft turbo + s’charged DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||4,222 lb (54/46%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||194.7 x 74.Zero x 57.6 in|
|0-60 MPH||5.6 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||14.2 sec @ 97.9 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-Zero MPH||115 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.89 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||25.9 sec @ 0.68 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||21/32/25 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY||160/105 kWh/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB||0.78 lb/mile|