2018 Volvo V90 Performance


#6 out of 7 in 2018 Wagons

$32,980 - $39,451

2018 Volvo V90 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2018 Volvo V90 was new.

Scorecard

Performance: 8.2

The 2018 Volvo V90 has about-average performance, with two capable powertrains but a transmission that shifts inefficiently at times. The ride quality is comfortable, and the V90 handles well with precise steering and little body roll. Fuel economy with the twin-turbocharged engine is low for the class.

  • "The V90 T6 Inscription doesn't wow you with performance pedigree, but it's plenty fast when called upon. The steering feels reasonably precise but needlessly heavy. The car's mass also makes it less snappy than its rivals in quick turns and corners. It can still hustle, but it's not a sports car." -- Edmunds
  • "The car is well-balanced, exhibits little in the way of body roll and is decidedly more car-like in its roadholding than traditional SUVs. But that doesn't mean the Cross Country gives up the ability to take on off-road trails or plow through snow. It's the perfect vehicle for winter commuting and back-country exploring." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "A proper wagon ought to drive as well as it hauls, and the V90 delivers in this regard." -- New York Daily News

Acceleration and Power

The 2018 Volvo V90 has two available powertrains. The T5 is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that produces 250 horsepower. The T6 is a turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that makes 316 horsepower. All V90s have an eight-speed automatic transmission. The base model gets an EPA-estimated 24 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway, which is typical for a wagon.

The V90’s twin-charged engine delivers smooth and steady acceleration, with its responsive throttle and plenty of power for cruising on the highway. The supercharger makes up for any potential turbo lag. However, the transmission can be inefficient at shifting, especially in one of the optional driving modes.

  • "Power delivery from the 316-horsepower supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter T6 inline four is smooth. The supercharger covers turbo lag and, like the chassis, the engine puts the power down on this unusual test-car surface seamlessly and without drama, though there's some four-banger roughness at idle. There is no learning curve, no need to compensate for the icy lake, where the throttle pedal is as important as the wheel for steering the car." -- Automobile Magazine
  • "This Volvo is in its element on a fast-moving highway, where its petite engine effortlessly keeps up with traffic while keeping engine revs low and potential fuel efficiency high. Around town, though, the transmission can occasionally lurch between gearshifts, especially in the 'dynamic' drive mode, which reprograms shift points in addition to stiffening steering and suspension feel for a more sporting character." -- New York Daily News
  • "Mechanically, the car is mostly the same as its normal-height brethren. Under the hood is Volvo's T6 twin-charged 2.0-liter four-cylinder, which sends 316 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels. It's a thoroughly responsive little engine, exhibiting almost no lag when pressing the pedal, and plenty of pull when flooring said pedal. You can even hear a satisfying hint of supercharger whine coming from the blower. Power goes through an eight-speed automatic transmission that is generally very smooth in any of the three main drive modes – Eco, Comfort, and Dynamic. However, in Eco and Comfort, it can be sluggish to downshift, and the manual mode is a bit slow to change gears, too." -- Autoblog

Handling and Braking

Front-wheel drive is standard in the V90, and all-wheel drive is optional. An air suspension is also optional. The V90 exhibits balanced handling, with a comfortable ride quality and poised steering. It has good grip around turns and provides decent feedback from the road.

  • "The V90's quiet and comfortable cabin impressed on our test loop in Spain, but after our slightly disappointing experience with the S90 stateside, we wonder how serene the aggressive 20-inch wheel/tire combination available on the top trim levels will feel here. Otherwise, the V90 has the same relaxed demeanor on the road as the S90. There's plenty of precision and grip through the turns, so it can be hustled along a winding two-lane deceptively quickly. But this big Volvo is not trying to be a sports car; its transient responses are deliberate, measured." -- Motor Trend
  • "Ride comfort straddles the firmness of a BMW 5 Series and the balance of a Cadillac CT6, aided by a partial air suspension. Steering feel is communicative but not engaging, and brake feel is progressive without excess sensitivity. Other than these minor quibbles, there's no reason that the Volvo V90 wouldn't make for an ideal companion for a long road trip." -- New York Daily News
  • "Volvo's new V90 shares a similar dynamic nature as the front-drive S90 sedan and benefits from a long wheelbase that imparts a supple ride. The steering is direct, well-controlled and offers precise feedback. The difference from the sedan, as well as the standard V90 wagon that bows later, is its slightly higher ride height -- it's 2.3 inches taller which contributes to 8.3 inches of ground clearance -- as well as the standard all-wheel drive, which figures greatly in its neutral handling characteristics." -- Kelley Blue Book

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