2018 Volvo V90 T6 AWD Inscription Review

Wednesday December 13th, 2017 at 11:1212 AM
Posted by: D.Colman

2018 Volvo V90 T6 AWD Inscription

Hypes: Sensuous Looks, Primo Finish, Good Performance
Gripes: Sensus Is Not Consensual

Your first and lasting impression of the V90 is one of surpassing beauty. Its restrained styling provides more wow factor than the overwrought exercises coming out of Cadillac, BMW or Mercedes Benz these days. If you are looking for a station wagon with all wheel drive, sculpted in consummate good taste, stop by your Volvo dealer for a close look at the 2018 V90. We spent a week cosseted inside the top line trim version of the V90 called the Inscription. In keeping with this wagon’s understated good looks, the “Inscription” nameplate appears in just two places on this vehicle: a pair of chrome identifiers located almost out of sight on the lower front rocker panels.

2018 Volvo V90 T6 AWD Inscription

Inside, the V90 is exquisitely tailored. This wagon’s show car interior belies its base price of $57,950. The first element that catches your eyes when stepping aboard is the illuminated threshold plate, done in matte aluminum with backlit “Volvo” lettering. Slide into the French vanilla leather front seats and enjoy 10 way power adjustability and 3 stage heating. Savor the medley of linear walnut wood inlays defining all dash and door panels. Slide open the enormous laminated panoramic moonroof to convert the interior to convertible airiness. The V90 interior is a destination second home you always leave with some regret.

2018 Volvo V90 T6 AWD Inscription

But this Volvo also scores points as a fun car to drive. Under the wind cheating snout of our Maple Brown Metallic tester was a highly tweaked 4 cylinder motor displacing just 2.0 liters. This relatively small engine leaves lots of room for people packaging in a car with an extravagant 111 inch wheelbase and a total length of 191 inches. Volvo turbocharges and supercharges this motor to produce 316hp and 295lb.-ft. of torque. Because the torque peak arrives at just 2200rpm, you’re almost always guaranteed immediate response from this B4204T27 engine, which averages 25MPG in all driving.

2018 Volvo V90 T6 AWD Inscription

Helping keep the economical four banger on full boil is an 8-speed automatic transmission with enough ratios to insure immediate response to any acceleration request. Volvo labels this sweet shifter “Geartronic” and equips it with am manual operation gate that allows you to select and hold your ratio of choice. Unfortunately, the Inscription model does not provide steering wheel mounted paddles to accomplish this task. However, if you seek such paddles, the otherwise less lavishly equipped V90 “R” offers them as standard fare.

2018 Volvo V90 T6 AWD Inscription

Volvo does not stint on the V90′s suspension of tire choice. Although this wagon weighs in at more than 2 tons (4,170 pounds), it never feels ponderous, even on back roads. That’s because you can dial in the steering feedback and suspension behavior you desire by choosing a “Drive Mode Setting” from the four menu choices available: Eco/Comfort/Dynamic/Individual. Before each drive, I generally opted for Dynamic. Eco or Comfort tighten up at freeway speed, but provide way too much power steering boost at lower speeds. In any case, the Pirelli P Zero radials (255/35R20), mounted on Inscription specific 8 spoke alloy rims, never lose grip or traction on dry pavement.

2018 Volvo V90 T6 AWD Inscription

If the V90 has a weak point, it lies in the design and logic of the “Sensus Connect” system which regulates virtually all functions of this car through a 9 inch touchscreen/navigation unit centrally located on the dash. Figuring out how to operate this video screen is like searching for something specific at Ikea – you have to wade through the whole store before finding what you need. And just like Ikea’s bewildering maze of pathways, Sensus acts like a funhouse mirror. You’re never sure where you are, where you’re going, or where you’ve been. Ironically, for a company long celebrated for promoting safety in driving, this confusion causes inattention while driving. We even visited our local Volvo dealer for some help with Sensus and were instructed to issue voice commands when needed. We tried this repeatedly, but every time we wanted to raise or lower the interior temperature, the voice genie responded with help for the radio.

2018 Volvo V90 T6 AWD Inscription

If Volvo ever decides to equip the V90 with good old fashioned buttons for control of the HVAC system, this wagon will merit unanimous praise. But until that time, the V90, lovely and comfortable as it is, merits a triple, not a home run.

