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Volvo's V90 the 'pinnacle of modern luxury'

Trish Whelan

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Trish Whelan

Volvo's V90 the 'pinnacle of modern luxury'

Safety you can count on: The V90 scored a maximum 5-star rating in Euro NCAP testing

The V90, my latest Volvo test drive, shows how Volvo is now a genuine alternative to the big German brands.

A big premium estate, the wagon version of the S90 saloon, the third car in the premium carmaker’s top of the line 90 series, also sitting alongside the award winning and splendid XC90 SUV which with the S90 have changed the face of the brand.

The 90 series is built on Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture which means new safety systems can be added across the range of cars. The first V90 rolled off the production line around this time last year at the company’s manufacturing plant in Sweden.

This is a long vehicle with sharp detailing and with a coupe-like style to it. To me, it doesn’t look quite as good as its sister saloon but it’s handsome nevertheless as you will note when driving behind one. However, I think it looks best when viewed from the side with the steeply angled roof at the rear but this design eats into boot space. Luggage capacity including under floor storage is 913 litres up to 1,526.

The interior is stylish with beautiful lines, upmarket materials and really good space for all onboard with plenty of head and elbow room, and big legroom in the rear even behind a 6-ft front passenger. The driver’s seat has power adjustments including lumbar support for lower back comfort. There’s also a memory setting.

Seats are all ultra comfy and you can get a really good driving position. Rear doors open very wide to allow easy getting in and out.

The main feature on the dash is the large 9-inch touchscreen, tablet-size, which controls most of the car’s functions. You swipe the screen like an iPad to get to the function you require. It may take a few swipes to get to where you want. As the screen is so large you can see many functions on a page at a glance so it’s not as distracting as some other smaller touch screens.

My test car was the 2.0 D4 diesel in the top Inscription trim which had the bells and whistles that owners look for and in a dark colour called Osmium grey which contrasted nicely with the Amber Soft Leather interior, and with chrome along side windows, privacy glass and silver roof rails.

The engine, matched to a smooth 8-speed automatic transmission, is powerful enough for most people’s everyday needs, can accelerate from 0-100km/h in 8.5 seconds and has a top speed of 225km/h.

The ride is also extremely comfortable - the car accelerates with ease, holds the road well, has good grip and corners without fuss, as you’d expect from a Volvo. It’s just an extremely comfy car to be in and a rewarding one to drive.

Three driving modes are Eco for efficiency, Comfort for everyday use or Dynamic for high performance. In the latter mode, the engine sound became louder. I kept mostly in the Comfort zone, switching up when the occasion needed me to.

Official fuel consumption is 4.5 L/100kms for the combined cycle, and annual road tax is €200. Maximum torque is 400/1750-2500.

The long list of standard features including so many safety ones, is too long to list here. Suffice it to say it has everything that you’d want, except a rear view camera which is part of an optional pack.

Volvo was the first car maker to score a full six points in the Autonomous Emergency Braking for Pedestrians test and an overall maximum 5-star rating by Euro NCAP and the S90 and V90 have cemented its position amongst the leaders of automotive safety innovation. The City Safety system can identify potential hazards on the road ahead, such as vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists in certain situations, day and night.

Recent updates to this 90s series are to do with new safety, powertrain and connectivity updates including Android auto.

The Swedish carmaker’s smartphone integration offer, which already includes Apple CarPlay, now comes with Android Auto functionality in the large driver interface. This split screen interface allows you to use both your smartphone and your in-car features without changing views. Another feature is the Over-The-Air navigation update system which means the car always has the latest maps onboard.

The 90s family get two new connected safety systems - Slippery Road Alert and Hazard Light Alert which use the cloud to share safety-critical data between cars.

I’d absolutely recommend a test drive for anyone looking for a premium estate for their family.

- For more details contact Lyons of Limerick on 061 413344