Today is a very special day, we are driving a Volvo V90 T8 R-Design for a review. The Swedish brand’s top station wagon will take you to the Resort Borgo di Colleoli, an historic resort located in the heart of Tuscany. What better place for such an elegant car?
The Volvo V90 collects the legacy of the Swedish brand’s station wagons: lots of care in details, safety and comfort are at the highest level and the space on board is so much. The new Gotebörg’s family car, however, abandoned the stylistic canons that had all his ancestors united over the years. The rear truncated tail disappears, leaving for a much slimmer and modern design, but without sacrificing space for luggage. The volume of the luggage compartment is 560 liters with a regular load compartment. Inside, there are plenty of handbag hooks and storage space for smaller items as well. Lowering the rear seats, you can create a single plane without interruptions and you can reach a load capacity of 1520 liters, a truly remarkable value!
The Volvo V90 color in test is a beautiful pearled Christal White and is equipped with 20-inch wheels. This set up gives the car a sporty touch, without sacrificing the elegance that distinguishes Volvo’s products.
Daytime lights follow Volvo’s latest trends by adopting the now common form of Mjöllnir, commonly referred as “Thor’s Hammer”. The front lights are a LED matrix and offer effective lighting. The rear lights, also led, grow vertically on the sides of the hatchback.
Volvo V90’s exterior’s elegance is also retained in its interior design. When you open the door, you are immediately pampered by the good smell of the materials and, once you sit inside, you appreciate the softness of the black skin.
Inside, Volvo celebrates its origins with a gear selector made of Orrefors Swedish crystal and the country flag sewn on the seats. Perhaps not everyone knows that the safety belt, in the forms we know it today, has invented by Volvo in 1959. The Swedish house is here to remind you, imprinting “Since 1959” on the engagement of the latter.
Volvo always cares a lot about the safety of passengers, so much so that a very important and difficult goal wants to be achieved: to eliminate deadly accidents on their cars by 2020. This intention is perfectly demonstrated with the Volvo V90 because since the basic version features such as automatic emergency braking and the semi-autonomous driving system called “Pilot Assist” are present.
The infotainment system is entrusted to the well-proven Sensus, essentially two-part format: the central touch screen and the fully digital dashboard. Physical controls are few, almost everything is commanded by the central unit. The mode of operation reminds me very much of Apple’s iOS system (in terms of iPhone and iPad). There is one key to return to the main menu if you stay “locked” in a menu we do not know about. Obviously there are all the features to connect to the Internet and the latest smartphones. If I really have to find a defect in this system is the female voice of the navigator, sometimes it is a little too robotic.
The Bowers & Wilkins stereo system features high-level sounds, the bass is deep and the high perfect. From the Sensus system you can even select three different “sound experiences”: studio, stage and “concert hall of Gotebörg”. Probably the best we’ve ever heard.
Volvo V90 travels are made even more enjoyable thanks to the immense panoramic glass roof and the interior lighting customizable in colors and intensity.
The car is 4.94 meters long, this does not make it easy to park, but no panic! Volvo has also thought about this, providing optional auto parking, 360 degree camera and front and rear sensors.
The Volvo V90 T8 Twin Engine is a hybrid plug-in driven by two engines: a four-cylinder 2.0 petrol 325 hp at the front and an approximately 80-horsepower electric to the rear wheels. Thanks also to the electric motor that immediately gives the torque the maximum weight of 1800kg is not felt much more so as the thrust is really impressive.
With this motorization it is also able to ensure fun but be careful, it is not suitable for everyone. The most sensible use is to reload it at home overnight in order to make short trips, such as home-work, fully electric. This obviously requires a private space where you can park your car, with a nearby power outlet and a good wattage system available.
Driving modes, excluding the individual one, are 4. AWD, Pure, Hybrid and my favorite: Power. With the first, it simulates an all-wheel drive, simultaneously operating both the front thermal and electric propulsion so as to have more adherence to undisturbed surfaces. The second and third driving modes, on the other hand, give priority to comfort and silence. With Pure, the car uses almost exclusively the electric motor, while Hybrid weighs well with the use of the two propulsion engines. Power driving mode is a second identity for this car, namely its Hyde.
Thanks to the pneumatic suspension, it stiffens, the current generator is switched on for the batteries and the two motors are fully powered. The Volvo V90 double engine simulates a full traction, but behaves in a particular way, a strange thing to say. With so much power on the front, the understeer is almost offset and when it comes the electronics tries to recover by operating the rear electric motor, which helps to correct the trajectory of the car.
Although the soul of Volvo V90 is more than a great traveler than pure sports car, it does not behave badly: the braking system does not feel excessive fatigue and the chassis can withstand the stresses. The autonomy declared with a full current is about 40km in electric only, but I admit that I could not get more than 30-35km.
Charging times vary greatly depending on power, from a maximum of 8 hours to the home current at a minimum of about two and a half hours at the Enel Columns (the only ones present in Florence, unfortunately) with 22kw Mennekes socket. As a matter of expectation with this quality and with all these amenities the price is not low, it reach 100,000 €. A price that puts it in direct competition with German competitors. The Volvo V90 is suitable for a target of people looking for a comfortable car for long and spacious trips, but wanting to differentiate from the usual German cars now became mainstream with a focus on nature and less emissions.
Testo: Federico Schipani
Foto: Edoardo Mascalchi