V90 Recharge T6 AWD Inscription
out of ten dogs rate Volvo
estates The Best
and their owners
will be quick to endorse them too.
Hardly surprising because if you
want refinement, space, and unruffled
pace, and are keen to do your bit to
protect the planet, then a plug-in V90
Volvo estate is hard to beat...
AND WHILE VOLVO'S OWN range-topping SUV, the XC90, offers even more
space (and can carry seven), those with four legs much prefer not having to
jump so high to reach their sweet spot in the boot. The V90 Recharge T6 AWD
we've been putting through its paces this week sits in the uber-popular hybrid
class it's a PHEV so unlike an all-electric it can manage perfectly should
you miss a charge.
Some pundits are now predicting that big family 'hold-all' estate cars with
four-wheel drive as epitomised by the V90 might
even replace the all-conquering SUVs. What really matters though is not what
currently tops the best-seller lists but that drivers continue to have a choice.
The V90's trump card is perhaps that it doesn't attempt to be an Audi, BMW or
Mercedes-Benz. All fine motors to be sure but they don't have the unique ingredient
that defines every Volvo: Scandi chic.
for Volvo's big but understatedly sleek estate comes from a turboed 2.0-litre
petrol-drinking four-pot partnered with an electric motor; in the plug-in V90
models the rear-mounted electric motor drives the rear wheels when 4WD is engaged.
A smooth-shifting 8-speed autobox makes life easy while your right foot controls
250bhp from the petrol engine plus a further 86bhp from the electric motor that
can get you to 62mph from standstill in a crisp 5.9 seconds.
a few moments
taking in the V90s
chiselled lines and
and you probably wont
be expecting to put one
on your drive for
anything less than fifty
one these handsome
significantly less, with
the V90 range kicking off
from just £41,645.
True, choosing the higher
spec versions will mean
spending more: our
Inscription test car
retailed at £56,800.
Bear in mind, too, that
any of its German rivals
estates Audi A6,
BMW 5 Series, Mercedes
E-Class will likely cost
you even more if you
want to enjoy the same
Stay smart and fully utilise the V90's PHEV character and you could see 104.6-134.5mpg
by keeping to short commutes between recharges while generating 'green' CO2
emissions of just 47-61g/km. It's easy to keep the plug-in faith and by ensuring
the battery is fully charged you'll also enjoy up to 52.8 combustion-free, zero
emissions miles of pure electric driving.
Volvo was quick off the mark with plug-in hybrid (PHEV) powertrains
so quick that its first PHEV went on sale close to a decade ago and well ahead
of any rivals. Since then the technology has leapt forward and plug-ins have
become the go-to powerplants for those not yet committed to making the life-changing
jump from pure combustion to all-electric cars. While you can still buy a diesel
powered V90, the brand's new Recharge-branded petrol-electric hybrids and pure
electric models now call the shots.
In real-life conditions, trips of 30-50 miles can be made in the powertrain's
all-electric 'Pure' drive mode. If that fits with your regular driving requirements
then you'll definitely be quids in with a plug-in. However, the real advantage
of driving a proper plug-in as opposed to an all-electric car is that while
you can maximise your mpg by staying fully charged, the system keeps on ticking
even if you don't or can't: our 'worst' figure while driving hard on long journeys
after using up all our battery juice came in at a respectable 39.3mpg.
But back to the kerb appeal. Spend a few moments taking in the V90's chiselled
lines and beautifully-fettled cabin and you probably won't be expecting to put
one on your drive for anything less than fifty grand. Surprisingly, one these
handsome 'wagons' costs significantly less, with the V90 range kicking off from
just £41,645. True, choosing the higher spec versions will mean spending more
our Inscription test car retailed at £56,800 although a clutch
of options raised that to £63,265. However, justifying £60K is not so hard given
that forking out for any of its German rivals' estates Audi A6,
BMW 5 Series, Mercedes E-Class will likely cost you even more
if you want to enjoy the same equipment levels.
For the record, the options fitted to our test car included a Lounge pack (£1,950:
Premium Sound by Harmon Kardon with Dolby Pro Logic II Surround Sound, power
glass tilt-and-slide panoramic sunroof with sun curtain and advanced Interior
Air Cleaner), a Climate pack (£575: heated rear outer seats, heated steering
wheel and heated windscreen), Volvo's Active Four-C Chassis (£1,500: four corner
adaptive dampers with two corner (rear) electronic Air Suspension), parking
camera (£525: 360° surround view with side proximity sensors), dark tinted rear
side windows and cargo area (£400), a set of 20-inch 8-multi-spoke alloys (diamond
cut/black) wearing 255/35 rubber (£800), and all finished off with metallic
interiors are up there with the best and the V90's soft blond Nappa leather
upholstery is so much more uplifting than the endless 'any colour so long as
it's black' that is still the norm for most cars' cabins. Not only do the sporty-looking
seats look grand and feel tremendous they're supportive in all
the right places with well-judged bolstering but they can also
heat and cool you fast with three stages of each.
interiors are up
there with the best and
the V90s soft blond
Nappa leather upholstery
is so much more
uplifting than the
endless any colour so
long as it's black that
is still the norm for most
Not only do the sporty-
looking seats look grand
and feel tremendous
theyre supportive in all
the right places with
but they can also heat
and cool you fast with three stages of each...
