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2021 Volvo V90 Review

The 2021 Volvo V90 offers a refined interior, posh seating, and a powerful optional engine, but subpar marks for cargo space, predicted reliability, and infotainment keep it in the bottom half of the wagon class.

Pros & Cons

  • Elegant interior
  • Long list of features
  • Potent optional twincharged engine
  • Supple and roomy seats
  • Below-average predicted reliability rating
  • Subpar cargo space
  • High price

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Volvo V90's #4 ranking is based on its score within the Wagons category. Currently the Volvo V90 has a score of 7.7 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 21 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

7.7

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 9.1
Performance: 7.3
Interior: 8.5
Safety:
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Volvo V90?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Volvo V90 a Good Wagon?

Despite its ranking, the V90 is a fine car. The interior pampers occupants with first-class materials, spacious and comfortable seating, and a long list of features. From behind the wheel, the experience is equally attractive. The V90 drives like a big luxury car should, with composed handling and an agreeable ride. An optional turbocharged and supercharged engine gets the job done with gusto.

This Volvo's downsides are most apparent when measured against the competition. Cargo volume is a little disappointing for a wagon, and the base engine has merely adequate power. Furthermore, the infotainment system can be overly convoluted. A below-average predicted reliability rating also hampers the V90's overall score.

Why You Can Trust Us: 21 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 21 Volvo V90 reviews – along with reliability ratings, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2021 V90 is the right new car for you.

This 2021 V90 review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2018.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Volvo V90?

The V90 is a decent value proposition, thanks to an extensive list of features and a base price of around $52,000. However, you may be better off spending less money on the cavernous and upscale Subaru Outback. It also might be worth stretching your budget to check out the refreshed Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon.

Compare the V90, Outback, and E-Class »

2020 vs. 2021 Volvo V90: What’s the Difference?

Aside from minor cosmetic changes to the exterior, there are no major differences between the 2021 and 2020 Volvo V90.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 V90 »

Here are the key changes for the Volvo V90 over its existence:

  • 2018: all-new model
  • 2019: V90 Cross Country Ocean Race trim introduced
  • 2020: V90 Cross Country Ocean Race trim discontinued
  • 2021: slight exterior design changes

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 V90, 2019 V90, and 2020 V90 reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on vehicles like a new Volvo V90.

How Much Does the Volvo V90 Cost?

The 2021 Volvo V90 starts at $51,800. The standard powertrain features a turbocharged four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive. Models boasting a turbocharged and supercharged engine with all-wheel drive start at $54,900. A Volvo V90 with most features added can cost around $67,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Volvo dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Volvo deals page.

Volvo V90 Versus the Competition

Volvo V90 vs. Subaru Outback

The Subaru Outback is a wagon that offers a starting price that’s about half that of the V90 while delivering a lot more cargo volume and several extra inches of rear legroom. This Subaru’s top trim retails for around $40,000 and rivals many luxury cars with its interior quality. The Outback and V90 have comparable performance, with adequate base engines, stronger available engines, and agreeable ride and handling. Because the Subaru rates a little better for predicted reliability, it's a smarter choice than the Volvo.

Compare the V90 and Outback »

Volvo V90 vs. Mercedes-Benz E-Class

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class is a luxury midsize car that's available in several body styles: wagon, sedan, coupe, and convertible. For this comparison, we focus on the wagon. The E-Class wagon comes standard with a 362-horsepower engine, all-wheel drive, sleek infotainment features, and a seven-person capacity courtesy of two rear-facing jump seats. It also has several more cubic feet of cargo space than the V90. If the powerful base engine isn’t enough for you, there’s a high-performance, 603-horsepower AMG E 63 S wagon available, but it’s more than double the price of a base model V90. The Volvo can’t match the Benz’s performance, but its cabin is more impressive. Choosing between these two will likely come down to which you value more: the performance of the Mercedes or the interior quality of the Volvo.

