2020 Volvo V90

2020 Volvo V90 Review: Modern-Day Classic

by Morgan Carter

Gone are the days of the chunky old station wagons. In a market brimming with luxury sedans and practical SUVs, the only way for the wagon to survive is to blend the two together and deliver a unique product. This is where the Volvo V90 comes in. The Swedish brand has always had a good reputation for safety and reliability, but now it is making a strong move towards adding style and luxury to this list. Powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder in two states of tune, maxing out at 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque, the V90 might not have the kind of power you'd expect from a wagon, but it's the interior that really impresses. High-quality materials, loads of standard comfort and driver-assistance features, and plenty of space make the cabin feel like a real lounge on wheels. Against stiff premium rivals like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the Volvo V90 holds its own quite well.

Read in this review:

2020 Volvo V90 Changes: 🚙What’s the difference vs 2019 V90?

Very little changes for the V90 in the new year. Pilot Assist with parking assist, front and parallel, is now available, while the R-Design trim gets gloss-black mirror caps and window trimming, with integrated roof rails coming standard. Some changes have been made to the exterior color options too, with four fewer hues to choose from for 2020.

Pros and Cons

  • Elegant Swedish design
  • Spacious, well-appointed cabin
  • Plenty of standard and available tech
  • More car-like handling than an SUV
  • Appealing fuel economy
  • All-wheel-drive limited to pricier models
  • Not as much cargo space as some rivals
  • Turbocharged four-cylinder lacks power and refinement

2020 Volvo V90 Trims

Trim Engine Transmission Drivetrain Price (MSRP)
T5 R-Design
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$51,450
T5 Inscription
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
Front-Wheel Drive
$53,450
T6 R-Design
2.0-liter Twincharged Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$57,450
T6 Inscription
2.0-liter Twincharged Inline-4 Gas
8-Speed Automatic
All-Wheel Drive
$59,450

V90 Exterior

Few vehicles can boast the kind of refined good looks of the Volvo V90. The manufacturer's distinct style translates very well to the lengthened body of a wagon, creating a vehicle that looks like it's worth its premium price tag. Every V90 rides on 19-inch wheels as standard, although larger 20-inch wheels are available. LED headlights with signature Thor's Hammer daytime running lights come standard, too, along with LED fog lights. The R-Design assumes a more athletic stance when compared to the more stately Inscription trim. All the exterior elements now come trimmed in gloss-black, including the grille, mirror caps, and window trims. In contrast, the Inscription gets a chrome-accented grille with body-color mirror caps.

2020 Volvo V90 Front View CarBuzz
2020 Volvo V90 Rear View CarBuzz
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Dimensions

Wagons are by no means small cars, and the V90 proves as much with an impressive length of 194.3 inches, while the 115.8-inch wheelbase helps to create a spacious and comfortable cabin for the passengers. The wagon isn't overly tall, however, standing only 58.1 inches high. The V90 is also relatively slim for the wagon style, measuring 79.5 inches wide. The lightest of the models are those equipped with the T5 engine, weighing in at 3,901 lbs, while the T6 engine can push the weight of the wagon up to 4,162 lbs on the heaviest model.

  • Length 194.3 in
  • Wheelbase 115.8 in
  • Height 58.1 in
  • Max Width 74.0 in
  • Front Width 63.7 in
  • Rear Width 63.7 in

Exterior Colors

A total of twelve colors are available to the V90, although there are some restrictions on their application. Ice White is offered on both trims at no additional cost, while the Inscription gets an additional free choice in the form of Black Stone. The rest of the palette is comprised of metallic paints that cost an extra $645. Both trims get access to Bright Silver, Crystal White, Onyx Black, Osmium Grey, and Savile Grey. Exclusive to the R-Design is Bursting Blue, while the Inscription can be dressed in Denim Blue, Pine Grey, Mussel Blue, or Maple Brown.

