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Stylish 2021 Volvo V90 helps keep the luxury wagon alive Featured

Posted On Sunday, 01 November 2020 00:43 Written by
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Volvo's safety features are unmatched, and even include large animal detection Volvo's safety features are unmatched, and even include large animal detection Photo courtesy of Volvo

There’s a lot to like about a good wagon. Even in an era when the majority of buyers prefer SUV and crossovers, a wagon can still offer you the level of storage space an SUV can, while offering a less bulky frame and easier entry and access to materials. 

Throw in a bit of luxury, and you have the 2021 Volvo V90, a stylish and well-designed wagon that is one of few vehicles keeping the luxury wagon segment alive. (Benz and Audi have some offerings, and Volvo also offers the smaller V60)

I can’t stress enough that these are not your 1970s or 1980s wood-paneled type of wagons either. For one, they don’t have the rear-facing “wayback” seat (though that would be a pretty cool thing for someone to bring back). But these high-end wagons are also now high-tech, beautiful machines that rival anything on the roadways.

I recently spent some time in a 2021 V90, and I’m back with a full report.

The design team at Volvo delivers a strong statement with the V90. Its long, attractive design is both modern and reminiscent of wagons of the past, just the right mix of style and nostalgia.

The inside of the V90 is tremendous in terms of quality, welcoming you with a beautiful mix of wood, leather and aluminum. Seating is truly comfortable, especially with the option for massaging seats up front. You’ll look forward to long car rides. Even the rear seats are cozy in terms of space, moreso than Volvo’s smaller V60 wagon option.

Volvo’s interior designs aren’t as flashy as some of their luxury competition, but they are clean and eye-catching. Understated, but elegant, and very Eurocentric.

Among the features that boost the luxury credentials of the V90 are: Panoramic moonroof with power sunshade, Nappa leather upholstery, heated and ventilated front seats, tailored dashboard, rear sun curtains, 4-zone automatic climate control, and hands-free power tailgate.

A special Climate Package offers: Heated wiper blades, heated rear seats and heated steering wheel. An Advanced Package offers a helpful Head Up Display and 360° Surround View Camera.

The massage feature for the front seats is only $500 to add (and let’s be honest; Who doesn’t need a massage these days?). 

And cargo space is more than adequate, comparable or just slightly less than many crossovers and SUVs that might be considered as alternatives.


The V90 offers a tremendously smooth ride, as should be expected from a luxury wagon. It’s so smooth that you don’t even realize how fast you are going most of the time, which is a good sign of a quality power plant. The V90 is powered by a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder supercharged & turbocharged engine carrying 316 horsepower and 295 Ib.-ft. of torque. This works in conjunction with an 8-Speed automatic transmission, and the V90 features All-Wheel-Drive with Instant Traction.

Acceleration is strong, as the V90 can go 0-to-60 in about 6 seconds. It responds instantly to driver input, and is really a pleasure to drive. If you’re comparing handling vs. what you’ll experience in an SUV or crossover, the V90 wins hands-down.

Drive modes can be selected, as you can choose Eco for a more efficient drive, Comfort for everyday use or Dynamic for a more high-performance experience, depending on your driving situation.

The V90 also features anti-lock braking, hill start assist and stability control. And the overall drive can also be improved by an optional Adaptive Air Suspension, which will run you $1,200.


Safety is an area where Volvo leads the automotive industry. The V90 features all the bells and whistles to keep you safe, including helpful safety systems that pull you back into your lane if you start to drift, and a Pilot Assist system that slows down your vehicle when the car in front of you stops via Adaptive Cruise Control.

The list of safety features is long, but highlights include: LED Headlights, Blind Spot Information System with Steer Assist, Cross Traffic Alert with Autobrake, Collision Avoidance system, Run-off Road Protection & Run-off Road Mitigation, Lane Departure Warning, Lane Keeping Aid, airbags and power child locks on the rear doors.

Volvo’s City Safety technology is the only system available on the market that detects pedestrians, cyclists and large animals such as moose and deer. Also, safety is embedded in the vehicle right down to the structure, due to Volvo’s use of boron steel in the creation of the vehicle.

When it comes to the technology side of the V90, I was less impressed. The vehicle’s tech is centered around the automaker’s Sensus infotainment system and its 9-inch touchscreen.

While most of the tech functions work very well, and you get smartphone integration through Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, the overall design and user-friendliness of the Sensus system is less inviting than rival luxury automakers’ systems.

It’s often laggy, is less intuitive, and everything from the climate controls to the navigation takes longer to figure out than it should. It’s also less accurate when responding to voice commands. Volvo has a very strong overall product, but their infotainment setup and the Sensus system remain the main area they need to improve on when it comes to user experience. 

Audio lovers can also upgrade their V90 to include a Bowers and Wilkins Premium Sound System, but the price is steep at $3,200. The standard Harman Kardon sound system will suffice for most buyers.

In other tech news, you get Volvo On Call which allows for remote start via mobile app, Bluetooth connectivity for audio streaming, and 4 USB ports. 

The official fuel mileage numbers on the V90 are 21 city/32 highway/25 combined. I averaged 24.4 mpg during my time behind the wheel. In a luxury wagon category with limited competition, these are the best numbers you’ll find for fuel mileage.

The final price on the 2021 Volvo V90 I tested was just over $67,000, but the base price starts about $52K.

It comes with a 48-month/50,000 mile limited warranty, 144-month corrosion protection, VOLVO on-call roadside assistance, and complimentary factory scheduled maintenance for the first three years or 36,000 miles.

While luxury wagons remain a niche segment, there is no denying they serve a need than many car buyers who are wary of joining the SUV
bandwagon still have. If you want a stylish, safe and tech-savvy luxury vehicle and you love wagons, there is no better choice than the Volvo V90. 

===== can be found on Twitter @AutoTechReview, or stay updated at the AutoTechReviews Facebook page

Matt Myftiu can be found
on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle: 2021 Volvo V90  
  • Price as tested: $67,640 (starts at $52K) 
  • Best feature: Long, attractive wagon design; stylish interior, safety features, massaging seats
  • Rating: 4 out of five stars  
  • Who will want this vehicle?: Wagon lovers who want advanced safety features paired with high-end European style
Matt M. Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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