Jun
21
2019 Volvo V90 R-Design

2018 Volvo V90 R-Design in Bursting Blue Metallic (a $595 option)

Quick Spin

2018 Volvo V90 T6 AWD R-Design

Class: Premium Midsize Car

Miles Driven: 606

Fuel Used: 28.0 gallons

Real-world fuel economy: 21.6 mpg

Driving mix: 45% city, 55% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 22/31/25 (city/highway/combined)

CG Report Card
Room and ComfortB+
Power and PerformanceB+
Fit and FinishA
Fuel EconomyB-
ValueB-
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide's impressions of the entire model lineup.
Big & Tall Comfort
Big GuyB-
Tall GuyA
Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. "Big" rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, "Tall" rating based on 6'6"-tall male tester.
Drivetrain
Engine Specs316-hp 2.0L
Engine Type4-cyl turbocharged and supercharged
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Drive WheelsAll-wheel drive

Fuel type: Premium gasoline

2018 base price: $55,950 (not including $995 destination charge)

Options on 2018 test car (standard/optional equipment has been changed slightly for 2019): Convenience Package ($1900; includes heated washer nozzles, 360-degree surround-view camera, grocery-bag holder, Homelink compass, Park Assist Pilot and Front Park Assist), Tailored Instrument Panel with Sun Curtain ($1150), metallic paint ($595), head-up display ($900), built-in child booster seats ($500), carbon-fiber cabin trim ($800), Bowers and Wilkins premium audio system ($3200), heated steering wheel ($300), rear air suspension ($1200), 20-inch R-Design alloy wheels with summer tires ($800)

Price as tested: $68,290

 

Quick Hits

The great: Comfortable, nicely finished cabin

The good: Satisfying acceleration; handsome styling; R-Design trim adds sporty look and feel

The not so good: Complicated touchscreen controls; some pricey options

More V90 price and availability information

 

CG Says:

Lately it feels like we’re getting away with something when Consumer Guide tests a Volvo. Some months after a turn in an S60 Polestar Engineered sedan—2019 U.S. sales limited to 20 units—we’ve been presented with a V90 station wagon, a car that’s only available by special order and requires a wait of about three months for delivery. When introduced in 2018, Volvo said it was expecting sales of only about 200 V90s per year. Driving these things—heck, even seeing them—just shouldn’t happen, it seems.

2019 Volvo V90 R-Design

Our V90 test vehicle wore the optional 20-inch R-Design wheels, which replace the standard 19s. Even with the upsized wheels and low-profile tires, the ride is quite good for a car with sporting aspirations.

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The V90 wagon shares a body and its two engines with the V90 Cross Country pseudo SUV that Volvo produces far more readily. It comes with a choice of front-wheel drive and T5 turbocharged engine or all-wheel drive and T6 turbocharged and supercharged engine. (Cross Country lists both powerplants, but solely with AWD.) There are two V90 trim levels: sport-themed R-Design and luxury-oriented Inscription. Starting prices (with delivery) for T5-powered 2019 models are $52,445 for the R-Design and $54,445 for the Inscription. In either case another $6000 secures a T6—which adds a few more things besides a stronger engine and two more driving wheels.

V90 Tailored Instrument Panel

The V90 interior has a classy, upscale look and feel, and the R-Design trim delivers an appropriately sporty vibe–especially the nicely bolstered front seats.

Given its newness on the market, it’s not surprising that the 2019 V90 is little changed from the ’18 version. Heated windshield-washer nozzles, a Harman Kardon audio system, stitched dashboard and upper door-panel trim, and a rearview mirror with integral HomeLink universal transceiver and compass are new standard features for all, and the Inscription now includes a cargo-area cover. Meanwhile, adaptive headlamps that were standard for 2018 are shifted to a new 5-feature Advanced Package option.

There’s plenty more to a T6 R-Design like the one CG drove. (In the interest of full disclosure, our tester was a very-late-circulating 2018 job that had the heated washer nozzles, tailored dash trim, and HomeLink/compass mirror among its complement of options.) Visual distinctions include 19-inch 5-spoke matte-black diamond-cut alloy wheels, a gloss-black grille surface, dual integrated tailpipes with bright finishers, matte-silver covers for the power-retractable external mirrors, and LED fog lights. Specific R-Design interior highlights count sport-padded seats with leather/Nubuck upholstery, leather-wrapped steering wheel and perforated shifter knob, and metal-mesh inlays.

Quick Spin: 2019 Volvo V60 Inscription

The list of comforts and conveniences encompasses keyless entry, hands-free tailgate, panoramic moonroof, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, 4-zone climate control, cooled glove box, heated power front seats with memory function, power-folding second-row seats, and high-level interior illumination. Connectivity features include navigation and audio with speech recognition, satellite radio, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration, and Bluetooth. Built-in safety-oriented driving aids are Pilot Assist with adaptive cruise control, oncoming lane mitigation, lane-keeping assist, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic alerts, rear collision mitigation, rear park assist, and Volvo On Call telematics.

The application of supercharging and turbocharging makes for commendably responsive performance from the 2.0-liter 4-cylinder T6 engine. There’s practically no sense of lag when hitting the gas in the 316-horsepower engine, which is connected to an 8-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. Selectable drive modes include a “Dynamic” setting calibrated for sportier engine, gearbox, steering, and braking responses. The R-Design rolls on a lowered, sport-tuned chassis that delivers fine ride and handling. After driving stints that ranged from 80 percent city use to 80 percent highway operation, CGers collectively averaged 21.6 mpg, substantially less than the EPA combined-mileage estimate of 25 mpg.

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2019 V90 Sunroof

A panoramic sunroof with a power sunshade comes standard on the T6 R-Design.

Seats are well bolstered, even in the rear outboard positions, which don’t always get that kind of treatment in cars with front “sport” seats. There’s a wide feel to the cabin, but a big floor hump rules out comfortable 3-across adult seating in back. Headroom is generous and driver vision is generally unimpeded. Personal-item storage is good in both rows—the only deficiency being a tiny console box.

The instrument layout is clean and functional, but Volvo’s Sensus infotainment system, with its tablet-like vertically oriented touchscreen, requires a lot of study to master its functions and layered menus. Even then it sucks up considerable driver attention to operate.

The cargo floor is versatile, with an optional pop-up “grocery holder” panel and underfloor storage. (A piston prop conveniently holds up the raised floor to assist loading.) The cargo area isn’t very tall, but floor space is expansive—all the more so when the flat-folding 60/40 rear seats are retracted.

Unfortunately, a premium-grade midsize car is going to be pricier than a goodly portion of the buying public can afford. Those who can swing a V90 will get a practical and feature-laden wagon. They’ll just have to get in line and be a little patient first.

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V90 in Bursting Blue

The “regular” V90 isn’t nearly as common as its SUV-styled V90 Cross Country counterpart, but the R-Design model makes a strong case for itself by offering sleek styling, satisfying acceleration, and an upscale feel inside and out.

Quick Spin: 2018 Volvo S90 Inscription

2019 Volvo V90 R-Design

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