Compare the V90 and E-Class »

Compare the V90, Outback, and E-Class »

V90 Interior: Lap of Luxury

V90 Cargo Space

The Volvo V90 doesn't offer as much cargo room as other wagons, but it's still plenty spacious. You have sufficient room for several suitcases or large shopping bags. A hands-free power liftgate that you activate by waving your foot under the rear bumper (when you have the proximity key with you) adds a measure of convenience.

Behind the V90's second row is 19.8 cubic feet of space. The rear seats fold almost completely flat to give you a cargo area of 53.9 cubic feet. By comparison, the Subaru Outback leads the class with 32.5 cubic feet past the second row and a maximum volume of 75.7 cubic feet.

The luxury Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon serves up 35 cubic feet of space with its second-row seats in place and 64 cubic feet with them folded.

How Many People Does the V90 Seat?

The Volvo V90 seats five people, and there really isn't a bad place to sit. The driver and front passenger have plenty of room, and the seats are all-day comfortable. You can easily find a relaxing position with plenty of adjustments. Also, you might want to consider upgrading the seats with ventilation, a massaging function, or extra power adjustments for the side bolsters and under-thigh cushions. The sporty V90 R-Design has extra side bolstering on the front seats for better support.

This wagon's cabin feels open and airy, partly due to a standard panoramic sunroof. There's enough rear legroom for taller passengers to ride comfortably as well.

V90 and Child Car Seats

The V90 has two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the rear outboard seats.

V90 Interior Quality

Like nearly all other Volvo models, the V90's interior atmosphere is swanky. From supple Nappa leather seats to real wood and aluminum trim pieces, this car is dressed to the nines.

V90 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The V90's vertically oriented 9-inch touch screen is the hub for most controls. Functionality is mixed at best. You might experience some lagging when switching between tasks, but the graphics look crisp.

There are few hard buttons on the center stack – apart from a volume knob, audio skip controls, and window defrosters – so you'll have to use the touch screen to adjust the temperature and seat functions. Some options are hidden deeper within multiple menus. Once you learn where most things are, this infotainment system is fairly user-friendly.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 9-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a 14-speaker Harman Kardon stereo, Bluetooth, navigation, satellite radio, voice recognition, and wireless device charging
  • Available infotainment features: a 19-speaker Bowers & Wilkins premium stereo
  • Additional standard features: a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a panoramic sunroof, quad-zone automatic climate control, a universal garage door opener, proximity keyless entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a cooled glove box
  • Other available features: a cabin air filtration system

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

V90 Performance: T'Winning

V90 Engine

The Volvo V90 comes standard with a 250-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine. It proves fine for moving the V90 quickly from a stop, but it lacks enthusiasm. For more responsive power, especially accelerating up to and at higher speeds, look to the V90's optional turbocharged and supercharged engine. With 316 horsepower, this twin-charged offering packs more of a punch and is better suited to the car.

These engines also differ in their drivetrains: The base mill only comes with front-wheel drive, while the optional engine only dances with all-wheel drive (AWD).

Both engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission that works just fine. It generally operates smoothly through gears, but it can occasionally miss or hesitate on shifts.

V90 Gas Mileage

The 2021 V90 with its standard powertrain gets an EPA-estimated 22 mpg in the city and 33 mpg on the highway. Those estimates are about average for the wagon class.

Fuel economy with the optional engine is estimated at 21 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. The V90 Cross Country returns 20/30 mpg city/highway.

V90 Ride and Handling

The V90 is a well-balanced cruiser, with relatively composed handling and a comfortable ride, though it can be too stiff at times. The V90 Cross Country is a somewhat off-road-oriented model. It has 8.3 inches of ground clearance, a gain of a few inches over the more sedanlike regular V90. With this model you'll also get an off-road drive mode and hill descent control.

Read more about performance »

V90 Reliability

Is the Volvo V90 Reliable?

The 2021 Volvo V90 has a below-average predicted reliability rating of 2.5 out of five.

Volvo V90 Warranty

Volvo covers the V90 with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty.

Read more about reliability »

V90 Safety

V90 Crash Test Results

Neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has crash tested the 2021 V90.

