Automotive

Is Volvo's new V90 the antidote to the modern obsession with SUVs?

The V90 will be available with a hybrid powertrain, but expect plenty of buyers to go for the long-legged diesel
The V90 will be available with a hybrid powertrain, but expect plenty of buyers to go for the long-legged diesel
View 25 Images
The car's cabin is all about an airy feel and high quality finishes
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The car's cabin is all about an airy feel and high quality finishes
That central Sensus touchscreen can be operated with gloves on, and proved snappy when we got a chance to play with it last year
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That central Sensus touchscreen can be operated with gloves on, and proved snappy when we got a chance to play with it last year
Volvo has worked to remove as many buttons as possible from the center console, instead using a hierarchical card system in its Sensus system to make sure major functions fall easily to hand
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Volvo has worked to remove as many buttons as possible from the center console, instead using a hierarchical card system in its Sensus system to make sure major functions fall easily to hand
With large animal avoidance tech, the V90 buys into Volvo's dream of having no one killed in one of its cars by 2020
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With large animal avoidance tech, the V90 buys into Volvo's dream of having no one killed in one of its cars by 2020
The car's body embraces a mix of materials for a stiff, light structure
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The car's body embraces a mix of materials for a stiff, light structure
Digital instruments are designed to give the driver clear, quick info about what's going on
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Digital instruments are designed to give the driver clear, quick info about what's going on
It might be stylish on the outside, but the V90 is still full of practical touches
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It might be stylish on the outside, but the V90 is still full of practical touches
It might be stylish on the outside, but the V90 is still full of practical touches
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It might be stylish on the outside, but the V90 is still full of practical touches
Rear seat passengers are the real winners in a car like this, with plenty of headroom and legroom
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Rear seat passengers are the real winners in a car like this, with plenty of headroom and legroom
A panoramic sunroof like the XC90's is available on the V90
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A panoramic sunroof like the XC90's is available on the V90
The V90 comes from a long line of estate cars
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The V90 comes from a long line of estate cars
To our eyes, the V90 is a seriously handsome car - even compared to the sharp S90
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To our eyes, the V90 is a seriously handsome car - even compared to the sharp S90
We can only assume this photo was taken by an obliging Swedish bird
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We can only assume this photo was taken by an obliging Swedish bird
There's a T8 hybrid powertrain available on the V90, although plenty of buyers will opt for the more conventional diesel option
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There's a T8 hybrid powertrain available on the V90, although plenty of buyers will opt for the more conventional diesel option
That rear isn't quite as upright as the rear on your geography teacher's Volvo, but this is still a car designed to haul all your rubbish and more
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That rear isn't quite as upright as the rear on your geography teacher's Volvo, but this is still a car designed to haul all your rubbish and more
Thor's hammer features up front, as does as broad Volvo badge and grille
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Thor's hammer features up front, as does as broad Volvo badge and grille
Volvo's new face hasn't been around long, but it's already instantly recognisable
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Volvo's new face hasn't been around long, but it's already instantly recognisable
Volvo has thrown the kitchen sink at the V90, loading it up with all the active safety kit it can hold
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Volvo has thrown the kitchen sink at the V90, loading it up with all the active safety kit it can hold
The new Volvo V90 Estate
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The new Volvo V90 Estate
Volvo has always been famous for its Estate cars, and the V90 joins a long list of load luggers
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Volvo has always been famous for its Estate cars, and the V90 joins a long list of load luggers
With an estimated range of 50 km, the V90 T8 should be able to tackle the school run on electric power alone
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With an estimated range of 50 km, the V90 T8 should be able to tackle the school run on electric power alone
The V90 is the perfect alternative to our modern obsession with SUVs
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The V90 is the perfect alternative to our modern obsession with SUVs
The V90 will be available with a hybrid powertrain, but expect plenty of buyers to go for the long-legged diesel
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The V90 will be available with a hybrid powertrain, but expect plenty of buyers to go for the long-legged diesel
The new Volvo V90 Estate
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The new Volvo V90 Estate
There's no mistaking this for anything other than a Volvo
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There's no mistaking this for anything other than a Volvo

In a world filled with chunky SUVs and four-door coupes, it was high time for a hero to come along and resuscitate the classic wagon. Thankfully, Volvo has stepped up to the plate with its stylish new V90. It mightn't be as boxy as the Swedish wagon driven by your high school geography professor, but don't worry, this is an estate car with pedigree.

Based on Volvo's Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), the V90 features the same chiseled face and Thor's hammer headlamps as the XC90 and S90 that it joins in Volvo's top-of-the-line 90 series. The real difference comes when you move on past the rear doors, where there's a long roof and large cargo area, which can be extended by lowering the rear seats flat at the touch of a button.

There's no mistaking this for anything other than a Volvo
There's no mistaking this for anything other than a Volvo

Beyond the styling, details about the V90 are thin on the ground. Volvo has made it clear it will be fitted out with the same suite of semi-autonomous features as the XC90 and S90, which means it will follow the car in front and stay in its lane at speeds up to 130 km/h (80 mph).

The car will also detect and help drivers to avoid large animals, like moose or kangaroos, and will prepare the interior in a run-off road situation. All of this is a part of Volvo's plan to have no road fatalities in its cars by 2020, and places it in the same sort of league as the new Mercedes E-Class.

The car's cabin is all about an airy feel and high quality finishes
The car's cabin is all about an airy feel and high quality finishes

Thanks to its PowerPulse technology, Volvo is claiming the V90's diesel engine will be packing a "distinct performance boost," while the T8 Twin Engine hybrid system will deliver around 410 hp (306 kW) and an all electric range of 50 km (31 mi).

