Remember the 1980s and 1990s? I sure do. Things were just a little better then. Some would say the cars were better than too. That’s debatable. But if there’s one style of car that epitomizes that time it’s the station wagon.
There was nothing chic or enjoyable about the old family station wagon, but they took you where you needed to go. One automaker specifically seemed to lead the way in station wagons and that was Volvo.
Fast forward to 2022 and Volvo still makes some of the best “station wagons” out there (we call them crossovers now). But this week I drove the 2022 Volvo V90 which feels like such a throwback to the ‘90s but is chock full of modern flare, elegant styling and current hybrid technology.
On looks, the profile of the V90 is quite familiar. Sure it’s technically a crossover, but there’s only a few competitors with this same look and profile (Subaru being one of them). The 2022 V90 really does stand out in the crowd by holding onto nostalgia. What’s wrong with station wagon looks? Nothing if they have the elegant exterior, distinctive styling and luxurious flare this Volvo has. From both the front and the back it has a lot of distinctive characteristics, including the awesome hammer-looking headlamps.
A bit of a rear spoiler shows sportiness and that hammer-shape is continued on the taillights. Well done all around to the Volvo design team for blending the past with the future and creating a unique, modern station wagon. In this world of gelatinous non-descript crossovers, the Volvo V90 breaks that stereotype.
New for this model year is a very mild hybrid system added to the 2.0-liter turbocharged engine. It’s such a subtle hybrid you don’t even notice it’s there, although it does add around 13 additional horsepower to the engine which already has 295 horsepower. So that extra little giddyup is appreciated.
And the 48V hybrid system makes it more fuel efficient, so that is a win-win with more power, but better fuel economy. The 8-speed automatic transmission is adequate but had a few peculiar shifting habits in certain gears. As you’d expect from a Volvo, all-wheel drive is standard.
Volvo’s double wishbone suspension plus that stealthy hybrid boost makes the V90 one quiet, refined station wagon.
Thanks to the little hybrid power and the start/stop feature, the fuel economy is improved this model year. The Volvo V90 is rated at 22 mpg/city and 29 mpg/highway. I was really hoping to see it surpass 30 mpg and I was only able to average around 25 mpg.
There’s nothing “nostalgic” about the interior of the 2022 V90. This is a thoroughly modern interior with a load of luxurious touchpoints. It’s hard to categorize Volvo as a luxury brand, although I do, and in the V90 it earns that billing with a cabin that has plenty of incredible features and elegant design.
The interior is pristine and high class. Name any of the luxury brands and they can’t offer a better interior. From the supple seats and materials to the artistic-feeling accent features, the V90 is not your father’s station wagon, that’s for sure.
Massaging cooled and heated front seats are always appreciated. The rear seats are comfortable too and also are heated. Legroom and headroom are outstanding. In fact, the cavernous back seat provides so much legroom, that the cargo room takes a hit.
There’s only 25.2 cubic feet of space behind the rear seats. That may seem like a lot, but for this segment it’s below standard. The rear seats can be folded flat for 53.9 cubic feet of space.
Volvo’s infotainment system is not very intuitive. It has a European feel which means it has plenty of cool gadgets and looks beautiful but lacks intuition. The sound system is outstanding, and once you overcome the learning curve, the infotainment system and 12.3 touchscreen become less cumbersome.
Volvo offers the V90 in one trim only. That’s a good thing for the consumer. Then they offer a variety features/packages you can add on based upon your needs. Starting MSRP is $55,200. My tester had several packages added including the Lounge Package (includes the massaging seats), Advanced Package, alloy wheels and the Bowers and Wilkins premium sound system. As such, the final price was $68,400. Like many other European vehicles, you can get really pricey, really quick with the a la cart packages.
Any time I drive a Volvo, especially a station wagon version, I feel a little nostalgic. Volvo made high-quality “family” vehicles back in the day. They were high on safety and lower on the niceties. But now they have all the niceties and all the looks of a luxury brand. Forget nostalgia, this is the future.