In the TV show Friends, Phoebe once said: “Load up the Volvo. I want to be a soccer mom” – and this essentially sums up the manufacturer’s past image. Particularly with its estates, you often found yourself buying one purely because of its sensible, practical qualities that worked for your everyday family life.
Travel to the present, though, and it’s a somewhat different story. The Volvo V90 we’re featuring here is a far cry from its boxes-on-wheels predecessors. Sure, it remains spacious and easy to live with, but now there’s much more style and luxury mixed in. Designer Thomas Ingenlath managed to keep the family-friendly interior but mix it with a healthy dose of Scandi-cool.
The materials used throughout the interior look and feel expensive, while a 9.0in portrait touchscreen takes centre stage on the dashboard. The whole layout is easy to use and serves as a fine exemplar for that old cliché about Swedish common sense.
Volvo understands consumer demand for equipment, too, so the model doesn’t hold back. Even with the entry-level Momentum trim, you get LED headlights, heated leather seats, sat-nav, Bluetooth and DAB radio. On top of that, it has a powered bootlid, keyless start and rear parking sensors.
Second-hand Inscription cars are around an extra £2000. They offer extra interior lighting, nappa leather seats and a larger, 12.3in digital instrument cluster, plus bigger alloy wheels and electric front seats. Go for R-Design and you will find it starts at a similar price yet features firmer suspension for a sportier drive.
Without said suspension and especially on the (optional from new) adaptive dampers, the V90 is very much a wafty, capable cruiser. It rides over most surfaces at town speeds in a composed fashion and its motorway refinement is excellent. The model handles pretty neatly as well – R-Design cars particularly so.