  • Ice White
  • Crystal White Pearl Metallic
  • Savile Grey Metallic
  • Bright Silver Metallic
  • Osmium Grey Metallic
  • Onyx Black Metallic
  • Bursting Blue Metallic
  • Black Stone
  • Mussel Blue Metallic
  • Maple Brown Metallic
  • Denim Blue Metallic
  • Pine Grey Metallic

V90 Performance

While there may only be one engine available to the V90, it can be configured in one of two ways. In the standard T5 configuration, the turbocharged four-cylinder develops 250 hp and 258 lb-ft for the front wheels, giving the wagon pretty modest performance. It accelerates relatively well, but it lacks the kick of V6-powered rivals. To make up for this, the engine is available in the T6 configuration, which sees a supercharger added to the standard turbocharger, increasing output to 316 hp and 295 lb-ft. The eight-speed automatic gearbox remains unchanged, but the drivetrain is swapped out for an all-wheel variant. In this stronger guise, the V90 is quite a bit quicker, even with the added weight of the T6 powertrain and AWD. While it can't quite compete with the likes of the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon, the Volvo still gets a respectable 0-60 mph sprint time of under six seconds, if only just.

2020 Volvo V90 Rear Angle View CarBuzz
2020 Volvo V90 Open Hood CarBuzz
2020 Volvo V90 Powerplant CarBuzz

Engine and Transmission

In its standard T5 configuration, the 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine comes mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox that directs the 250 hp and 258 lb-ft to the front wheels only. This gives the wagon enough power to get around town, but it doesn't feel quite strong enough to deliver the kind of fun that the V90's impressive handling could deliver. For that extra bit of oomph, you'll need to trade up to the T6 configuration. In this guise, the four-cylinder engine adds a supercharger to develop 316 hp and 295 lb-ft for all four wheels. This more potent set-up makes the V90 feel far more energetic, despite the extra weight. Merging and passing on the highway is a lot easier with the T6 powertrain, and getting around town feels effortless. In either configuration, the V90 gets an Aisin-sourced eight-speed automatic gearbox. While there may be the occasional clumsy gear shift, the transmission is generally smooth, especially during acceleration. The stop-start function on the engine can be a bit lazy, though.

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

Handling and Driving Impressions

The V90 is remarkably engaging to drive, despite its more laidback appearance and cushy interior. Riding closer to the ground and not standing nearly as tall as an SUV, the wagon offers far better handling dynamics. Steering is accurate if a bit light, though the lack of feedback is a bit disappointing. Luckily, a choice of Comfort or Dynamic driving modes helps to improve immersion. Unfortunately, all this impressive handling comes at the cost of comfort, with the ride feeling a bit stiff for a more premium vehicle. The available rear air suspension helps here, but it can only be paired with the T6 powertrain, which offers even worse ride quality than the T5. The Volvo V90 may be a fun driver, but it performs best when treated as a more luxurious cruiser. Set to Comfort mode, it rolls down the highway with little fuss, once you get used to the somewhat heavy-handed driver-assistance features, that is.

V90 Gas Mileage

By sticking with a four-cylinder engine, albeit a turbocharged one, instead of the larger V6s or V8s found in some rivals, the Volvo V90 is able to boast pretty attractive fuel consumption figures. With the slightly lower-output T5 powertrain, the wagon gets an EPA-estimated 22/33/26 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles. Swapping to the T6 engine and its all-wheel drivetrain sees these figures take a bit of a hit, dropping to 21/31/25 mpg. To make up for this, the T6 gets a larger 15.9-gallon tank, as opposed to the T5's 14.5-gallon tank. Thanks to this, there is very little difference between each powertrain's estimated range, with the T6 getting around 398 miles to a tank, while the T5 gets around 377 miles.

  • Fuel Tank Capacity
    15.9 Gallons
  • Fuel Economy
    City/Hwy: 22/33 mpg
* 2020 Volvo V90 T5 R-Design FWD

V90 Interior

The interior of the V90 certainly makes it seem worth the premium price tag, with plenty of upscale materials, intricate trimming, and oodles of style present throughout. The spacious cabin comes upholstered in leather as standard, with power front seats, available heating and cooling, and a choice of standard or sports seats depending on the trim level. The infotainment suite boasts a large nine-inch display that is easy to navigate and is well-equipped for all your needs. The rest of the controls follow the same ergonomic design philosophy. Naturally, there is plenty of passenger space to spare, but the trunk isn't as cavernous as you'd expect from a wagon, although it's still more than practical for most needs. All in all, the cabin of the V90 is a very comfortable place to spend long drives.

