Volvo estates have always been popular, thanks to their reputation as safe, practical and reliable family holdalls, but the company itself has never been in the same prestige league as Audi, BMW or Mercedes-Benz.
Something that CEO Håkan Samuelsson hopes to put right with a new range of vehicles based on Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA).
Key highlights are a steel and aluminium monocoque, double wishbone front suspension and an integral link set-up at the rear. Engines are the same as you get in the S90: a 2.0-litre four-cylinder D4 diesel with 187bhp and a more powerful 2.0-litre D5 with 237bhp and all-wheel drive as standard.
The V90 line-up is completed with the more rugged Cross Country model which puts it in the same ballpark as the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack and the Skoda Octavia Scout, which allows the big Volvo to do some green-lane driving which the lower standard V90 would struggle with.
There are three trim levels to choose from – Momentum, R-Design and Inscription, while the Cross Country model get its own equipment list. Entry-level Momentum models get adaptive cruise control, keyless start, LED headlights, automatic wipers and lights, powered tailgate and rear parking sensors as standard on the outside.
Inside there is dual-zone climate control, electric windows, a leather upholstery, heated front seats, Volvo’s safety technology and the manufacturer’s signature 9.0in portrait infotainment system complete with DAB radio, Bluetooth, USB connectivity and sat nav.
Upgrade to R-Design and the V90 is adorned with sports seats, LED foglights, a sportier suspension and chassis set-up, 18in alloy wheels and a 12.3in configurable instrument cluster.
Topping the range is the Inscription trim, which includes a Nappa leather upholstery, electrically adjustable front seats, thick pile carpets and chrome detailing. The Cross Country models get an additional 65mm ground clearance, skid plates, rugged exterior bodykit and bespoke 18in alloy wheels.
Climbing aboard the Volvo V90
There's a sense that real thought has gone into the design of the cabin as soon as you climb behind the wheel. The materials used throughout the dash feel top-notch, the 9.0in portrait touchscreen is one of the finest touchscreen infotainment systems currently available and the driving position is near enough perfect.