Being closely related to the XC90 SUV means the V90 can’t challenge the BMW 5 Series Touring on driving dynamics, but then it wasn’t supposed to.
The 187hp D4 model starts off the range and as an entry-level proposition it’s decent – returning fuel economy of 62mpg and emitting 119gm/km of CO2. Top-of-the-range D5 models get clever tech to improve throttle response, plus four-wheel drive for extra grip in the wet.
The V90 is pretty agile for what it is and the autonomous tech works wonders in a traffic jam
The more powerful D5 uses largely the same 2.0-litre four-cylinder, but gets a clever system called Power Pulse, which shoots compressed air into the turbo to make it more responsive. In practice it provides impressive shove from very low speeds, but the 0-62mph time of 7.2 seconds can’t match those posted by larger engined (and similarly priced) rivals.
Higher fuel consumption of 57mpg and CO2 emissions of 129g/km can be attributed to the car’s power-sapping four-wheel-drive system.
The Volvo inherits the XC90’s relaxed ride – exactly what you need on a long motorway journey. The plush ride can be further improved with the optional £950 rear air-suspension and we reckon it might be even better fitted with the smaller 17-inch wheels.
Noise inside is kept at a minimum at motorway speeds and most of what was audible could be attributed to the £1,700 20-inch wheels – go for the smaller 17 or 18 inch alternatives and it will be even quieter. Push the engine to its limit and its four-cylinder design means it is ultimately not as smooth as the six-cylinder units offered in rivals.
The standard eight-speed automatic gearbox is an option in some rivals and adds to the Volvo’s cosseting nature providing smooth changes, even if it’s not quite as polished as the one offered by BMW.