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 which was previously offered was rather hamstrung on the comfort front by its lowered, stiffened suspension. This reduced body lean in corners, but not so much as to transform the V90 into a sports car – it merely served 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. There’s a screen with a rather baffling array of safety features listed but it's at least nice to be able to toggle these on and off.
One niggle, however, is that there are only a few USB points, which is unfortunate when every passenger is likely to have one or more digital devices nowadays. A wireless charging pad in the centre console was made standard on the non-plug-in hybrid models in early 2022, although we've found this adds charge rather slowly.
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 infotainment system with a nine-inch tablet-style touchscreen and integrated Google services, Bluetooth compatibility, sat nav, dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, LED lights all round and voice control.
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 Core model. Plus trims and above 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. Plus also comes with bigger 19-inch alloy wheels, added ambient lighting around the interior to increase luxury appeal, a heated steering wheel and windscreen, as well as an advanced four-zone climate control system. A power-adjustable driver’s seat and heated rear seats are also standard on Plus models as well as an upgraded Harman Kardon sound system.
Plus cars also come in a choice of ‘Bright’ or ‘Dark’ themes; ‘Bright’ embellishes the V90 with a chrome grille and trim pieces on the exterior, whereas ‘Dark’ gets these same pieces in high gloss black.
If you step up to Ultimate trim, then you get a few additional goodies. These include an advanced adaptive air-suspension set-up, power-adjustable and massaging front seats and a set of 20-inch alloy wheels. Buyers also benefit from a head-up display, tinted windows and a powered panoramic sunroof.
Available in both Plus and Ultimate specification, the Volvo V90 Cross Country comes with more ground clearance and is only available in four-wheel-drive, making it more capable if you need to tackle a rutted track or some light off-roading.
The plug-in hybrid Recharge models also come with a Type 2 charging cable plus laminated side and rear windows, along with an exterior speaker that emits a sound to make pedestrians aware of your presence at low speed, given the quietness of the electric motor.
The latest Core, Plus and Ultimate trim levels include lots of standard equipment, but there are now fewer additional options you can choose from. Most of what you’d ever want is included in these trims, apart from the more niche optional £1,250 towbar for those with a trailer or caravan, or integrated rear child seat (a £300 option for Core models but free for Plus and above).
Ultra-luxurious Nappa soft leather is, however, an option on Ultimate models, and Recharge buyers can spec sports seats at no additional cost. The Ultimate’s standard tinted windows can also be added to Core and Plus models for an extra £400.