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In-depth reviews

Volvo V90 estate review

"The Volvo V90 is a large estate car with all the comfort, technology and style you could need"

Carbuyer Rating

4.3 out of 5

Owners Rating

5.0 out of 5

Read owner reviews

Pros

  • Fantastic design inside and out
  • Very comfortable and safe
  • Great all-round quality

Cons

  • High-spec models expensive
  • Some rivals are better to drive
  • Boot not as big as you’d expect

Verdict – is the Volvo V90 a good car?

The Volvo V90 is a great premium estate car that focuses on comfort over sportiness. It may be older than many of its rivals from BMW, Audi and Mercedes, but the V90 is still hard to beat in terms of equipment, efficiency and build quality. It’s a shame that the more affordable petrol and diesel models are no longer available, but if you can afford one of the plug-in hybrids, then the V90 should earn a spot on your estate car shortlist.

Volvo V90 models, specs and alternatives

The Volvo V90 is the estate version of the Volvo S90 saloon and is a far cry from older, boxy estate cars from the Swedish brand, thanks to a design transformation. The V90 is one of the most stylish cars of its type and yet still offers a huge interior, along with a big boot that should be more than roomy enough for most buyers.

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It’s a great choice if you find yourself put off by the usual options from BMW and Mercedes, as the V90 does things a bit differently. Not only is the interior smartly designed, with a minimalist look, the Volvo is more focused on comfort than some of its rivals, so it’s a great option for long commutes and road trips.

Best estate cars 2024Top 10 best estate cars 2024

Rivals such as the BMW 5 Series Touring or Jaguar XF Sportbrake are much more enjoyable to drive, but the Volvo is relaxing and there's a greater sense of space inside. The seats are very comfortable, the steering is light and the engines are punchy, which takes a lot of the stress out of a long trip in a V90.

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There’s no shortage of tech either, as the Volvo has a huge amount of safety gear as standard and a useful combination of a portrait nine-inch infotainment screen and a digital instrument cluster. Combined, all the info you need is displayed easily and the systems are easy enough to use – aside from the fiddly air-conditioning controls.

The V90 has a bit of a self-imposed problem when it comes to the interior and tech, which is the Volvo V60. That model is smaller, so it won’t appeal to everyone, but it offers enough space for most and has a very similar interior with all the key bits of tech included as well, so it looks better value than the V90.

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Compare the new Volvo V90 to its rivals – such as the BMW 5 Series Touring, Mercedes E-Class Estate, Jaguar XF Sportbrake and Audi A6 Avant – and you’ll generally find it leaves a positive impression, especially if you value comfort over sportiness. While it doesn’t have the biggest boot in its class, its 551-litre load bay (with the rear seats up) is about on par with its rivals.

Fold the rear seats down and you get 1,517 litres, which is quite a way behind the likes of the 5 Series Touring and A6 Avant and way behind the latest E-Class Estate, all of which offer more than 1,600 litres with the rear seats down.

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In 2023, Volvo announced that it was removing the V90 from production, citing lack of demand for estate cars as buyers shift to SUVs. That decision was reversed in 2024, with the V90 returning to dealerships, albeit with a slimmed down choice of trims and engines. 

While there were originally petrol, diesel, mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid models to pick from, only the latter is still on sale. Formerly known as the ‘Recharge’ models, the V90 T6 and T8 use a 2.0-litre petrol engine with a battery and an electric motor, providing over 50 miles of EV range. They are the most powerful and most efficient powertrains, but they’ve always been the most expensive, meaning the barrier to entry for the V90 is now much higher than before.

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The Volvo V90 trim lineup is pretty straightforward in 2024. The old Momentum, Inscription and R-Design badges were replaced by Core, Plus and Ultimate in 2022, but these were superseded by Plus and Ultra in 2024. Even the old entry-level V90 Core was well equipped, with leather upholstery, heated front seats, LED headlights, dual-zone climate control and sat nav, but Plus gets even more kit.

With the V90 Plus, you get more driver assistance tech including adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree parking camera with parking sensors and driver awareness safety tech that includes blind spot monitoring and autonomous emergency braking. Upgraded exterior features include front LED fog lights and stylish 19-inch alloy wheels. On the interior, Plus models also get ambient lighting, a heated steering wheel and windscreen, as well as two-zone climate control. A power-adjustable driver’s seat and heated rear seats are also standard on Plus models, along with an upgraded Harman Kardon sound system. The V90 Plus is now only available with the T6 plug-in hybrid powertrain.

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The Ultra trim level builds upon the Plus specification with added luxury features, and is exclusively available with the T8 plug-in hybrid powertrain in 2024. These include a more advanced adaptive air-suspension set-up offering an even smoother ride quality, a head-up display, larger 20-inch alloy wheels, a power-adjustable passenger seat, panoramic sunroof, a premium Bowers & Wilkins sound system and tinted windows as standard.

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Volvo offered a rugged, higher-riding V90 for a period, known as the Volvo V90 Cross Country. Aimed at those who need a 4x4 but don’t want the bulk of an SUV, the V90 Cross Country was discontinued in 2023, although it still makes for a sensible used purchase if you plan to head on rougher roads. For most drivers, the ordinary V90 will suffice as it’s now only available with four-wheel drive in T6 and T8 guise.

A glowing five-star rating – awarded after 2017 crash tests by independent safety experts Euro NCAP, is testament to how seriously Volvo takes safety. The carmaker has actually stated that it aims for no-one to be killed or seriously injured in or by any of its new cars. This is a bold promise, but looking at the company’s track record and the amount of safety kit its cars come with, it’s hard not to believe it. It’s based on the same underpinnings as the five-star-rated Volvo XC90 SUV and gets the same comprehensive standard safety equipment.

Reliability for Volvo has been on a steady upward trend, with the brand finishing in seventh place in the reliability category in the 2023 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey. Overall, the brand finished in 13th place out of 32 car brands; well ahead of some key rival brands like Audi, BMW and Mercedes.

In 2024, the Plus version feels easily premium enough, making it the most suitable option for most buyers, while its T6 plug-in hybrid powertrain can help slash bills. The V90 doesn’t boast the biggest boot in its class but its plush interior, technological sophistication and sheer cruising pleasure mean it’s still one of the most impressive large estates Volvo has made and it deserves to ride high on your upmarket estate shortlist.

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Charlie writes and edits news, review and advice articles for Carbuyer, as well as publishing content to its social media platforms. He has also been a regular contributor to its sister titles Auto Express, DrivingElectric and evo. As well as being consumed by everything automotive, Charlie is a speaker of five languages and once lived in Chile, Siberia and the Czech Republic, returning to the UK to write about his life-long passion: cars.

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