The slightly staid reputation of Volvo cars has been with us for years. It has always been a good car and one of the safest around but never really blew my skirt up - until now. I have banged on ad nauseam about the quality of German cars and, in all likelihood, will continue to do so as they are remarkable in their build quality, drive characteristics and residual value and they have had almost every sector to themselves - until now.
This new estate is a very handsome car from just about every angle. The interior is striking in that they have not attempted to copy Stuttgart but have trodden their own path, and an excellent path it is too. Somehow, it is very Scandinavian although l am not sure what that means but it is. It is all well laid out, clean and simple and everything works as you would expect and without the BMW tendency to over-complicate everything to the point that you need a 2.1 degree to work it all out.
The centre screen is as big as a tablet and easy to operate, the sound system can rattle the windows and everything is at your fingertips. The seats are excellent and Volvo are getting a reputation for such and as this is where your backside is placed for hours on end, they really should be good. I had the R-Design which offers great side bolsters to the seats and a firmer ride that some might not like but then there is the optional air suspension that retains the sportier drive but softens up the rear end.
Then there is the boot that the marque is well-known for and here it does not disappoint. It is huge and although not the largest on the market due to the sweeping roof line, it is more than enough for most. If you need more, get a van.
There is a huge amount of passenger space with great rear legroom making this a tremendous long-distance tourer for all the family.
The drive is excellent and with AWD as standard, it is a go anywhere machine and as l had the D5 engine, it gives plenty of poke across the range and, although l am a speed freak, l was happy through the week it was in my hands. Volvo have a system called Power Pulse that increases low range response and negates turbo lag by blowing compressed air from a cylinder into the turbo. It works well and l didn’t notice any lag and the pick up is excellent.
Since the Chinese assumed control of the company via Geely, a vast multinational conglomerate, they have poured billions into R&D and it shows in the quality of the cars and their sales. In the UK alone, Volvo sold 50,000 cars in 2016 and over half million around the world.
The are various model options such as the entry Momentum, R-Design, Inscription and the rugged Cross Country. The Momentum starts at only £35,865.00 which is a lot of bang for the buck up to the Cross Country Pro at £50,555.00.
My R-Design came with a 2.0-litre engine pumping out 190 bhp and although the 8.2 second 0-60 does not sound overly impressive, you have to consider that you are hauling around a small house and, in that regard, it is corking.
Achtung, Achtung - the Swedes are coming - well, the Chinese actually but you get the point.
Model tested: V90 D4 R-Design
Engine: 2.0-litre 8-speed
Power: 190 bhp
Performance: 0-60mph 8.2 seconds
Top speed: 140 mph
Economy: 62.8 mpg combined
Price from: £35,865.00
As tested: £44,465.00