Wagons, or “station wagons” as they’re more commonly known in the U.S., were once immensely popular. They were the preferred mode of transportation for the family vacation. Then, they gradually fell out of favor and drifted toward extinction, as soccer moms migrated into minivans, and now crossovers. Today, wagons are experiencing somewhat of a resurgence and are once again regaining their prominence. Particularly the European variety, where the so-called “estate car” never really fell out of favor. The 2018 Volvo V90 T6 AWD Inscription is perhaps the most significant example of the station wagon format, as they’ve been in the game longer than anybody. The new V90 is essentially a sporty luxury sedan that provides greater versatility and functionality.
OVERVIEW: 2018 VOLVO V90
The V90 comes in two forms, as a regular wagon, or in a more off-road worthy Cross Country form. Visually, the two can be difficult to tell apart. The Cross Country features black gloss trim elements and sports a metal stud grille compared to the waterfall grille of the V90. Black gloss substitutes the window surround chrome trim, and there is black or color-matched trim around the wheel wells. U.S. customers may roll on either 19 or 20-inch alloy wheels shod with Pirelli Scorpion Verde tires.
The regular V90’s ground clearance is 6.0 inches, while the Cross Country clears the ground by 8.3 inches. That’s only 1.1 inches lower than Volvo’s XC90 crossover, at least when not equipped with air suspension. Acquisition of the regular, smaller-volume V90 must either be ordered online through Volvo’s Concierge website, or by participating in their overseas delivery program, traveling to the factory in Torslanda, Sweden to take delivery. The vehicle is then shipped to a U.S. dealer for the finalization of the purchase. Although, some dealers may have ordered a V90 on their own, so you can find one in their inventory.
Propulsion is provided by a transversely mounted 2.0-liter supercharged and turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine. It produces 318 horsepower at 5,700 rpm, while also developing 295 lb-ft of torque at 2,200 rpm. Motive force is geared to the driving wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. The V90’s power delivery is linear and smooth except for the auto stop/start, which tends to-be on the surging side. The supercharger compensates for any turbo lag, though there’s some noticeable roughness at idle. The standard electronic Haldex-type all-wheel-drive biases more torque to the rear when the electronic stability control is turned off.
Performance oriented consumers can boost performance by ordering Polestar’s Performance Optimization package. That provides approximately 70 different modifications. Primarily a software program, the optimization changes the throttle mapping, boosts horsepower and torque, and adjusts shift speed. Drive modes in the 2018 Volvo V90 include Eco, Comfort, and Dynamic, where the power is sent to the rear axle only when needed. A full 100 percent is directed to the rear if the front wheels are on ice for maximum stability and traction.
The V90’s wheelbase happens to be the same as the Volvo S90 sedan, but the overall length is shorter. The wagon now tips the scale in a range from 2,050-2319 lbs. depending upon equipment.
COMFORT AND CONVENIENCE
Heated seats and a heated steering wheel are standard, along with the Thor’s Hammer daytime running lamps. The Sensus infotainment system includes a 9.0-inch touchscreen as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto support. An optional Bowers & Wilkins stereo comes with 19 speakers. The 2018 Volvo V90 also has a power liftgate, operated by the key fob or a kick below the rear bumper.
The V90 Inscription also provides a panoramic sunroof as standard equipment. In spite of the extra glass out back versus the sedan, the V90 wagon only tips the scale at roughly 100 pounds more than last year’s short-wheelbase S90 Volvo. It’s also an inch shorter in length, but is 1.3 inches taller overall. Obviously, the most notable difference space is in the cargo area. However, there’s also a more spacious cabin as well. While the S90 sedan has 15.4 cu-ft of trunk space, the Volvo V90’s cargo area stands at 25.5 cubic feet with the seats in place. That volume increases to 53.9 cubic feet with the rear seats folded down.
The 2018 Volvo V90 T6 AWD is both smooth and compliant. It’s on par with most midsize luxury sedans or crossovers on every level. The steering feel is on the lighter side, but its also precise. Even if if you are not a huge wagon fan, the Volvo V90 represents a modern take on the brand’s iconic wagon. Its appealing looks, impressive performance and versatility win it some points over its sedan counterpart.
The base price for the Volvo V90 T6 Inscription starts at $57,950., while the price as tested came to $69,340. That’s after fitting additional options which included a Convenience Package, Bowers and Wilkins Premium Sound System, HUD, outer child seat, premium rear air suspension, 20-inch Inscription alloy wheels and the Destination charges.
If you are looking for a more rugged (and readily available) Volvo, check out our test of the V90 Cross Country up Gold Mine Hill! Subscribe to The Fast Lane Car and TFLnow for more news, views and real-world wagon reviews.
SPECIFICATIONS: 2018 Volvo V90 T6 Inscription
|Price as Tested:
|Engine:||2.0-liter supercharged and turbocharged I-4|
|Drivetrain (Layout):||Transversely mounted front engine, all-wheel drive|
|Horsepower:||318 @ 5,700 rpm|
|Torque:||295 @ 2,200 rpm|
|Transmission:||Electronically-controlled eight-speed automatic with Auto Stop/Start|
|Suspension:||Front and Rear: Double wishbone, coil springs, hydraulic shock absorbers and stabilizer bar|
|Brakes:||Power-assisted four-wheel disc brakes|
|Tires:||Pirelli P-Zero 255/35 R20|
|Fuel capacity:||15.9 gallons|
|Fuel economy (EPA):||22 city / 31 highway / 25 combined mpg|
|Curb Weight:||2,319 pounds|