2021 Volvo V90

2021 Volvo V90 Review: Making Wagons Cool Again

Volvo and station wagons go together like fine wine and a delectable cheeseboard, and the Volvo V90 is the perfect example of this. Sleekly styled and blessed with a richly trimmed interior that is attractive without coming off as remotely pretentious, it's luxury motoring at its finest. Better yet, the low-slung wagon offers car-like driving dynamics with much of the versatility you'd expect from an SUV. Two turbocharged four-cylinder engines, the second one supercharged for good measure, provide a decent mix of economy and power, although the pricier Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon provides more grunt in a similarly classy package. The E-Class also offers a lot more cargo space. Other benefits to V90 ownership are the multiple driver-assist technologies and the safety reputation that accompanies every vehicle that the Swedish automaker produces. It isn't class-leading in every metric, but the V90 is Volvo doing what it does best.

Read in this review:

2021 Volvo V90 Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2020 V90?

Volvo's upgrades for the 2021 model year are focused primarily on what you can see; beneath the surface, the wagon hasn't changed much at all. Outside, the V90 gets a new grille and a revised front fascia. New alloy wheel designs, a remodeled rear fascia, sharper taillight clusters with a showy welcome sequence, and a new rear spoiler are among the other upgrades. Inside, Volvo has added some new color choices, interior trim, and upholsteries. Early in 2020, Volvo announced a new Advanced Air Cleaner with a PM 2.5 particle sensor, a system that can monitor and maintain the best air quality in the cabin, along with an available 19-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system. During 2020, Volvo also announced that all its models including the V90 would be limited to a top speed of 112 mph in the interest of safety.

Pros and Cons

  • One of the prettiest wagons around
  • Plush, handsome cabin
  • Supportive seats
  • Handles better than an SUV
  • Many advanced safety features
  • Engines are efficient
  • Doesn't ride as smoothly as E-Class Wagon
  • Cargo capacity lags behind other wagons
  • Infotainment system isn't the fastest

2021 Volvo V90 Trims

See trim levels and configurations:

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
T5 R-Design
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$51,450
T5 Inscription
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$51,800
T6 R-Design
2.0L Twincharged Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$57,450
T6 Inscription
2.0L Twincharged Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$57,800

V90 Exterior

It's not easy to tell apart the 2021 Volvo V90 wagon from last year's model, but that doesn't matter too much since this remains one of the most beautiful and well-proportioned wagons on the market. This year, the updates include new wheel designs, an upgraded rear spoiler, different front/rear fascias, and a new grille. As before, the R-Design is the sportier version while the Inscription is more elegant. 19-inch alloy wheels are standard on all versions, but the R-Design has five-spoke alloys and the Inscription gets ten spokes. Larger 20-inch wheels are available. Other standard items include LED headlights with a cornering function, a power trunk lid, a power sunroof, and headlight washers.

2021 Volvo V90 Frontal Aspect Volvo
2021 Volvo V90 Aft View Volvo
2021 Volvo V90 Right Side View Volvo
See All 2021 Volvo V90 Exterior Photos

Dimensions

The V90 is long and carries a broad stance. Key dimensions for it include a height of 58.2 inches, a length of 194.7 inches, a 115.8-inch wheelbase, and a width of 79.5 inches including the mirrors. These dimensions are similar to those of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon. The curb weight ranges between 3,970 pounds for the FWD T5 R-Design to 4,181 lbs for the AWD T6 Inscription. If you want to do some mild off-roading, you'd be much better off with the V90 Cross Country as the V90's ground clearance only works out to around 5.9 inches with one person on board.

  • Length 194.7 in
  • Wheelbase 115.8 in
  • Height 58.2 in
  • Max Width 74.6 in
  • Front Width 63.7 in
  • Rear Width 63.7 in
  • Curb Weight 3,976.0 lbs

Exterior Colors

  • Ice White
  • Crystal White Metallic
  • Bright Silver Metallic
  • Onyx Black Metallic
  • Denim Blue Metallic
  • Birch Light Metallic
  • Platinum Grey Metallic
  • Black Stone
  • Thunder Grey Metallic