On the inside, the car's interior offers up the same sumptuous ambience as its SPA-based stablemates. A panoramic sunroof lets plenty of light into the cabin, while a vertical-oriented Sensus touchscreen dominates the center console, and features smartphone integration through Apple CarPlay. Audio is pumped out of a 1,400 W Bowers & Wilkins sound system that comprises 19 speakers spread throughout the car, with a Fresh Air sub in the rear and a tweeter poking out the dash above the central touchscreen.

In a nod to buyers who live in colder climates, the system can be operated with gloves on, and proved snappy and easy to use when we had a poke around at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show. Those who doubt the 90 series' premium claims need look no further than the interior walnut touches and jewelry details, including a solid crystal gear lever.

We don't have any pricing information about the V90 yet, but we do have plenty of images. Take a look through the gallery to check out Volvo's antidote to the modern SUV in all its Swedish glory.

The car is also introduced in the video below.

Source: Volvo

The New Volvo V90: Live Reveal

11 comments
Michael Wilson
simply a beautiful wagon. Now volvo, lets have the polestar version!
moreover
Those 30 miles on electric are eminently useable. In my Chevy Volt I end up going 85% of my miles on electric (which is also the average for the entire Volt fleet). Hope the concepts of range extended electric cars gets widely adopted as it can make a huge difference on fuel consumption. And what an elegant car the Volvo is!
otto17
Exactly why some of us drive the Subaru Outback and not the Forester or other SUV: a nice low profile all-wheel drive with some easily accessed cargo space. Volvo is not the first "antidote" to the SUV. However the Subaru Outback has been growing taller the last few years, perhaps attempting to blur the difference between it and the Forester (a mistake I believe) and has caused me to start looking at alternatives. Perhaps Volvo can provide my next "classic station wagon".
wanderkip
A gorgeous alternative for those who appreciate driving dynamics with their extra hauling space. Taller SUV's are actually less safe in rollover situations with their higher CG and truck-based geometry. This is the same discovery that AMC made when it invented the crossover platform, (Eagle) to lure families out of ugly Wagoneers with contemporary styling and true 4WD safety. Kudos to Volvo!
Lbrewer42
It is about time a station wagon was made again. And the engine specs seem adequate, but I wonder how this vehicle stacks up against the large station wagons I grew up. We could easily slide full 4 X 8 sheets of plywood into the back end and have a few inches to spare at the front of the bed (seats down of course)? Six people easily fit into those station wagons with some of them being rated as 9 passenger cars (not cramped either). The fold out seats built into the back end of the bed... reminiscent of "rumble seats" from my Grandfather's era spawned such stories. As good an idea as Volvo reviving the station wagon is, I just hope its a "real" station wagon if it wants to replace someone having the need for a real SUV. I never understood why people are crazy enough to shell out money for smaller and more plastic content cars. But that was an era where OWNING your own car was a lot more possible financially. And when wrecks occurred, the cars were not automatically totaled (think the old days of telephone poles being sheared off with a car impact or cars deliberately hitting bumpers when parallel parking so as to know space between the cars). But its all about money nowadays instead of quality.
bergamot69
In Europe the 'estate car' (station wagon) has never gone away, despite the increase of SUVs and MPVs. And whilst SUVs have questionable appropriateness in urban and suburban settings, MPVs do offer for many a more useable form factor, taking up less road space yet offering better interior height. Its nice to have the choice though. I'd rather have a traditional estate than most MPVs, and this Volvo looks to be, on the face of it, a very nicely executed return to form for a maker who, in the UK at least, sold far more estates than saloons (sedans).
Martin Hone
Certainly a gorgeous looking wagon, but Volvo have had good looking wagons for some time. Remember the XC70 ? I had one as a company vehicle back in 2003. Lovely machine Don't know how the collision avoidence system will work against kangaroos. They tend to jump out from the sides of roads without warning........
BZD
A bit strange how Volvo doesn't mention their smaller wagons. I think the V90 looks really good and the power train should be great just as it is in the S and XC, but I do not like they have gone all touch screen on us. While it is nice some of all the buttons are replaced by a screen I simply can not see how a touch screen works for the things you like to adjust while driving. I like being able to adjust the heater without looking simply by knowing almost on instinct where the buttons are and my fingers feeling their way - no screen can offer this.
Michael Wilson
@Lbrewer42. Its less about quality and more about survivability. A car like that, which can shear a telephone pole in half does not transmit energy well. Cars break apart and splinter today, by design because the body absorbs the impact rather than transferring it into the occupant. Theres a reason why road-based fatalities are much lower today. As for size, part of the reasons why wagons at least in the US, fell out of favor was because of the size. People saw the large land yacht country-squire wagons of old as dinosaurs of their stodgy parents. They still needed the space, but wanted to differentiate themselves from their forebears, so they flocked to better marketed SUVs. Detroit also had a hand in this, by heavily marketing SUVs as the new, hip vehicle because larger trucks can be built on older, cheaper to build (read: truck chassis) frames, and do not have to perform as well in crash tests or get as great a fuel economy as sedans. Thus, with less R&D, cheaper build costs and a perceived bit of luxury, SUVs can be sold for more money, and make higher profits for the automotive companies. They are in turn marketed heavily towards consumers, and the large wagons of old find themselves put to pasture.
Keith Reeder
"In Europe the 'estate car' (station wagon) has never gone away" Indeed, Bergamot - some of my favourite cars are the Merc, Audi and Beemer estates currently available here in the UK. I can't help but think, when people make comments like: "It is about time a station wagon was made again" that's it's about time they came out from under their rock - or just remembered that there's more to the world than just the USA.
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