The dash is big and wide and emphasises the roomy cabin. The fascia is almost
completely free from switchgear; most functions are controlled through the nine-inch
portrait-format touchscreen, including the climate. Combined with straightforward
ergonomics and fine visibility, the driving position power-adjustable
every which way and that includes the backrest side bolsters and extending under-knee
support makes placing the long and wide V90 accurately in traffic
The stylishly two-tone multifunction steering wheel is as good to use as it
looks and comes with a three-stage heated rim. And while the V90 relaxing 'waftability'
and active chassis (with four-corner adaptive dampers and rear electronic air
suspension) contribute to this Swedish wagon's über-soothing nature, it doesn't
mean you can't drive a la Clarkson. Not that you'll want to because driving
a Volvo means you don't have anything to prove and can travel at entirely your
With Google Maps (plus Google Assistant and Google Play) all fully integrated
into the V90's infotainment system, along with hands-free voice control, real-time
traffic info and automatic rerouting, navigation is justifiably best-in-class!
With so many of us already living with Alexa in our homes, 'conversing' with
Google in our cars is more of the same. Say, 'Hey Google' to activate Google
Assistant, then simply ask for what you want: entertainment, directions, contact
with friends, family and colleagues, connect to your favourite apps and devices
to manage your day (for instance; easily connect to and control compatible smart
home devices while in the car for peace of mind and convenience)
and all without taking your hands off the wheel.
As you'd expect, the V90's instrument panel is also digital so you can choose
to display full-width mapping along with everything you need to know such as
clearly posted speed limits and your road speed along with both your remaining
petrol and electric ranges. While behind the wheel you can also take for granted
thoughtful touches such as the system's readiness to find (and direct you to)
the nearest petrol or charging stations whenever you want to top- or charge-up.
It's said that music is good for the soul so what better than to indulge in
some uplifting sounds from the Harman Kardon HiFi. Other satisfying features
include the foolproof twist-action engine Start/Stop knob on the central tunnel
where you'll also find the electric handbrake with the must-have auto-hold feature.
Also appreciated are the two-setting memory recall buttons for both front seats,
keyless locking on all four doors, and the two-zone climate control with CleanZone
how safe is the V90. Truthfully, you just take Volvo's, and EuroNCAP's, word
for it. Awarded a full five-star safety rating, the V90 is well specced with
plenty of active safety and driver assistance systems and it's
about as good as it gets when it comes to protecting its occupants from harm.
Highlights include the brilliantly effective rear auto brake that watches unerringly
over your reversing; while parking in a tight bay with deceptive low level safety
girders during torrential rain, it stopped the car in less than the blink of
an eye when I nearly reversed back too far.
in the rear
cabin is a serene, limo-
like experience thanks to
the lovely, individually
shaped and truly
comfortable seats (the
outers pair are, naturally,
set at relaxing angles
and masses of legroom
to stretch right out.
Rear occupants also
enjoy light flooding in
through the huge
glass sunroof (or not,
should they close the
Whether its extra sun
protection or just privacy
theyd like, passengers
can also raise the side
curtain blinds integrated
into the doors...
Add to that the brilliant 360-degree camera system that always shows the car's
exact position and perimeters for pin-point accurate parking. Its four cameras
provide multiple views that as well as the bird's eye perspective also covers
your flanks with side sensors to keep you aware of adjacent objects even when
Other essential safety kit includes bright lights with commendably fast-acting
automatic main/dip beam switching for maximum night-time visibility without
dazzling other road users. And working for you 24/7 is Volvo's intelligent safety
technology assistance that detects and helps you avoid other vehicles, cyclists,
pedestrians, and even large animals and, if necessary, will autobrake for you
if you don't react in good time. Safety? It's in the V90's DNA.
Travelling in the rear cabin is a serene, limo-like experience thanks to the
lovely, individually shaped and truly comfortable seats (the outers pair are,
naturally, heated; three-stage, of course), backrests set at relaxing angles
and masses of legroom to stretch right out. Rear occupants also enjoy generous
personal space along with light flooding in through the huge panoramic tilt-and-slide
glass sunroof (or not, should they close the powered sunblind). Whether it's
extra sun protection or just privacy they'd like, passengers can also raise
the side curtain blinds integrated into the doors.
