Up hill and down

dale with Volvo S90

Volvo S90, front action
Volvo S90, front action 3
Volvo S90, front action 2
Volvo S90, rear action
Volvo S90, side action
Volvo S90, dashboard
Volvo S90, front seats
Volvo S90, rear seats
Volvo S90, boot

ITis canine law that a puppy in its first winter must see snow.

This won't make it Rin Tin Tin or guarantee a rosette in the Eskimo Nell class of Crufts but certainly gives the humans a good laugh.

And so it came to pass, well a pass and a hill actually, that after a sunny day in Wharfedale we dropped from bright sunshine into a blizzard at Pately Bridge, or Parsley Bridge as the sat nav insisted it was called.

By Reeth the ground was white and time to give the pup a run on the village green.

Look, I know what is says on the telly but finding snow for a pup is an essential journey.

We are going soft in this country, this snowfall paralysed some areas with a little as less than half-an-inch. The Swedes would drop their herring burgers laughing.

After dinner, try The Buck for venison and wild boar, we headed home with the old parsley and thyme navigator insisting the best route was via what turned out to be a small outcrop of the Himalayas.

Now I only mention this because a Volvo S90 saloon is hardly what you would choose for a bit of Marco Polo style exploration.

Saloons have rather gone out of fashion in the face of the crossover but smugness is not required here because most owners choose two-wheel drive which is about as pointless as mountaineering in your socks.

As it was the front-wheel drive Volvo came through without any drama.

The S90 D4 Momentum Pro is at the entry level end of a range which tops out at over £57,000.

That's not to say it is stingy but at £36,365 looks a good option for the business user.

The car had Xenium and Intelisafe packs fitted which are largely extra safety and parking features pushing the price up to £40,415.

While this 187bhp eight-speed diesel automatic is no slouch, hitting 62mph in under eight seconds the main attraction is refinement and comfort.

Not that its economic sense should be ignored.

These days I only ever believe what the car's own computer tells me is being consumed and accordingly the vehicle was doing over 47mpg. No, I'm not drunk, that is the reading and the reading is the word and the word was surprise.

While we are on the subject, emissions are 116g/km meaning the two-litre is efficiently engineered and keeps taxation to a minimum, which used the be £30 but is now £140.

Okay, so that's the small print the question is what do you get which sets this car aside from other saloons?

Well, as ever with Volvo it's not just a litany of musical treats and ambient lighting.

Volvo really would like to see you back as a customer so aims to keep everyone as alive as possible.

Yes there is a nine-inch touch screen in the centre console with navigation, voice activation, clear and simple dual climate controls and the rear camera. Take on the £400 option of the big as Lapland 12.3-inch crystal screen and the 360 degree parking camera which operates as a birds eye view within the £1,550 Xenium pack, brilliant.

Sensus Connect uses an app to browse the Internet and even book your next service.

Standard safety features include pedestrian and animal detection with automatic braking along with the semi-autonomous pilot assist which will take over steering up to 80mph. Try not to leave the road, it will get lonely, but if you do the seat belts tighten and the car modifies to prevent spinal injuries.

Yes your comfort is considered with bum-warming leather faced seats, power folding rear backrests and a powered boot lid but safety is clearly paramount.

So what's it like to drive? Quiet for a start with minimal road noise, even if a bit vocal under pressure and the cabin, with minimal needless distractions, is a lovely place to sit.

It should be having virtually all been nicked from the XC90 SUV.

Everything about the S90 is unhurried and refined, a big car with a huge boot and bags of interior passenger space.

Chinese owner Geely plans to invest $11b in new Volvo cars and platforms with the aim of reining in the German big boys.

If you can't see how that process is underway in the S90 you must be barking.

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