V90 Performance

2021 Volvo V90 Front View Driving Volvo
2021 Volvo V90 Top View Volvo
2021 Volvo V90 Taillight Volvo

Engine and Transmission

Two 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines power the V90 range. In the T5, this engine produces 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque with the aid of turbocharging, with power being sent to the front wheels exclusively. The T6 variants introduce all-wheel-drive and the addition of supercharging to increase outputs to 316 hp and 295 lb-ft. Both engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Our review of the Volvo V90 reveals that both engines deliver adequate performance without setting your pants on fire, although the extra oomph of the T6 is certainly noticeable. The T5 will hit 60 mph in 6.7 seconds according to Volvo, while the more powerful T6 will run from 0 to 60 in a quicker 5.8 seconds. With its added power and the supercharger improving low-end torque and responsiveness, it's the T6 that does the better job of getting up to speed and merging with traffic quickly on the highway. However, the engine's power delivery isn't always linear, with the boost appearing suddenly and then dropping off. Both engines are refined around town. However, neither can match the acceleration of the Mercedes E-Class Wagon. The eight-speed 'box lacks the alacrity of the best automatics on the market, but otherwise shifts gears smoothly. Recently, Volvo limited the top speed of all its vehicles to just 112 mph to prevent the likelihood of fatal high-speed collisions. A review of the stat sheet shows that a maximum towing capacity of 3,500 lbs applies to the T6, with T5 variants able to haul 2,000 lbs.

  • Engines
    2.0L Turbo, 2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas, 2.0L Twincharged, 2.0L Twincharged Inline-4 Gas
  • Transmission
    8-Speed Automatic
  • Drivetrains
    AWD, FWD

Handling and Driving Impressions

The advantage of a wagon over an SUV becomes apparent when taking the first turn in the 2021 Volvo V90. That undesirable top-heavy feel in some SUVs is absent here, with good body control and fair agility that makes the twisties quite fun. The steering is accurate but mostly devoid of feel, although this is now the norm for luxury cars. Less impressive is the V90's ride, which lacks the polish of an E-Class Wagon. There is a noticeable firmness to the ride with bumps and ruts not being smothered as they should. On smooth highways, there is little to complain about, though. Several driving modes are on offer, with Dynamic Mode sharpening up responses from the engine and steering, and Eco Mode enabling a coasting function at speeds over 40 mph. An adaptive air suspension is optionally available, but this is limited to the AWD T6 versions - although we highly recommend it for the added layer of comfort it adds. To unlock more performance and dynamism, a Polestar Performance upgrade is available for $1,295. This not only improves responsiveness, increases horsepower in the middle of the rev band, and recalibrates the transmission for sportier shifts, but can redistribute more torque to the rear wheels in the AWD V90.

V90 Gas Mileage

The FWD V90 is especially economical for a large wagon, returning EPA-rated estimates of 22/33/26 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles. With AWD and the more powerful twin-charged T6 engine, consumption works out to 21/32/25 mpg. The Subaru Outback is a thriftier station wagon, though, managing best figures of 26/33/29 mpg. With a 15.9-gallon gas tank, the T5 will manage a combined cruising range of about 413 miles.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    15.9 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 22/33 mpg
* 2021 Volvo V90 T5 Inscription FWD

New Volvo V90 Interior

2021 Volvo V90 Dashboard Volvo
2021 Volvo V90 Steering Wheel Design Volvo
2021 Volvo V90 Front Seats Volvo
See All 2021 Volvo V90 Interior Photos

Seating and Interior Space

There is ample space for four occupants in the V90's airy interior. It's not just the fact that leg- and headroom are generous, but also the design and features like the panoramic sunroof that enhance the perception of spaciousness. However, a fifth passenger in the middle rear seat can result in those at the back struggling for sufficient shoulder room. Soft Nappa leather upholstery covers the supportive and comfortable seats, partially making up for the rather firm ride, and colors like Amber and Charcoal are on offer. There are also tasteful metal mesh inlays on the R-Design and Pitched Oak inlays for Inscription models that serve as reminders of the V90's premium status. Both the driver and front-seat passenger sit on power-adjustable seats with heating and memory settings, along with power cushion extensions. Power-folding rear headrests are a convenient touch that improves rearward visibility.

