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Simply the best estate car

Created on 30/08/2017 @ 09:44

Test Drive by Graham Breeze

Estate cars come and go and brand manufacturers across the globe have thrown millions at making their variant a success – but will they ever compete head-to-head with Volvo?

If you have ever wondered why our motorway cops chose Volvo it’s time you got behind the wheel of the new V90 D5 where you will discover a combination of Swedish luxury and the highest possible safety levels.

So it’s no surprise to find the V90, which perfectly reflects Volvo’s new confident image, has been voted Best Estate in the UK Car of the Year Awards 2017.

The V90 is the third model – after the XC90 SUV and S90 premium saloon – to be based on Volvo's cutting-edge SPA platform. This structure is built to provide next-generation electrification and infotainment technology, along with world-class safety.

On test was the Powerplus AWD R-Design offering class-leading connectivity, including an advanced nine-inch touchscreen and voice control system as standard. There's also the option of Smartphone Integration – which includes Apple CarPlay and Android Auto – and the exceptional Bowers & Wilkins sound system – but you’ss pay an extra £3,000 for that luxury.

I’ve always been a huge admirer of Volvo technology and this model didn’t let me down. Pilot Assist, a semi-autonomous drive technology that can take care of the steering, acceleration and braking up to 80 mph, came as standard as did a host of labour-saving devices, such as a power-operated tailgate and keyless engine starting.

And advanced technology continues under the bonnet where the D5 engine gets an ingenious Volvo-designed system called PowerPulse, which uses compressed air to give the powerful 2.0-litre engine the responsiveness of a much larger engine at low revs.

That means you get a top speed of 145mph and 0-60mph in 6.9seconds while still only emitting 129g/km of C02 emissions and explains why you’ve got little chance of shaking off that motorway patrol cop.

Volvo has a vision that no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car by the year 2020. The V90 is further proof of the company’s continuing investment in and commitment to automotive safety leadership.

Volvo has become the first car maker to score a full six points in the Autonomous Emergency Braking for Pedestrians (AEB Pedestrian) test procedure and now produce Euro NCAP’s top-three best-ever-performing cars. 

This success is a result of the advanced City Safety system, which identifies potential hazards on the road ahead, such as vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists in certain situations, day and night.

Volvo buyers have always been impressed by the space offered in the big estate and may be a bit surprised to find less with body styling having stolen a few inches here and there. But there’s still enough space to seat five in luxury and still carry enough luggage for a family holiday.

The cabin is dominated by an unusual portrait shaped touchscreen pinch-and-zoom system which can also be controlled by voice recognition – another great safety application, removing the need for the driver to take his eyes off the road. 

The drive is exactly as you would expect from a Volvo – assured and extremely responsive. It’s sometimes hard to believe you are behind the wheel of such a big estate car and even parking in crowded supermarket car parks is not the problem you would expect.

Models in the V90 range start from £35,865 but the PowerPulse AWD R-Design on test starts at £44,865 and extras on the test car took that to £56,085.

Packs which included a tilt and slide sunroof, parking camera and park assist pilot and a Winter pack of heated goodies pushed the price up and the Bowers & Wilkins sound system added £3,000 with metallic paint coming in at another £1,000.

The Sat-Nav system with voice control, Sensus Connect, City Safety system, Pilot Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control, LED headlights, heated front seats, 17 inch alloys and 60/40 split folding rear seats are standard.

Volvo has moved away from the boxed look with the introduction of stylish curves which might just attract a new buyer who will find a practical workhorse, now smartly combined with the best levels of technical equipment on offer today.

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