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Volvo S90 D4 R-Design on test

Created on 09/02/2018 @ 11:30

Test Drive by Graham Breeze

Few car companies enjoyed the same success as Volvo during 2017 with a 27.7% profit increase and sales up by 7%.

The results mirror a comprehensive transformation of the company’s finances and operations with clear strategies around electrification, autonomous drive and connectivity contributing to the sales growth.

In context that means bosses at Volvo know exactly where they are taking the company and the S90 D4 R-Design is a classic example.

At launch its arrival paved the way to pick up executive car sales from the likes of Audi, Mercedes and BMW. R-Design was the missing link but now it’s in showrooms offering the sporty alternative to the range.

R-Design trim has already played a big part in the rest of the Volvo range, accounting for about half of all its fleet sales, so it was a surprise that it was not included at launch.

We tested the 2.0litre, four-cylinder diesel with 190PS, CO2 emissions of 116g/km and an on-the-road price of £36,365. There is a 230PS alternative available too, but you wonder why you would need to upgrade.

There’s a top speed of 140mph and 0-60mph in just 7.9seconds so you can see just how powerful the D4 R-Design is and with low C02 emissions and combined fuel figures of 64.2mpg it’s obvious why this model is so attractive to the executive fleet buyer.

Redesigned bumpers make the R-Design stand out from the rest of the family along with 17inch alloys with lowered suspension offering a firmer ride and better body control. There are three driving modes: Eco Drive, Comfort and Dynamic.

The cabin is dominated by a nine-inch centre console touch screen system housing Sensus Navigation with full European mapping with traffic information and lifetime map updates and a voice control system.

Sensus control allows the driver to access a range of web apps and browse the internet, or even book a service with the nearest Volvo dealership while sitting comfortably in leather-faced upholstered seats.

You get LED headlights with active high beam, two-zone climate control, a power-operated boot, power folding rear seat backrests and headrests, heated front seats and 60/40 split-folding rear seats.

As you would expect from Volvo safety plays a big role in the R-Design with City Safety including pedestrian, cyclist, large animal detection and front collision warning with fully automatic emergency braking, including at junctions.

You also get Pilot Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control helping with the steering at up to 80mph which takes care of the brakes and accelerator inputs to keep the car within lane markings at cruising speed.

Run-off Road Protection automatically tightens the front seatbelts should the car leave the road, while front seat frames with a collapsible section reduce vertical force to help prevent spinal injury.

If you need evidence of Volvo safety the S90 scored a full six points on the Autonomous Emergency Braking for Pedestrians (AEB Pedestrian) test procedure, surpassing the best overall score of any model tested last year and that means Euro NCAP’s top-three best-ever-performing cars are now all Volvos. 

A few extras, such as heated front screen, heated washers, heated cleaning system, and steering wheel, driver seat memory, power passenger seat, auto-dipping exterior mirrors, blind spot information, smartphone integration, the Volvo On Call App, rear parking camera, keyless drive and metallic paint pushed the price over £40,000 on the test model.

Volvo business has transformed completely since 2010 and with continuing investment there is certainly no reason why global growth will not continue.

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