Volvo V90 estate - Interior & comfort
If this is your priority, then the Volvo V90 is one of the best in the business
Volvo is often praised for its fantastically comfortable seats and the V90 is no exception. They’re impressively plush, as well as being massively supportive, so even after a long journey, you’ll step out feeling just as fresh as when you set out. The soft leather upholstery is echoed by the premium quality materials found elsewhere in the passenger compartment.
We recommend the smaller 18-inch wheels. They look every bit as good as the larger 19-inch wheels and on the D5 Momentum that we tested, they really gelled with the suspension, providing a smooth ride on the most pitted of UK roads.
Unfortunately, the R-Design is rather hamstrung on the comfort front by its lowered, stiffened suspension. This does reduce body lean in corners, but not so much as to transform the V90 into a sports car – it merely serves to reduce comfort for passengers. We don’t think the modest increase in driver fulfilment is worth trading the Volvo’s exceptional smoothness for.
Another area where some rivals have an advantage is engine noise. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesels of the V90 may hum unobtrusively away in the background when cruising, but when full power is called upon they can’t match the smoothness or quietness of engines like the Audi and Mercedes 3.0-litre six-cylinder diesels.
Volvo V90 dashboard
Inside, the V90 is pretty much identical to both the S90 saloon and the XC90 SUV – and you can take it from us, that’s no bad thing. Everything is beautifully laid-out and finished to the highest of standards. The quality of materials on display is top-notch, too, while the portrait-orientated nine-inch touchscreen for the infotainment system works wonderfully. It looks great, too, with pin-sharp graphics and a very modern design. That big screen is flanked by a couple of large air vents, with just one row of buttons and switches below it that control the stereo, hazard warning lights and windscreen demisting.
Once you’ve got the hang of the infotainment system – which should only take a quarter of an hour or so – then you’ll find it an impressively intuitive piece of kit to use. You’ll often find yourself thinking you’re operating your tablet computer, rather than a car’s infotainment system thanks to the impressive way it’s been designed.
One niggle, however, is that there are only a few USB points, which means finding somewhere to charge your phone (a necessity these days) or stream your music through the car's stereo if you're in the back seats is impossible. Apparently, Volvo is working on an after-market fix for this, but expect these to be nothing more than charging points, rather than fully connected to the infotainment system.
You should find the dials easy to read, while even the steering wheel feels wonderfully tactile in your hands. Adding wood and leather to an executive car to make it feel more luxurious is a common tactic, but Volvo has managed to make the V90 feel fresh and modern through the use of lighter woods and a simple, minimalist design. It all looks and feels very clean and crisp in there.
While the starting price for the entry-level Volvo V90 Momentum isn’t cheap (neither are rivals), the amount of standard equipment you get means you won’t feel short-changed. It’s certainly more generous than any Audi, BMW or Mercedes: to get those cars up to the same specification as the V90, you’d have to spend significantly more.
All models get sumptuous leather upholstery, the Sensus infotainment system with a nine-inch tablet-style touchscreen, Bluetooth compatibility, sat nav, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, LED lights all round, voice control and even wireless internet access.
Keyless engine starting and access to a variety of online apps is standard too. You also get 18-inch alloy wheels and a powered bootlid on the entry-level Momentum model. All models also get Volvo’s Pilot Assist semi-autonomous driving system, which allows the car to just about drive itself at speeds of up to 80 mph on the motorway.
If you step up to Inscription trim, then you get a host of additional goodies. These include even softer Nappa leather upholstery, power-adjustable and massaging front seats, 19-inch alloy wheels, a head-up display with driving information beamed onto the windscreen, walnut interior trim, as well as rear footwell illumination. You also get additional chrome exterior trim pieces.
R-Design is a direct alternative to the Inscription model. It’s distinguished by a unique wheel design and a slightly more aggressive stance thanks to lower suspension. There’s a restyled nose and black front grille, too, while on the inside, apart from sports seats and a different steering wheel, all is much the same as the Inscription.
Hybrid models also offer pre-heating and cooling of the cabin, plus laminated side and rear windows and something called a fresh air subwoofer.
Due to the V90’s generous standard equipment, there aren’t many options for you to choose from. It’s worth getting Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – systems that allow you to operate certain aspects of your smartphone using the car’s touchscreen – although really these should be free in a £40,000+ car (you get them included with many city cars). Elsewhere, the 18-speaker, 1,400-watt Bowers & Wilkins stereo upgrade is pricey, but offers superb sound.
There’s also the Lounge package, which adds a powered tilt-and-slide sunroof, 360-degree cameras and parking assistance, which will automatically guide the car into either a parallel or perpendicular parking bay. You can also specify a range of eight metallic and two 'premium' metallic paint shades alongside the two solid paint finishes available at no cost.