I’ve never been much of a lady. I can never quite remember to brush my hair, applying makeup still alludes me, and I have been called ‘sir’ more than once in an airport. So when, just a few days into my latest press drive, the 2020 Volvo V90 wagon, I found myself regularly reapplying coats of lipstick, I stopped to check myself. Sitting in that driver’s seat, I kept thinking about how to up my grace game. In the next few days, not only did I check my face in the mirror often but I also embraced the lost art of the French twist and I even put on..wait for it.. a skirt. I know these all seem like trivial details for a car review, but I beg you to reconsider.
Driving isn’t just about getting from point A to point B. It isn’t about just speed, status or the impression we leave with others. It’s about the impression we make on ourselves. Does driving to work in your fancy SUV make you feel important, professional, or powerful? Those are legitimate feelings. But when you were little, did you want to be a powerful businessperson or did you want to be James Bond or maybe Katharine Hepburn? We both know the answer to that.
The first thing you notice in the V90 is its simplicity. My drive was the R Design trim, whose rich, black, leather seats and muted metal details softly whispered ‘you rule’ in my ear for the entire week. With an MSRP close to $70k ($69,450), ruling isn’t entirely off the table. The list price for this vehicle is $57,450 but this one was pimped with the Advanced Package (360 degree camera, HUD and bending LED headlights), premium air suspension and a premium sound system. Perhaps details sound elementary, but I dare you to have a 360 camera and then live without it, that’s a hell I wouldn’t wish upon a Kardashian.
Of course, the V90’s interior is not that much different than the other 2020 Volvos (the XC90, XC60 or V60 Cross Country) that we all know and love. But because the ride height is lower than its counterparts, the driver gets the added bonus of feeling the road which genuinely elevates the whole experience. However let’s get real, driving a Swedish luxury wagon in modern America is really only for an independent thinker.
When she first saw this incredibly blue wagon in our driveway, Freya announced that it was ‘hideous.’ One of her friends chimed in to question why I was testing a wagon at all, ‘Do moms still drive those?’ But then one of my more intelligent friends told me it was ‘gorgeous.’ There was a guy who stopped me in a parking lot to tell me that the V90 was “really beautiful”, but he also proceeded to compliment my skirt and legs, so he may have had ulterior motives. None of these varying opinions took away from how I felt behind the wheel.
With 316 hp and producing 295 lb-feet of torque, the V90 has plenty of power. Its All-Wheel Drive with Instant Traction was beautifully responsive and worked wonders when I had to get myself out of a friend’s muddy, tight driveway (no that’s not a euphemism, that really happened). Like all 2020 Volvos, the V90 is equipped with Safety Features (Pilot Assist- Adaptive Cruise Control, Large Animal and Pedestrian detection, etc) that are so easy to use and work so well that driver fatigue becomes a non-issue.
Things that I found less than elegant included the sunshade. I know it seems trivial, but living in Southern California, we know that a perforated sunroof shade just simply isn’t enough coverage. We all like natural light but we also like keeping our asses blister free when we enter our black vehicles. I’m sure the smart person will simply add a tint to the glass, but it seems like a major oversight to this LA girl. My combined MPG for the week was 24, which is pretty good for a vehicle of that size but isn’t going to win any awards.
Will all of you rush out and buy the 2020 V90 wagon? Probably not. But for the proud, brave few who will never, ever let popular opinion overrule how their car makes them feel, there’s the new V90. Come on over, I’ll be rocking a French twist and ready to stream The African Queen.
To see the 2020 XC90 review, click here (and please subscribe!).
To see the 2020 V60 Cross Country Review, click here!