2018 Volvo V90 T6 AWD Inscription

  • Engine: 2.0 liter inline 4, Direct Injection, Super & Turbo-Charged
  • Horsepower: 316hp@5700rpm
  • Torque: 295lb.-ft.@2200rpm
  • Fuel Consumption: 22MPG City/31MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $69,340
  • Star Rating: 8.5 out of 10 Stars

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2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD Review

Thursday October 5th, 2017 at 12:1010 PM
Posted by: D.Colman

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD

Hypes: Plush and Luscious Interior
Gripes: Needs Paddle Shifts, Jerky Gearbox Shifts

Volvo’s nomenclature can seem mysterious to the uninitiated. Our rather deliciously appointed test car this week is the wagon (“V”) version of the all-new “90″ series model line. This 90 model line replaces the aging 70 and 80 series cars from Volvo. Volvo also offers its 90 as an “S” (sedan) version and as an “XC” (SUV) type. “Cross Country” describes our test wagon’s level of trim, while “AWD” refers to our test car’s all-wheel-drive system. The V90 is also available in rear wheel drive trim. Volvo began importing the S90 last year, and the V90 completes the company’s move to the new model range.

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD

As a top drawer offering, the V90 Cross Country AWD carries a base price of $55,300. Our test sample upped the ante with a Convenience Package which added $1,950 to the bottom line for “Heated Washer Nozzles, Park Assist Pilot, and 360 Degree Surround View Camera.” A Bowers and Wilkins Premium Sound System boosted the price by a whopping $3,200. Graphical Head Up Display added another $900, Osmium Gray Metallic Paint contributed $595 to the final tally, and another $1,200 went for “Premium Air Suspension in rear.” Final out-the-door cost for this metallic grey Volvo totaled a tidy $64,640.

Is it worth that much money? As a driving experience, probably not. As a living room environment, definitely yes. Volvo recently announced that in the near future, all their new products would either be electric or hybrid powered. The latest V90 we drove, however, is neither. Rather it utilizes a very small displacement (2.0 liter) four cylinder engine which has been tweaked with both turbocharging and supercharging to produce 316hp and 295lb.-ft. of torque. The fuel efficiency of this motor is remarkable, with an overall EPA MPG figure of 25.

Although the engine produces peak torque at just 2200rpm, you really have to twist it to gain maximum horsepower at 5700rpm. In everyday terms, the 2.0 direct injected motor launches with a boot, then hesitates to follow through until the revs rise above 5000rpm. Even though it’s coupled to an 8-speed automatic, the Geartronic transmission stumbles while selecting the appropriate ratio for maximum acceleration. A lack of paddle shifts exacerbates the problem.

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD

The net effect is that this combination makes passing with authority on two lane roads something of a crapshoot. You have to time your move with precision. On the other hand, the upside of this sophisticated engine is its ethereal soundtrack. The turbo kicks in with a base note while the supercharger contributes its soprano whine. For the record, the V90 is also available with a hybrid drive unit that will undoubtedly overcome the hesitancy of the gas-only engine we tested. The optional hybrid is good for 400hp. In the handling department, this beefy, 4,220 pound Volvo offers moderate understeer coupled with decent traction from its Pirelli Scorpion Verde tires (235/50R19) mounted on standard 19 inch alloy rims. For better cornering performance, you can select the “Dynamic” handling option from the 4-item menu of adjustable “Drive-mode” settings.

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD

Drivers not centrally focused on ultimate performance, however, will not be phased in the least by the big Volvo’s slight acceleration or handling shortcomings. That’s because the V90 Cross Country is so regally appointed and handsomely finished. The interior is really a Swedish work of art. The seating surfaces are not only exceptionally comfortable, but exquisitely tailored in Cross Country specific crackle grained mocha hides. The central dash pillar contains a 9″ “Sensus” touchscreen which controls virtually all infotainment and HVAC controls. This screen illuminates with startling clarity, but can be difficult to manipulate when fingerprints build up on its surface. Virtual instruments fill the dash behind the steering wheel, and, as with the latest Audis, a Google Earth type map spans the distance between the tachometer and the speedometer.

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD

The most incredible aspect of the V90′s interior is neither its 10-way adjustable seats, nor its Sensus interface, nor its cabin length smoked glass moonroof. Rather, its signature item is that expensive, but worth-every-penny, Bowers and Wilkins Premium Sound system. When you chose “Concert Hall” mode from among its three settings, prepare yourself for the listening adventure of a lifetime. In conjunction with the virtually unlimited musical offerings from Sirius radio, this mega system will have your tympanic membranes flapping with such vehemence that you’ll want to take up permanent residence in your V90 Volvo.

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD

  • Engine: 2.0 liter inline 4, direct injection, supercharged and turbocharged
  • Horsepower: 316 @ 5700rpm
  • Torque: 295lb.-ft. @ 2200rpm
  • Fuel Consumption: 22MPG City/30 MPG Highway
  • Price as Tested: $64,640
  • Star Rating: 8 out of 10 Stars

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