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Volvo V90 D5 PowerPulse Test Drive Review

Date: 27 June 2016   |   Author: John Mahoney

Category: Large estate
P11D price: £44,000
Key rival: BMW 5-series Touring
On sale: June 2016

Volvo didn't invent the estate but it's fair to say the Swedish carmaker has championed the practical family hold-all more than most for the past 60 years.

That said, in recent times it's felt like Volvo has neglected its big estate car heritage. Distracted by the more profitable XC90 SUV, the poor old V70 languished on sale for nine long years - but now the big SUV has been replaced, the Swedes have finally had the time to pension off its elderly estate.  

All-new from the ground up, its replacement, the V90, is based on the same platform as the XC90 and shares its engines and eight-speed transmission. Sadly, there's no longer the option of seven seats, but the good news is, for the first time in years, the big estate makes financial sense for business users.

With near class-best residual values (only the Mercedes E-class betters it), the least-powerful 190hp 2.0-litre diesel now neatly slots into the 23% benefit-in-kind tax bracket.

Less efficient, but more powerful, is the car that we sampled: the 235hp all-wheel drive D5 diesel that emits 129g/km of CO2 (BIK 25%) and averages 57.6mpg, but has an intimidating P11D value of £44,000 before options.

While others in this price bracket rely on smoother six-cylinder diesels, the Volvo sticks with just four, but thanks to standard all-wheel drive, the most powerful V90 still hits 62mph in just 7.2 seconds.
On the road it's clear the V90 isn't the last word in dynamic brilliance; instead, it majors in comfort and ride quality.

What it is missing is some of the engine refinement of an Audi A6 and the German's more muscular overtaking ability. Live with that and the big Volvo rewards with a luxurious cabin that's among the best in the business. It might be cossetting, but despite its size, the big Volvo misses out on being the best for space. A significantly shorter Skoda Superb, for example, shades it by offering 25% more boot space.

Standard self-driving Pilot Assist cruise control goes to show the high level of kit offered by the Volvo. Factor in decent RVs and the V90, at least until the Mercedes E-class estate arrives, is our costs choice.
We included a Land Rover Discovery Sport for reference (see 'Rivals', top left), but the V90 remains the classier, more comfortable car.

Volvo V90 D5 PowerPulse AWD Inscription

Model price range £34,555-£44,055
Residual value 37.2%
Depreciation £27,600
Fuel £5933
Service, maintenance and repair £2860
Vehicle Excise Duty £110
National Insurance £4,918
Cost per mile 87.0p
Fuel consumption 57.6mpg
CO2 (BIK band) 129g/km (25%)
BIK 20/40% per month £183/£367
Warranty 3yrs/60,000mls
Boot space (min/max) 560/1526 litres
Engine size/power 1969cc/235hp


New V90 scores with classiest load lugger in the business
  • Stylish looks
  • Classy cabin
  • Feels well made
  • High standard kit
  • Others better to drive
  • Disappointing lack of bootspace