2019 Volvo V90 Performance

#5 out of 6 in 2019 Wagons

$51,450 - $60,500

2019 Volvo V90 Performance Review

Note: This performance review was created when the 2019 Volvo V90 was new.


Performance: 7.8

The 2019 Volvo V90 delivers the solid performance of a proper wagon: Its stable handling never dispenses surprises, the ride is comfortable enough for long car trips, and grip is excellent on twisty or snowy roads. There are two energetic engines to choose from, and the base powertrain has one of the best highway gas mileage ratings in the class. Just don't expect much in the way of excitement from this luxury car.

  • "The V90 provides ample oomph for the daily commute along with predictable and confident stopping power. A soft ride makes for somewhat floaty handling, but you'd only notice if you're trying to set a lap record. This smooth-operating luxury wagon delivers the driving experience you'd expect." -- Edmunds
  • "The V90 felt comfortable, quiet, refined, and responsive. The T6 we drove had plenty of power and the immediate responsiveness we expect from a supercharged engine." -- Car and Driver (2018)
  • "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 (2017)

Acceleration and Power

The V90 has no problem getting up to speed on the highway, no matter which engine it comes with. Though this Volvo isn't a speed demon, most drivers will be satisfied with its power curve. The eight-speed automatic transmission is polished, for the most part, but sometimes struggles to shift quickly.

Under the hood of the base V90 is a 250-horsepower turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Labeled the T5 engine, it gets typical gas mileage in the city for a wagon, at 23 mpg. Its highway rating of 35 mpg is one of the best in the class.

The T6 engine is available in every V90 model and comes standard in the Cross Country Volvo Ocean Race. Though it is the same size as the T5, the addition of a supercharger gives this twin-charged engine the ability to produce 316 horsepower. It is paired with all-wheel drive. The T6 engine gets an EPA-estimated 20-21 mpg in the city and 30-31 mpg on the highway.

  • "A turbo- and supercharged four-cylinder sounds complicated, but Volvo's runs effortlessly on the road. It reacts quickly when you hit the gas and delivers strong power at low engine speeds. The V90 has no problem merging onto the freeway or making a pass. It exhibited respectable acceleration during testing." -- Edmunds
  • "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 (2018)
  • "The performance from this 2.0-liter 4-cylinder is simply amazing. Getting 316 horsepower from this engine is quite a feat -- the car doesn't seem to lack for power and still delivers fuel economy that shames less powerful drivetrains." -- Kelley Blue Book (2018)

Handling and Braking

The V90 is composed and comfortable. Its steering and brakes are relatively responsive, and there's not much body roll, with handling emphasizing comfort over athleticism. Standard components include front-wheel drive and five drive modes (Comfort, Eco, Dynamic, Off-Road, and Individual). All-wheel drive and an air suspension system are available.

  • "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 (2018)
  • "… 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 (2018)
  • "Handling in the Cross Country is much like in the S90 and V90 -- the car feels quite secure in corners, with just some mild body roll. In fact, it doesn't really feel as though it's sitting another two inches in the air." -- Autoblog (2018)

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