2020 Volvo V90 Infotainment System CarBuzz
2020 Volvo V90 Infotainment Setup CarBuzz
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Seating and Interior Space

You'll never be left wanting for space inside the V90, whether you're up front or in the back. Both trim levels offer power-adjustable front seats with standard heating, but the Inscription also offers cooling. Similarly, the R-Design gets sport seats while the Inscription gets cozier seats with power seat cushion extensions and adjustable side supports. Rear passengers can be spoiled with heated seats, too. Regardless of all the extra comfort features available, there is more than enough space in the front and back for even the tallest adults, and the standard panoramic sunroof makes the cabin feel even roomier.

  • 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

Interior Colors and Materials

All the materials used throughout the interior of the Volvo are of the highest quality. Very little hard plastic makes its way into view, with almost every surface wrapped in soft-touch leather. The R-Design comes standard with Nubuck and Nappa leather upholstery, although the only color choice offered is Charcoal. The Inscription presents buyers with a little more variety. The Perforated Nappa leather upholstery within the more premium model can be had in Blond, Amber, Maroon, or the standard Charcoal. The interior of the R-Design is trimmed with aluminum inlays, while the Inscription gets genuine wood inlays.

V90 Trunk and Cargo Space

Wagons are renowned for their practicality, rivaling the ever-popular SUV segment. However, the V90 doesn't quite live up to this reputation. With only 25.5 cubic feet of space available behind the rear seats, the V90 isn't quite as practical as the XC60 bearing the same logo. Nevertheless, there is more than enough space for most daily requirements, easily taking a week's worth of groceries or luggage for a weekend away. This space can be more than doubled to 53.9 cubic feet by folding down the rear seats in a 60/40 split. While this isn't as capacious as Mercedes' wagon, it allows the Volvo to manage much bigger loads at the cost of passenger space.

When it comes to small-item storage around the cabin, the V90 delivers in traditional wagon style. There is a large and spacious storage bin under the center armrest, and the available cupholders are quite large. The door pockets are all spacious, but passengers in the rear don't get the same large cupholders or cubby, instead getting smaller variants.

2020 Volvo V90 Maximum Cargo Space CarBuzz
2020 Volvo V90 Trunk Space CarBuzz
2020 Volvo V90 Cargo Room CarBuzz

V90 Infotainment and Features

Features

Even in its most basic guise, the V90 comes packed to the brim with features. The most basic of these are keyless entry, push-button start, quad-zone climate control, a panoramic sunroof, adaptive cruise control, and hands-free power liftgate. Appointed with plush leather, the front seats are power-adjustable with heating functions, while ventilation is added on the Inscription. Heating can also be added to the rear seats. The safety suite is quite a bit more elaborate, with a 12.3-inch driver information display coming standard alongside blind-spot monitoring, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, rear cross-traffic alert, rear parking sensors, a rearview camera, rear cross-traffic alert, and forward collision avoidance. A surround-view camera and a head-up display can be added, too, along with an automated parking system. Two 12-volt power outlets come standard, although more can be added.

Infotainment

Volvo's Sensus Connect infotainment suite may not be the most impressive setup on the market, but it's comprehensive and easy to use. The nine-inch display comes programmed with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility, as well as SiriusXM, HD Radio, and navigation. The standard sound system is a 14-speaker Harman Kardon set-up, although this can be upgraded to a 15-speaker Bowers and Wilkins premium sound system. A pair of USB connections help to keep your devices charged, while an auxiliary audio input jack allows you to connect an audio streaming device directly.

