Volvo V90 D5

PowerPulse AWD

Inscription

Volvo V90, front
Volvo V90, front
Volvo V90, front
Volvo V90, side
Volvo V90, rear
Volvo V90, interior
Volvo V90, rear
Volvo V90, rear
Volvo V90, boot

IT might seem strange now but 40 or more years ago there weren't many ‘premium' estate cars.

The accepted wisdom of the time was that there was plenty of demand for executive saloons but who would want an executive estate car?

Well, the answer was lots of people and it was something Volvo cottoned on to pretty quickly, before being followed by the likes of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz.

Those classic Volvo estate cars of the sixties and seventies were legendary, built like tanks, hugely practical and they still look good today.

As a marque Volvo has at times walked a precarious tightrope between the premium and mainstream segments and arguably there was a time in recent years when it lost its way.

However, under the umbrella of Chinese owners Geely Volvo is very much back with all guns blazing.

Its XC60 and XC90 SUVs lead the charge but more recently its executive saloon and estate - the S90 and V90 are also upping the ante.

Geely has proved to be a shrewd owner of Volvo, investing heavily and revitalising a brand that had become tired and dated.

I drove the S90 saloon not long ago and was astounded at how it compared to the fairly anonymous and characterless executive Volvos of recent years.

Estate cars can be a difficult act to pull off from a design perspective. To use a housing analogy it's a bit like the automotive equivalent of a bungalow. Some work but others can be a little dull and uninspiring.

Winding that clock back Volvo mastered the art of creating an estate car that looked good and crucially desirable.

And in the process they proved that style did not necessarily need to be compromised to deliver practicality.

The V90 looks stylish and delivers hugely in a practical sense and if it looks good from the outside arguably the inside is even better.

One of the key areas in which more recent Volvos have come on leaps and bounds is the interior, from fit and finish to the quality and sophistication of switchgear, instrumentation and onboard technology.

The dominating feature in the V90's cabin is a large tablet-style touchscreen which controls everything from the satellite navigation system to the heating and air-conditioning and entertainment.

The V90's cabin is suitably cavernous and it also performs well as a load-lugger, even if it doesn't quite have the van-like space of those Volvo estates of old.

Engine-wise buyers can choose between two 2.0-litre diesels (190 or 235bhp), a 2.0-litre petrol or a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid.

This was the higher-powered diesel - the D5 which features Volvo's PowerPulse technology to deliver rapid acceleration from low down in the rev range.

It makes for a rewarding drive overall, giving the V90 an impressive turn of pace. This model was also the four-wheel drive variant and the extra grip made for excellent handling. Ride quality was top notch too.

As one might expect, safety is still a Volvo hallmark.

Pilot Assist capably demonstrates how far we have already travelled on the journey towards driverless cars and this model had optional Park Assist Pilot too - an automatic parking feature which is actually pretty useful in a big vehicle.

FAST FACTS

Volvo V90 D5 PowerPulse AWD Inscription

Price: £45,615

Mechanical: 235bhp, 1,969cc, 4cyl diesel engine driving four wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 145mph

0-62mph: 7.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 57.6

Insurance Group: 34

C02 emissions: 129g/km

Bik rating: 27%

Warranty: 3yrs/100,000 miles

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