The new Volvo S90 sedan is very cool, but it’s a sedan. The car you see here is the 2017 Volvo V90, and it’s much cooler because the Viking god, Odin, decreed that true Volvos must be wagons.
I guess it’s sort of a brand image thing for me, but I always picture a proper Volvo as a wagon, even despite the fact that my mom had an S80 sedan for years. The S90 and V90 come as replacements for the S80, and they feature every ounce of Volvo’s newfound luxury swagger.
I drove the new Volvo XC90 last spring, and I was blown away, to say the least. Volvo came out of nowhere with what is probably the best luxury 7 seat SUV on the market. I mean, Volvos have always been nice solid cars, but they were hardly head-turners. Volvo has clearly decided to change that with their new generation of cars.
The V90 is the first of these new-age Volvos in the traditional form, a station wagon. It offers a clear picture of Volvo’s evolution from building unassuming family cars to now competing head-on in the world-class luxury segment. I love the V90’s sense of style, beautiful design work, and its breathtaking fit and finish, but I also love the fact that it still seems like a Volvo at it’s core. It doesn’t feel like Volvo is trying to turn themselves into a copy of Audi. It’s more like Volvo has matured and stepped their game up so they can play in the big leagues, and win. But the game they’re playing is still very much their own.
Brand identity and integrity is extremely important, especially at the high end of the market. The world already has an Audi, and it doesn’t need another one. If Volvo is to succeed in their efforts to move up-market, then they need to ensure that they remain true to themselves.
I can see they’ve made the effort when I look at this Volvo V90, as well as the S90 and XC90. The plush style and rich materials are great, but they are merely the icing on top of a distinctively Volvo cake.
Volvo has always been known for advanced safety and other technology. From inventing the three-point seatbelt, to being an early-adopter of turbocharged engines, Volvo has always been at the sharp edge of the technological spear. These new Volvos are no exception.
Watch the S90 crash test video below, and pay particular attention to the top-down view at (0:55). They are testing the car for an off-center frontal impact, the second deadliest collision possible. Only a direct T-bone crash is worse for survival and injury. Notice how the Volvo’s crash structure design directs the force of impact away from the passenger cabin, from the front to along the side of the car. It doesn’t even crunch the windshield.
Needless to say, the engineers who designed this deserve a metal, or a cookie, or at least a pat on the back. Numerous lives will undoubtedly be saved by that design in the next few years.
In terms of other advanced technology, Volvo is still the only large scale manufacturer to use twin-charged engines (supercharged and turbocharged) widely. The benefit of twin-charging is razor sharp throttle response from a boosted engine, no lag here. All of the engines on these new Volvos are iterations of the same 2.0L 4 cylinder motor. The T5 just has a turbo with 240 hp, the T6 has a turbo and a supercharger with 316 hp, and the T8 has the T6 engine plus a plug-in hybrid drive system that makes 407 hp and a mighty 472 ft/lbs of torque.
All of these engine options are hooked to a nice 8 speed automatic, and AWD is available for all models, including the T8 hybrid.
Obviously the V90 T8 Hybrid is my ultimate pipe dream here, and I’m now wondering, could it possibly be the best everyday luxury car on sale for 2017?
I mean, here’s what you get:
-Volvo’s advanced safety and build quality.
-The security of all-wheel-drive.
-A plug-in hybrid that can travel around 20 miles on electricity alone.
-400 hp of turbo-supercharged-electric thrust when you floor it.
-4 cylinder hybrid fuel economy when you just cruise.
-Looks that will spark sidewalk lust.
-A stunningly plush interior up there with the best of them.
I don’t know about you, but in my mind the Volvo V90 T8 sounds like the ideal daily commuter. It seems to have the competency, peace of mind, and style that define a great luxury car.
Obviously there are still many questions remaining. I mean, the car hasn’t even officially been released yet. The photos you see here leaked a couple days early.
We don’t know pricing yet, though a loaded XC90 T8 will reach well over $80,000. We also don’t know much about long term reliability for Volvo’s twin-charged engines and hybrid system. That said, the visible quality of these new Volvos seems to have skyrocketed, so as long as the same is true underneath, they should be pretty solid.
The 2017 Volvo V90 Wagon is the new Volvo I’ve been waiting for. It’s the one I could actually see myself in someday because it’s a proper Volvo wagon. I was completely sold on Volvo’s new flavor when I drove the new XC90, and I cannot wait to try out a V90 T8 Hybrid for a full review as soon as I’m able to get my hands on one.
20 years ago, who would’ve ever though Volvo would make a car so deliciously desirable.