Motors

Sleek V90 joins space race

Volvo V90

VOLVO has form when it comes to building estate cars, writes William Scholes.

It has been making them for more than 60 years, selling more than six million since the first Duett of 1953.

That means around a third of the Volvos sold since the company was founded in 1927 have been estate cars.

As Volvo boss Håkan Samuelsson says: "We have provenance in the estate segment. In many people's minds we are known as the definitive estate brand."

Latest to follow in the line is the V90, which got its first showing in Stockholm last week.

Like its S90 saloon sibling, the V90 is pitched at the premium end of the market to compete with cars like the BMW 5 Series and Audi A6.

"While the Volvo brand stands for much more than just estates, we will proudly carry forward this rich heritage with the V90," says Mr Samuelsson.

It is certainly a very handsome car, managing to be both faithful to traditional Volvo estate car cues and modern at the same time.

"The modern premium estate is all about the intriguing combination of a luxurious experience with the functional origins of the estate silhouette," explains Volvo design boss Thomas Ingenlath.

"The sophisticated ambience of our new Volvo interiors is combined with a great cargo space, providing the right kind of functionality - whether through connectivity or cargo and storage solutions."

As you might expect from Volvo, there is no shortage of safety kit on the V90.

Volvo's ambition is that no-one will be killed or seriously injured in one of its cars by 2020 and so to this end the V90 is laden with semi-autonomous drive technology and intriguing-sounding gadgets such as 'large animal detection and run-off road mitigation'.

It is a big car, just shy of 5 metres long, while the wheelbase is a luxurious 2.9m.

Total boot capacity is 1,526 litres, which is likely to be more than enough for most people, though it should be noted that a Skoda Superb (1,950 litres) is larger still.

Engines - a real Volvo strong point at present - include T5 and T6 petrols with 251bhp and 316bhp respectively and a T8 hybrid with 404bhp.

Diesel duties are taken care of by 187bhp D4 and 232bhp D5 units.

An eight-speed automatic is your only gearbox choice and the lower-powered petrol and diesel models are front-wheel-drive, with brawnier-engined models getting four-wheel-drive.

Other highlights include the option to specify your V90 without a physical key, instead using a smartphone app to open and start the car.

Expect prices to start at around £33,000 when it goes on sale in the autumn.

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