Volvo V90: The Perfect 21st Century Wagon

Volvo V90 Location Front 7/8
Source: Volvo

Volvo is in the middle of a major reinvention, and so far, everything’s gone according to plan. The all-new XC90 has racked up a number of awards (Motor Trend’s SUV of the Year, 2016 North American Truck of the Year) thanks to its capable hybrid and gas-powered drivetrains and gorgeous styling. Phase two of the reinvention is the S90 sedan, a BMW 5 Series-fighting flagship that by all outward appearances could have Volvo dealerships swamped with a wave of German trade-ins. And in a nod to its people-moving roots, the S90 will be joined by a wagon variant, dubbed the V90. If you’re in the market for a premium car and a wagon isn’t on your radar yet, this new Volvo may just change your mind.

The V90 shares its platform with the S90 and XC90, the V90 creating the flagship trinity that will lead Volvo into the next decade. It was unveiled Thursday morning in Stockholm and, like the great Volvo wagons of the past, looks as natural with a long greenhouse as its sedan counterpart. While wagons are a niche market in America today, they’re still strong sellers in Europe, and from here, the V90 looks like it has what it takes to compete with offerings from BMW, Mercedes, Audi, and Jaguar.

Volvo V90 Location 3/4 Rear
Source: Volvo

And it isn’t just because of its pretty face either; the V90 will come with many of the same features already found on the S90 and XC90, including its Pilot Assist semi-autonomous system, an advanced safety system with large animal detection, and run-off road mitigation. The large touchscreen runs Volvo’s Sensus infotainment software and comes standard with Apple CarPlay compatibility.

Volvo V90 Location 7/8 Rear
Source: Volvo

In Europe, the V90 will be offered with four available powerplants, including Volvo’s turbodiesel with new PowerPulse system, designed to banish turbo lag. We aren’t likely to get that one here; instead American buyers will choose from the 250-horsepower T5 turbocharged 2.0-liter four, the 316-horsepower T6 turbo-and supercharged 2.0-four (one of Ward’s 10 Best engines of 2016), and the 410-horsepower T8 hybrid powertrain, which will also offer 31 miles of pure electric range.

There’s a lot of substance here, but in the end we’re still smitten with its looks. When the S90 was unveiled, we said: “And if you didn’t get the message on the outside, the interior is — let’s drop any remaining journalistic objectivity here — drop dead gorgeous. We can’t think of any dash we’d rather look at day after day during long commutes.”

Lucky for us, the interior is carried over from the back seats forward. Behind those, there’s an ample amount of cargo room, though Volvo hasn’t announced just how much yet.

Interior cockpit Volvo S90 blond
Source: Volvo

The S90 is expected to start a bit above the current S80’s $43,450 entry point, and we expect the V90 to follow suit. But for the money, you probably won’t be able to get a better car. For years, Volvo was the safety brand, while its German rivals took home prizes for performance and looks. But the S90/V90 is smashing that stereotype once and for all. Volvo’s new triple threat — safety, looks, and performance (the T8 is nearly as powerful as a BMW M3) — should be more than enough to lure buyers away from the usual luxury suspects, and help transform the Swedish marque into a premium powerhouse. To put it mildly, we can’t wait to get our hands on one.

Like classics? It’s always Throwback Thursday somewhere.