  • Seating capacity
    5-seater
  • Front Leg Room 42.2 in
  • Front Head Room 37.8 in
  • Rear Leg Room 35.9 in
  • Rear Head Room 37.7 in

V90 Trunk and Cargo Space

Behind the second row of seats, the Volvo V90 provides 25.5 cubic feet of trunk space. Compared with a sedan, this is extremely generous, but the V90 can't match competition like the Mercedes E-Class Wagon, which offers a superb 35 cubes. The same is true once the 60/40-split-folding rear seats are folded flat, where the 53.9 cubes of available space is outshined by the Merc's 64 cubes. That being said, the standard trunk can accommodate luggage for four on a weekend away quite easily.

In-cabin storage space is good, with well-sized door pockets and a useful center armrest storage compartment. Along with a large glove compartment and front cupholders, rear-seat passengers get a fold-down center armrest housing another pair of cupholders and more storage space that can accommodate a wallet.

2021 Volvo V90 Rear View Volvo
2021 Volvo V90 Left Side View Volvo
2021 Volvo V90 Sideward Vision Volvo

V90 Infotainment and Features

Features

Between the sporty R-Design and the classy Inscription models, the new Volvo V90 ships with plenty of standard comfort and safety features. Inside, the specs include a four-zone electronic climate control system, allowing rear-seat passengers to adjust their own temperature settings. Along with this, every V90 comes with keyless entry, a hands-free power tailgate, a power panoramic sunroof, wireless phone charging, power-adjustable front seats with heating and memory functions, power-folding rear headrests, and auto-dimming inside and outside mirrors. The safety suite is typical of Volvo and comprises adaptive cruise control, front/rear collision mitigation, lane-keep assist, blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, front/rear parking sensors, and the obligatory rearview camera. On the options list are items like heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a head-up display, a surround-view camera system, and massaging front seats.

Infotainment

Both the R-Design and Inscription display key driver and infotainment settings between a 12.3-inch digital gauge cluster and the vertical nine-inch center display that forms part of the Sensus Connect system. While this setup sometimes demonstrates a bit of lag and requires quite a lot of familiarization, it comes with all the features you'd expect, at least. Standard inclusions are Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, Bluetooth connectivity with audio streaming, a Wi-Fi hotspot, a USB connection, voice commands, and navigation. SiriusXM satellite radio can be enjoyed via the standard 14-speaker Harman Kardon premium sound system with 600 watts of punch and an air-ventilated subwoofer. If that isn't sufficient, a 19-speaker Bowers & Wilkins premium sound system with 1,400 watts of power is available as an option.

2021 V90 Problems and Reliability

At the time of writing, the 2021 Volvo V90 was recall-free and, in general, reliability seems to be good. However, the 2020 version was recalled once for an issue where the automatic emergency braking system could fail to engage, increasing the chances of a collision. This recall also applies to 2019 versions, with this model year also having an issue where it failed to provide a GPS location to emergency services following an accident.

If the V90 does let you down, Volvo's four-year/50,000-mile limited and powertrain warranties provide some peace of mind. Complimentary scheduled maintenance is also provided for the first three years or until the mileage reaches 36,000 miles.

Warranty

  • Basic:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Drivetrain:
    4 Years \ 50,000 Miles
  • Corrosion:
    12 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Roadside Assistance:
    4 Years \ Unlimited Miles
  • Maintenance:
    3 Years \ 36,000 Miles

V90 Safety

Both the NHTSA and the IIHS have yet to evaluate the Volvo V90 for crashworthiness, so no official safety rating exists. We expect it to be a safe vehicle, though, considering that the S90 sedan on which it is based received a spread of Good scores for crashworthiness tests from the IIHS in 2020. The V90 is certainly not lacking when it comes to safety equipment. All V90s come with seven airbags, including a driver's knee airbag and side-curtain airbags for all outboard seating positions. Along with these airbags are features like hill-start assist, a rearview camera, rain-sensing windshield wipers, and LED cornering headlights. There are several advanced driver aids included as well, like adaptive cruise control, front/rear parking sensors, lane-keep assist, front/rear collision mitigation, and blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-path detection. By delving into the options list, buyers can add on a head-up display and a panoramic camera system, projecting images of the vehicle's surroundings onto the central screen for improved visibility. An optional self-parking aid called Park Assist Pilot can also be added for $200.

Verdict: 🏁Is 2021 Volvo V90 a good car?

