Rather than major on driver engagement, the V90 remains a car that suits a more relaxed style of driving, and one that prioritises comfort and ease of use over and above any prominent dynamic streak. Drive it in such a manner, and you’ll find you’re far better placed to appreciate what this car is all about.
Naturally lightweight steering makes it easy to manoeuvre the V90’s striking 4.9m body in tight spots at low speed, and it is accurate and intuitive enough to build confidence out on the open road. The lowered yet still conspicuously comfort-oriented suspension distances you from smaller imperfections under wheel, while also ensuring body movements are kept in check. It also does well to minimise the destabilising effects of mid-corner impacts. Meanwhile, the car’s 245-section tyres and chassis work together to provide a level of grip and stability that never threatens to sap your confidence.
If you ramp the V90 up to its sportiest Power drive mode, and flick its stubby little gear selector into B to increase the forcefulness of the regenerative braking system, it will competently facilitate a marginally more enthusiastic driving style. But push too hard and you’ll find that there’s little reward in challenging its chassis right to the limits of adhesion, and that those previously tied down body movements soon give way to notable amounts of float and lateral roll.
Not that we imagine many Volvo owners would mind this lack of inherent sporting prowess, but nonetheless we’d be remiss not to acknowledge it. And for all of those customers who might value an elevated sense of driver appeal and engagement, just as many will be attracted to the V90 for its sleek looks, eminent practicality, famed safety credentials and sublime ride comfort. More on which now.
Comfort and isolation
The smooth, silken manner in which the V90 lopes its way down a road is undoubtedly its greatest dynamic asset. There were reservations among our testers that the V90 R-Design’s large, sporting alloys and lowered suspension might count against it here, but after a few miles these were quickly dispelled.
In fact, you get the sense that a slightly tauter suspension set-up would actually play into this heavy plug-in hybrid model’s favour. At relaxed speeds, vertical body movements feel smartly contained over long-wave inputs, so you don’t perceive the car to be working too strenuously at all to keep itself level.