ANYONE can easily link the brand Volvo with safety, as the company has long been associated with making some of the world’s safest cars.
But we were convinced after taking the V90 T6 R-Design for a test drive that safe cars are not just what this Swedish carmaker is all about.
Volvo Malaysia launched the Volvo V90 T6 R-Design early this year, alongside with the S90. Just like the S90 T6 R-Design, it shares most of the base features, but the V90 gets a few extras, such as the powered tailgate with hands-free operation, rear booster cushions and powered panoramic roof.
The fully-imported V90 T6 R-Design is powered by a 2.0-litre Drive-E turbocharged and supercharged petrol four-cylinder engine hooked onto an Aisin eight-speed automatic transmission. It churns out 320hp at 5,700rpm and 400Nm of torque between 2,200 and 5,400rpm.
Volvo claims that the all-wheel drive V90 T6 R-Design can complete the century sprint in 5.9 seconds with a top speed of 250kph. Its fuel consumption is rated at 7.5 litres per 100km.
The wagon measures at 4,936mm in length, 1,879mm in width, 1,475mm in height, with a wheelbase of 2,941 mm, and weighs at 1,922kg. It has 913 litres of boot space and 60 litres of fuel tank capacity.
Key-less entry, key-less start, automated parking, dual-zone automatic climate control with CleanZone filtration, rear air vents, 12-way power-adjustable front seats with lumbar support and driver’s side memory, 12.3-inch instrument cluster display, Sensus Connect infotainment system, nine-inch touchscreen, and the 10-speaker 330W sound system are bundled in as standard.
It also comes with the signature “Thor’s Hammer” LED headlights with active bending lights, active high beam control, LED tail lights with adaptive brake lights, illuminated door handles, puddle lamps, laminated side windows, rear sunblinds, 360 view camera, head-up display, paddle shifters, Navigation Pro with Road Sign Information, power-folding headrests, sport chassis and the Nappa leather-wrapped key fob.
In addition to the V90 T6 R-Design, it is equipped with the sportier 19-inch diamond-cut five-spoke alloy wheels, sportier contour seats finished in Nappa leather, charcoal headlining and carbon fibre inlays. It also has the R-Design appearance package which consists of a sportier and aggressive front bumper, gloss black grille, side skirts, front fog lights with cornering function, satin silver door mirror caps, rear diffuser with quad exhaust exits, and R-Design emblems on its steering wheel, gear lever as well as its pedals.
With six airbags, seat belts pretensioners for all seats, anti-lock braking system, electronic brake distribution, brake assist, stability control with active yaw control, ready alert brake, fading brake support and the IntelliSafe suite of active safety features such as the city safety autonomous emergency braking, which operates at speeds between 4kph to 70kph and it can detect cyclist, pedestrians, large animals and vehicles are part of the safety features available in the V90 T6 R-Design.
Some other safety features include the Volvo’s pilot assist semi-autonomous driving with adaptive cruise control, queue assist, lane keeping aid, driver alert control, run off road mitigation and protection with road edge detection, lane departure warning, rear collision warning and mitigation, blind spot information system and cross traffic alert.
The Volvo V90 T6 R-Design retails at RM458,888 without insurance and it comes with a five-year or 120,000km “whichever comes first” warranty.
We had a short drive in the V90 T6 R-Design, cruising through a mix of city traffics and highways and walking away impressed.
The V90 T6 R-Design is powerful, comfortable and sporty, while managing to give a luxurious feel at the same time.
The interior (and key fob) are wrapped with Nappa leather. The design of the interior is pretty similar with the XC-90.
However, instead of the natural matte wood trim elements found in XC-90, it has been replaced with carbon-fibre elements which give the V90 T6 R-Design a more modern feel.
The all-wheel drive V90 sits firmly through the corners, entering and exiting the corners accurately and steadily. The ride can easily handle rough road conditions, with only the deeper potholes being felt, despite V90 T6 R-Design’s sporty tendencies.
When cruising on the highway below 100kph, gear changes were smooth and quick, But before we could go any faster, the wheels of the car in front clipped a ping pong ball-sized stone, which hit the windscreen and caused a five-inch wide crack.
Thanks to Volvo’s safety laminated glass the windscreen did not suffer from further damage. We were able to drive to a small town and back safely after the incident.
Imagine what would have happened had we driven a car with a non-laminated glass windscreen, and the stone penetrated through the windscreen and hit the driver. The damage might have been severe and could have even been fatal.
Despite the short time spent in the V90 T6, we find the car to be an excellent package from Volvo.
We find the V90 rear seats has overcome the shortage of headroom faced in the S90. Overall, it is a great car to drive. However, the V90 T6 R-Design will likely sell only in limited numbers because in Malaysia, the wagon segment is still not as popular as those of sedans or Sport Utility Vehicles.