There aren't many large wagons on the market and this only serves to distinguish the Volvo V90 as something special. The combination of its sleek exterior lines and posh interior make this one of the most desirable luxury vehicles around - this one just happens to be able to haul more cargo than a sedan. Two efficient engines provide decent performance and a bevy of safety equipment should make this a very safe family car. For more money, Audi and Mercedes-Benz both offer quicker and exceptionally refined alternatives, while the Subaru Outback is much cheaper and has more cargo space, but lacks the class of the Volvo. This means that the Volvo V90 is quite a unique offering at its price point, and it looks so good that we are happy to forgive its few flaws. We'd be happy to park one of these wagons in the garage.

🚘What's the Price of the 2021 Volvo V90?

There aren't a ton of configurations to choose from and Volvo has kept pricing straightforward. Whether in R-Dynamic or Inscription guise, both T5 models carry the same base MSRP in the US of $51,800. The same is true for the T6 models, both of which cost $57,800. These prices exclude tax, licensing, and registration costs, while customers will also have to add on the destination charge of $995. Other premium wagons for sale in the USA include the Audi A6 allroad which starts at a pricey $65,900. However, depending on how much you're willing to spend, a fully loaded T6 with all the options can see the Volvo V90 price surpassing $70,000.

2021 Volvo V90 Models

See All 2021 Volvo V90 Trims and Specs

🚗What Volvo V90 Model Should I Buy?

Every V90 station wagon is generously specified, so it's up to you to decide whether the T6's more powerful engine and AWD system are worth the extra $6,000. For many, that will be the case, and the available air suspension on the AWD models is well worth the extra outlay. The R-Dynamic and Inscription grades carry the same price, so personal preference will dictate whether the sportier R-Dynamic is more appealing than the posh Inscription. As far as we're concerned, the T5 Inscription is a superb wagon and is priced far away enough from its more powerful German competitors. We'll have ours in Birch Light Metallic and with the Advanced Package, which adds a head-up display and a surround-view camera system. Including destination, our total works out to $54,940.

Check out other Volvo V90 Styles

2021 Volvo V90 Comparisons

Volvo V60 CarBuzz
Volvo XC90 Volvo
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Volvo V90250 hp22/33 mpg$51,800
Volvo V60 250 hp23/34 mpg$40,950
Volvo XC90 250 hp21/30 mpg$49,000

2021 Volvo V90 vs Volvo V60

A legitimate Volvo V90 alternative is the smaller and more affordable V60. Starting at around $10,000 less, the V60 is also a gorgeous wagon with a luxurious interior and the same 2.0-liter turbocharged engine as the T5 V90 with 250 hp. The V60's smaller size and lighter weight mean that it is marginally more efficient, but it also loses some cargo and interior space. Besides this, only the V90 is equipped with the more powerful T6 engine and AWD, so it's the one to go for if either of these factors will be a non-negotiable for you. However, a Polestar Engineered T8 plug-in hybrid version of the V60 is available with a massive 415 hp, although it costs close to $70,000. If you don't need the extra space, the V60 isn't too big of a step down from the V90 in terms of its luxury aura. But given the choice between the two, we'd still grab the keys of the V90 first.

See Volvo V60 Review

2021 Volvo V90 vs Volvo XC90

SUV or wagon? Follow the crowd, and you'll likely end up driving out of the Volvo showroom in an XC90, but should that be your default choice between these two? An immediate advantage in the XC90's favor is that it can seat up to seven passengers, and as long as the 3rd row of seats is folded flat, the XC90 easily has more space for cargo-carrying duties. Equipped with the same base engine, the lighter V90 feels sprightlier by comparison and handles with more confidence, but the T8-engined hybrid XC90 will outperform even the V90 T6 with its 400-hp powertrain. In a mix of city and highway driving, the V90 will manage one or two mpg more than the most efficient XC90. The versatility and space of the XC90 prove why SUVs have exploded in popularity, but if your vehicle won't be loaded to capacity for every outing, the V90 shouldn't be overlooked.

See Volvo XC90 Review

Volvo V90 Popular Comparisons

The most popular competitors of 2021 Volvo V90:

33
Photos
$51,800 - $57,800
Price Range (MSRP)
Volvo V90
Back
To Top