V90 Problems and Reliability

While there may not be an official dependability rating for the V90 from J.D.Power, there have been very few complaints lodged against the wagon with the NHTSA. However, a couple of recalls over the last few years do blemish its otherwise pristine record. Reasons for these recalls included the automatic emergency braking not engaging and a problem with the telematics that prevented it from reporting its GPS location after a crash. The Volvo also doesn't get the most inspiring warranty package, with both the limited and powertrain warranties being valid for 50,000 miles/48 months. However, 36,000 miles/36 months of complimentary maintenance are offered.

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

As a relatively low-volume luxury vehicle, the V90 hasn't been subjected to proper crash testing by the NHTSA or IIHS. However, it is possible to hypothesize its ratings by looking at how the S90, on which the V90 is based, is rated. The S90 received high scores from the IIHS overall.

Key Safety Features

While it may be lacking an official safety rating, the Volvo V90 certainly isn't lacking when it comes to safety features. A rearview camera, ABS, stability control, and six airbags come standard, including dual front, front side, and side curtain airbags. Each model also comes standard with blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, lane keep assist, lane departure warning, driver attention assist, forward collision avoidance, and rear collision detection. Full LED headlights and fog lights come standard, while a surround-view camera and automated parking functions are available.

Verdict: 🏁Is the 2020 Volvo V90 a good car?

Station wagons are a blast from the past, as crossover SUVs have muscled the classic American staple out of the market. With very few genuine wagons remaining, the V90 stands out for its unique and handsome styling and premium interior. Not quite as flashy as some pricier rivals like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, the Volvo still delivers an enjoyable driving experience, whether you're in the pilot's seat or lounging in the spacious rear seats. True, the V90 isn't quite as practical as an SUV, or even the E-Class, with a little less standard trunk space, but it makes up for it with impressive mileage figures and engaging handling dynamics. When it comes to a daily driver that offers an excellent blend of style, practicality, and fun, the Volvo V90 is hard to beat, and you definitely give it a look if you find yourself hauling the family around town or over long trips on a regular basis.

🚘What's the Price of the 2020 Volvo V90?

There has been only a very modest price increase across the Volvo V90 range for 2020, as there have been no comprehensive changes made for the new year. Equipped with the standard T5 engine, the R-Design trim opens the board at $51,450, while the Inscription ups the price to $54,200. Swapping out the T5 for the T6 powertrain sees the R-Design's starting price go up to $57,450, while the Inscription only adds $2,000 in this configuration. Aside from Front Ice White or Black Stone, all paint options come with a $645 surcharge, so be sure to take that into account when budgeting. These prices don't include tax, registration, licensing, incentives, or Volvo's $995 destination charge.

2020 Volvo V90 Models

Two trim levels in four configurations make up the Volvo V90 range. Both the R-Design or Inscription trims can be equipped with a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder. In T5 configuration, the engine develops 250 hp and 258 lb-ft, directed to the front wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox. In T6 configuration, the engine gets a supercharger, too, increasing outputs to 316 hp and 295 lb-ft. This stronger powertrain keeps the same transmission but comes paired with an all-wheel drivetrain.

While many features, such as 19-inch alloy wheels, full LED exterior lights, quad-zone climate control, adaptive cruise control, and leather-appointed, power-adjustable seats come standard, the R-Design and Inscription are distinctly different. Before noting how they differ, it should be mentioned that each model also gets a nine-inch infotainment display with smartphone integration and a 14-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, as well as a host of driver-assistance features, such as forward collision avoidance, lane keep assist, blind-spot monitoring, and rear cross-traffic alert.

The R-Design has a more athletic aesthetic, with a firmer, sport-tuned suspension to match. It also gets a sports steering wheel and sport seats, with paddle shifters mounted to the steering wheel. The seats are upholstered in Nubuck and Nappa leather, and the interior is trimmed in aluminum.

The Inscription opts for a more genuinely opulent design philosophy. The seats are plusher than the sports seats on the R-Design, and the pure Nappa leather is available in more colors. There are also genuine wood inlays around the interior, and the front seats offer heating and ventilation as standard.

