Car Reviews, Estate

Volvo V90 Power Pulse Review

10 Sep , 2017  

Volvo have totally outshone the competition since releasing the stunning new XC90. Continuing with the S90 the V90 was next on our review list.

Coupling the bold Swedish looks of the S90 with cavernous cargo lugging abilities what was there to dislike?

We tested a range topping D5 PowerPulse AWD in R-Design trim. Its two litre diesel makes a stunning 232 BHP and an equally impressive 480 Nm of torque. 0-60 is a spritely 6.9 seconds. Not bad for a car weighing in at 1.78 tons.





Industrial, modern, gorgeous. Take your pic. I love it.

Its front end can be mistaken for the S90, but from the B pillar pack it’s all unique.

The V90’s rear lights remain unmistakably Volvo, set right to the edges then almost disappearing beneath the rear window. It makes Volvo estates of old look decidedly dated.







R design coupled with the beefy D5 engine means you sit 15mm lower all round, damping has also been stiffened up to match its sportier nature.

But what’s PowerPulse I hear you cry? Well it’s a clever system that pre spools the turbo before you need it, using a tank of compressed gas. Nifty.

Measuring in at just under 5 metres long you’d think the V90 would drive like a barge. It doesn’t.

Even with all that length and heft it still feels nippy and well balanced. On occasion that weight is felt, but on the whole, you’re masked from it.





Hustling it down some twisty B roads you’ll soon settle into a flowing pace, leaning on the all-wheel drive to shove you out of corners with mind boggling speed for such a huge lump.

Steering is nicely weighted at speed, with body roll kept to a minimum thanks to the stiffer setup. Ride over harsher sections is handled well though, I could really see this V90 being a solid motorway slugger.

You still get that gruff diesel noise when you’re outside the V90, much as you do with the S90. This twin turbo setup seems ever so slightly sweeter, you’d be hard pushed to tell the difference, but it appears to be just that bit more hushed.






That exterior design isn’t wasted once you perch yourself on the sports seats either. You’re met with the nice big nine-inch touch screen infotainment system.

Easy to use with non-convoluted menus you can get to everything with relative ease on the move.

Our test car was loaded to the hilt with extra packs and options. Powered, tilting sunroof, all round cameras, park assist pilot, heated windscreen, heated washer nozzles, headlight cleaning system, blind spot monitoring, steering assist, cross traffic, rear collision mitigation, auto dimming exterior mirrors, powered adjustable front seats.





That’s without listing all the singular options, one of them being the Sensus Connect with Bowers & Wilkins stereo.

I’ve got to give a large chunk of this review to the stereo. I’ve always felt sound in a car is important, who doesn’t like listening to music on their travels?

Well, the Bowers & Wilkins setup can only be had with Sensus Connect. It costs, £3,000. It’s totally worth it.

Sensus connect gives you access to web apps, the internet and allows you to pre book your car in to a Volvo dealership for servicing. All very gimmicky. But the stereo that comes with it. Wow.




You can select from two pre-defined sound stages, Studio or Concert Hall – the Gothenburg Concert Hall no less. The third option lets you define your own sound. Here you can set the Intensity and Envelopment. Leaving it on this mode and sliding both to max gives the best effect.

Everything is so clear. You can pick apart each individual instrument, hear solo chords and crescendos above everything else.

It feels like you’re sitting in a bespoke listening room, with tens of thousands of audio equipment in front of you.

It’s an audiophiles dream.




Rear seat leg room is British Airways First Class, we’re way passed business here. You can stretch out before having to lean forward to tweak the climate controls built into the back of the armrest.


Volvo V90 Boot Space

Boot space is equally generous at 723 litres with the rear seats up. That’s 223 litres more than the S90, it also features a clever split floor design that’s held up with a gas strut, fancy.






Volvo V90 Hybrid Release Date

There’s still no word on the release date of the Hybrid V90. The dual engine is coming very soon to the XC60, but whether we will see the hybrid V90 in the UK remains to be seen.





Everyone is going the way of crossovers these days, Volvo are no exception to that. But there’s still a need and a purpose for an estate. Often, they can lug far more cargo than nearly all the current crossover crop. Estates are different in a sea of SUV wannabes.

Coming in at nearly £56k our V90 was rather pricey. A D5 PowerPulse AWD in R-Design costs 10k less than the car pictured here.

If you bump down to D4 in entry level Momentum trim the V90 starts at a palatable £36k. In all honesty, you’d be hard pushed to opt for anything but entry level, they’re so well kitted out and you can be really granular with your options.






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By  -  
Owner / Editor of Carwitter - French car fiend, hot hatch lover. Follow @car_witter