V90 Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Adaptive headlights
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Pilot Assist active driving system
  • Oncoming collision mitigation
  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Rearview camera
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers

Available advanced safety features:

  • Head-up display
  • Automatic parking assist
  • Surround-view parking camera system

Read more about safety »

V90 Dimensions and Weight

The V90 is 16.2 feet long, and its curb weight ranges from 3,970 to 4,213 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Volvo V90 Built?

Volvo builds the 2021 V90 in Sweden.

Which Volvo V90 Model Is Right for Me?

The 2021 Volvo V90 is available in R-Design and Inscription trims. The standard powertrain, called T5, is a 250-horsepower turbocharged engine and front-wheel drive. The optional T6 powertrain is a 316-horsepower turbocharged and supercharged engine paired with all-wheel drive. Volvo also offers the V90 Cross Country, which comes standard with the T6 powertrain. All models come with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Those who want satisfying acceleration should opt for the T6 engine. The R-Design and Inscription trims have the same prices and differ only in a few appearance features and offered amenities. The Cross Country is a good way to get the more powerful engine for less money.

Volvo V90 R-Design

The 2021 Volvo V90 R-Design starts at $51,800 with the base T5 front-wheel powertrain, and it’s $57,800 for the T6 setup. Standard features include a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a hands-free power liftgate, a panoramic sunroof, quad-zone automatic climate control, Nappa leather upholstery, and power-adjustable and heated front seats with memory settings.

The V90 also comes with a sport-tuned chassis, a universal garage door opener, rear-window sunshades, proximity keyless entry, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a cooled glove box, and a 9-inch touch-screen infotainment system with Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, a Wi-Fi hot spot, a 14-speaker Harman Kardon stereo, Bluetooth, navigation, satellite radio, voice recognition, and wireless device charging.

The V90's standard driver assistance features are adaptive headlights, adaptive cruise control, the Pilot Assist active driving system, oncoming collision mitigation, forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

The Climate package costs $750 and adds heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and heated windshield washers. The $1,500 Advanced package includes a head-up display and a surround-view parking camera system.

Individual options include a 19-speaker Bowers & Wilkins premium stereo ($3,200), automatic parking assist ($200), and a cabin air filtration system ($250). An adaptive air suspension ($1,200) is only offered in T6 models.

Volvo V90 Inscription

The V90 Inscription substitutes a sport chassis for a regular chassis and adds power-adjustable front-seat side bolsters and ventilated front seats. Massaging front seats are optional for $500.

Volvo V90 Cross Country

The V90 Cross Country comes standard with the T6 powertrain and starts at $54,900. It features a higher ride height, hill descent control, and an additional off-road drive mode. It lacks some of the amenities of the other trims, but they can be added back as options. One example is Nappa leather upholstery for $2,800.

The optional Lounge package for the Cross Country is $2,800, and it includes quad-zone automatic climate control, a cooled glove box, rear-window sunshades, passenger-seat memory settings, and massaging front seats with power-adjustable lumbar settings.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Volvo dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Volvo deals page.

See 2021 Volvo V90 specs and trims »

The Final Call

The 2021 Volvo V90 stacks up well against other wagons. Its elegant cabin and pampering seats make it worthy of consideration – if you can stomach its relatively high price. However, if you prioritize ample cargo space or good predicted reliability, you'll want to look elsewhere.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The V90 siblings share the same platform as the S90 sedan and the XC90 SUV, both excellent vehicles. They all play their part in the resurgence of Volvo as a serious competitor against marques like Audi and Mercedes-Benz. And there’s a lot of standard equipment. The V90 range stands out as something different in the luxury car world." -- Autotrader
  • "Looking for something to break out of the cookie-cutter SUV mold but still need space for family and cargo? We suggest the 2021 Volvo V90: It's beautiful, practical, fuel efficient, and luxurious—it really is the whole package." -- Car and Driver
  • "The 2021 Volvo V90 Cross Country and 2021 V90 luxury midsize wagons have a certain appeal that’s admittedly not broad, but those people who 'get it' are onto something special." -- Kelley Blue Book
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