For those needing to stay in touch and keep their devices topped up there are
a couple of USB-C charging ports. Along with pop-out cupholders integrated into
the wide, padded drop-down central arm rest with two trays there are also good-sized
door bins, net front seatback storage pouches, and B-pillar air vents. So, rest
assured, lounging is definitely on the cards for those being chauffeured in
a V90 estate!
What really makes the V90 such a seductive place to glide along is the quality
of its ride. Sure there's adaptive dampers and air suspension to iron out the
inconsistencies of the UK's poorly surfaced blacktop but given our V90 was rolling
on optional 20-inch alloys wrapped in 'sporty-ish' 255/35 Pirelli PZero rubber,
it sure rode fluently. While their hearts clamour for slick looks and image-enhancing
big wheels, their heads really don't want to trade off comfort and refinement.
Full marks, then, to Volvo for managing to supply the look but not at the usual
penalty in fact the V90's refined in-cabin isolation from the
outside world is deeply soothing and sets a high bar for its rivals. All-in-all,
an addictively pleasant way to travel.
our strong praise for its ride you might get the impression this big estate
car has sacrificed maybe too much to comfort to handle. Wrong. The chassis is
well fettled to make good use of its adaptive dampers and air-sprung self-levelling
rear suspension and if you do feel like hurrying the V90 will oblige. If you
feel like selecting gears yourself, you can by nudging the shift lever sideways
left and right when in 'B' mode.
pot under the V90s long
bonnet starts, stops
and does everything in
between quietly and
obediently as though its
mission statement is not
to disturb the refined
ambiance that defines
the luxuriously appointed
cabin or the people
relaxing there. And when
its working in tandem
with the electric motor it
does so fluently to
provide exactly the kind
of readily accessed
spending £50K would
if you don't use it to change gears the 'B' setting just tap the
selector lever back to toggle between Drive and B anytime ramps
up energy recuperation to top-up the battery on a trailing throttle. Every little
helps, as they say, and it's no trouble to use in fact it's just
like being in Drive with noticeably stronger 'engine braking' delivered whenever
you lift off; and it's particularly effective when driving along twisty routes
where lifting off for a bend saves physically feathering the brake pedal.
From the driving mode menu you can select Power (effectively Volvo's 'Sport'
setting) Hybrid, Pure (electric-only), and AWD are your other
choices that as well as making maximum use of the petrol engine's
250bhp and 258lb ft of torque as well as the electric motor's 86bhp and 184lb
ft, also 'sports up' the steering and driving dynamics. The brakes, incidentally,
are first-rate too, delivering strong and even stopping without pressing hard.
When it needs to be this AWD-equipped crossover estate is reassuringly composed
although the more time you spend with it the more you'll love it when you just
leave it to its own devices.
The turbocharged four-pot under the V90's long bonnet starts, stops and does
everything in between quietly and obediently as though its mission statement
is not to disturb the refined ambiance that defines the luxuriously appointed
cabin or the people relaxing there. And when it's working in tandem with the
electric motor it does so fluently to provide exactly the kind of readily accessed
woomph somebody spending £50K would expect.
A fast-acting powered tailgate that opens high is a great introduction to a
boot that could be home-from-home for a brace of Baskerville-sized hounds or,
equally useful, a family's full staycation luggage in its 560 litres. A handy
flip-up boot divider can be raised to section the boot widthways and there are
sturdy bag hooks and strong tie-down eyelets for cargo security. Unlike most
roller-blind luggage covers the V90's rises and retracts automatically as the
tailgate rises (and closes no hands! when the tailgate
shuts). Convenient too is that moving your foot under the rear bumper causes
the tailgate to open or close.
For larger loads the 60:40-split seatbacks fold down perfectly flat to create
a seamless loadbay running to pretty cavernous 1,526 litres despite the sloping
rear glass. Boosting the practicality of the wide, long, and perfectly flat
loadbay floor is the good side access via the rear doors. Beneath the boot floor
you'll discover a customised tray for the charging leads the only
visual give-away that there's a battery pack tucked away out of sight. Thanks
to the generous torque on tap this plug-in V90 estate wagon will happily pull
a braked 2,100kg.
Suave and sophisticated, with bang up-to-date comms, the V90 is something we'd
rate! A well-rounded 'crossover' estate offering practicality, space, and luxurious
comfort, it's a genuine pleasure to waft around in with the advantage
of a permanent all-wheel drive system that's a boon not just when Jack Frost
is about but equally when it's wet and windy or you need to tow a caravan, horsebox,
or boat! ~ MotorBar
Volvo V90 Recharge T6 AWD Inscription
Maximum speed: 112mph | 0-62mph: 5.9 seconds | Test Average: 39.7mpg
Power: 250+86bhp | Torque: 258+184lb ft | CO2: 47-61g/km