FOR DECADES it was the load-carrying vehicle of choice for antiques dealers, families and anyone with a Labrador. But by the Nineties, it looked as if the Swedes had given up on the junk-shop proprietor with dogs and kids. Now they have taken the wraps off the Volvo V90, a new estate car for the 21st century.
The Swedish manufacturer’s load-carrying companion to the recently announced S90 saloon and XC90 SUV, the car is the latest in an illustrious line of estates that began 60 years ago with the Volvo Duett. In more recent years we’ve seen the gargantuan 960 — which became the V90 — and, in the 1990s, the outrageously fast 850 T5-R.
According to Volvo the V90 brings its estate line bang up to date, with new safety, driver-assistance and connectivity technology, as well as efficient new engines. Like the S90 and XC90, the V90 is founded on Volvo’s so-called scalable product architecture (SPA), which, it claims, has opened up new opportunities in design, build and equipment.
Power for the new estate is likely to come from Volvo’s existing engines, including 2-litre D4 and D5 diesels. A 410bhp version with the company’s petrol/plug-in T8 twin engine, and a pure-electric range of around 30 miles, will also be offered.
Technology includes Volvo’s Pilot Assist, a system that takes over the driving at speeds below 30mph, and a safety package with large animal detection. Volvo claims the V90 has class-leading connectivity, including integration with Apple CarPlay.
However, all eyes will be on the business end — which in the case of the V90 is the rear and its cargo hold. Now the keenly priced Skoda Superb estate offers 1,950 litres of boot capacity, against the more expensive Mercedes E-class’s 1,855 litres and the 1,868 litres of Volvo’s own XC90, this estate may find doggy furniture fiends less of a pushover than before.
Volvo has yet to reveal the boot of the V90 in all its glory — perhaps to keep an element of surprise for visitors to next month’s Geneva motor show, where the car will make its public debut.
For more images of the 2016 Volvo V90 estate, scroll down …
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