See All 2020 Volvo V90 Trims and Specs

Additional Packages

The V90 may be extremely well-equipped right off the showroom floor, but that doesn't mean it puts everything on display without a little coaxing. A number of packages are available to unlock the true range of features on the Volvo. Among these, the Advanced Package ($2,450) is quite notable, adding a head-up display, a surround-view camera, front parking sensors, automated parking, and active bending functions for the LED headlights. The R-Design can also get heated seats, along with a heated steering wheel, for $750. For the same price, the Inscription can get heated rear seats. A number of standalone features are available, too. Among these, Park Assist Pilot can be added for $200, while the surround-view camera asks for an additional $900. The T6 engine offers an active rear air suspension for $1,200, while every model can be outfitted with the 15-speaker premium Bowers and Wilkins sound system for $3,200.

🚗What Volvo V90 Model Should I Buy?

The all-wheel drivetrain can only be paired with the pricier T6 engine, so if you really need the extra control for poor road or weather conditions, you won't be able to settle for the standard powertrain. However, if you don't need the extra security of all-wheel-drive, the standard T5 engine is more than strong enough to get the V90 around. The R-Design may look a bit bolder than the Inscription trim, but the V90 doesn't really benefit from the stiffer suspension or sportier interior elements. The extra comfort features inside the Inscription far better suit the Volvo's character. The available Park Assist Pilot will appeal to those who want an easier time parking the large wagon, but the only add-on you really shouldn't pass up on is the 15-speaker Bowers and Wilkins sound system.

Check out other Volvo V90 Styles

2020 Volvo V90 Comparisons

Volvo V60 CarBuzz
Volvo XC90
CompetitorHorsepowerMPGPrice (MSRP)
Volvo V90250 hp22/33 mpg$51,450
Volvo V60 250 hp23/34 mpg$39,650
Volvo XC90 250 hp21/30 mpg$48,350

2020 Volvo V90 vs Volvo V60

The smaller sibling to the V90, the Volvo V60 is still a wagon in the traditional sense. However, in typical hand-me-down fashion, the little brother doesn't get access to the more powerful supercharged T6 engine. It can be had as the potent T8 Polestar Engineered model, though. Nevertheless, the base T5 under the hood of the V60 doesn't have as much weight to lug around, so it gets slightly better performance figures and a better fuel economy of 22/33/26 mpg. Following the same big brother/little brother analogy, the V60 doesn't get quite the same level of premium interior. Naturally, the smaller size of the V60 means there isn't as much passenger space to go around and the trunk is slightly smaller at 23.2 cubic feet. At the end of the day, the V60 is simply a smaller, cheaper version of V90. However, all this extra everything comes at an extra cost, too. The entry-level V60 will cost you $11,800 less than the V90 - $6,000 if you compare R-Design models. Still, if price isn't a primary factor in your decision-making, the Volvo V90 is better in every way.

See Volvo V60 Review

2020 Volvo V90 vs Volvo XC90

In a sense, the Volvo XC90 is the SUV version of the V90. Similarly sized in terms of length and width, it also gets the same two powertrain options as the wagon. However, the SUV is heavier and a bit more unwieldy, lacking the same sub-six-second sprint time as the V90. It also doesn't handle quite as well, with standard crossover-style dynamics as opposed to the more car-like handling of the wagon. In most other ways, the XC90 is very much alike to the V90. The interior can be dressed in the same plush Nappa leather upholstery and there is plenty of space for passengers in the first two rows of seats. Unlike the V90, though, the SUV can seat up to seven, thanks to the third row of seats. However, this comes at the cost of standard trunk space, with only 15.8 cubic feet on offer behind the third-row. Compare the space behind the second row, though, and the XC90 comes out well in the lead, with 41.8 cubic feet. In terms of safety and comfort features, the two vehicles are identical, so what it really comes down to is how much space you need. The V90 wagon can seat five in excellent comfort and still manage a decent amount of cargo, while the XC90 can seat up to two more in decent comfort with excellent cargo space. If you want to rival the luxury of the V90, the XC90 can be had with second-row captain's chairs, although this reduces overall capacity to four.

See Volvo XC90 Review

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