2017 Volvo V90 D4 Inscription Review

Driven: 2017 Volvo V90 D4 Inscription Review

We tested the exclusive Volvo V90 for one week to figure out just how good this executive car is.

What’s the Volvo V90 D4 Inscription all About?

The Volvo V90 is at the top of the estate range from the Swedish brand. The V90 offers exquisite luxury, economy, performance, and looks all in one solid package.

The latest updates to the car take Volvo into a new era of motoring. There are many updates, though a significant one is to the infotainment system. The infotainment system has a number of components, including Sensus Connect which connects you to an array of online services helping you maintain your car, and Sensus Navigation offering full European mapping with traffic information. This is encased in a beautiful 9 inch touchscreen console housed in the centre dash, it is one of the most premium available on the market today. This car even has voice control that can adjust granular functions like the heated seats and let’s not forget about the incredible adaptive cruise control system that can semi-autonomously drive the car with the help of Pilot Assist. This is an incredible feature!


The new look for the Volvo V90 is one of the sharpest and best looking Volvos that has been made to date. The car stands out from the rest and looks premium in any environment, although there were still nods to Swedish design and classic Volvo tastes. But this has been done very elegantly. Take a look at the pictures below for a great example.

The car is powered by a 2.0 litre diesel engine that creates 190 hp and 400 Nm of torque. The car uses an 8-speed automatic gearbox that is able to get the car from 0 to 60 mph in 8.5 seconds and do a top speed of 139 mph. The economy for the car is also incredibly high with a combined figure of 62 mpg whilst only creating 119 g/km of CO2. These are some solid performance figures.

How Does it Drive?

The Volvo V90 is one of the best drives you can have on the road at the moment. As a general rule, its comfort, performance and economy form the trio that you try to find an equilibrium with and this car is at the absolute centre point. Let’s discuss these points.

Comfort-wise this car is incredible. When we talk about rolling road performance this car makes speed bumps feel like minor pebbles in the road. Of course this is a combination of Volvo’s premium suspension engineering, the large format of the car, and great choice of tyres. But it provides a  great experience for the driver and will be great for long family journeys, helping everyone stay happy or for long distance business meetings where you don’t want to turn up feeling tired and drained from the drive.


Performance-wise the V90 only holds 190 hp under its belt on paper, however, how this power is executed is perfectly engineered. The power goes to the wheels using an 8-speed automatic gearbox and has a huge amount of torque. In the real world this car generally feels fast even for a car of such size. I think, for me, most of the speed is likely to do with how the 8-speed gearbox is stretching out the acceleration capabilities using clever gear ratios and fast shifts to keep the car in motion. It certainly works very well.


When it comes to economy, the Volvo is an absolute winner once again. During my initial stage of testing I covered over 300 miles without going under half a tank of diesel. If I didn’t know any better I would have said the gauge was broken. But having done my research I know this car is a great performer when it comes to economy and is one of those cars that actually represents realistic figures in the real world.

 Volvo V90 D4 Inscription Review

Personally the most enjoyable points to take away from the car for me were the technology aspects. The car is absolutely rammed with clever features that make driving this car an absolute dream. I could talk about these for a while, but the one I really want to mention is the Pilot Assist feature. The Volvo V90 is fitted with the technology that can see the road in front of it and when parameters are met, the car is able to maintain a set distance from the car in front of it. The Pilot Assist feature is also able to maintain the lane position. The driver is still expected to have both hands on the wheel so this is an element of semi-autonomous driving that helps make the roads a little safer.


Testing this first-hand I found that the system worked exceptionally well when the lanes were well marked, on a motorway as example. Although I was still fully active and aware of what was going on with the car, it allows your arms to relax ever so slightly meaning that you feel a little fresher on those long journeys. I am really interested to see how this technology will improve going forward into fully autonomous cars. It is a great thing to witness and since testing the XC90 last year I can see improvements in it already.

What’s it Like Inside?

This is another point where Volvo have hit a home run. As soon as you sit inside the car you are wrapped in a beautiful Swedish designed cockpit. There is a mixture of high quality plastics, beautifully crafted aluminium and unbelievably attractive wood. Sitting in the car you look at the drivers instruments that are fully digitised, then you look over to the Sensus Connect system which also uses a large high-definition screen giving you all the information you want in a highly customisable and user-friendly interface. Realistically I was sold at this point, but there is a lot more to like.


The practicalities of this car are incredible. The amount of space in this car is enormous. Upfront, the central console area is very well designed; there are two central drink holders and additional space for your keys and phone, etc. The glove box is a good size allowing you to stow away lots of items. Next up, the door bins in all four doors are a great usable space, making life that little bit easier whilst out with the family. When it comes to the boot size, it’s huge and it is aided by an electrically lifted door that has sensors under the bumper that can trigger the boot to open simply by having the key in your pocket and waving your foot underneath the back of the car. Those of you with families will know when trying to hold on to children’s hands or multiple bags it can be difficult to open the boot. The sensor is a brilliant bit of technology for this alone.


The car we tested came with a Volvo rear facing child seat suitable for 9 months through to 6 years old. This £260 option provides a very safe and user-friendly baby seat for our little tykes. The seat is very well secured and does take a moment to setup in place and ensure it is well secured down. But once in place the height of the seat makes it easy for inserting your baby and tending to them when needed. The seat is adaptable as your child grows and once outgrown of course the seat can be removed.

The Experience

The experience of testing the V90 was one that was massively influenced by technology. It made me feel like I was driving a car of the future. There were many reasons for this: the digital screens inside the car, the incredible Pilot Assist system and the even more basic but still category-leading features such as the birds-eye-view camera, and auto parking systems. The car simply left me amazed at every turn.



The Volvo V90 tested here comes in at £46,030. It is never a light decision of course when making a financial purchase. But even when you remove the emotional side, every single metric about the car just makes perfect sense. The car is one of the most advanced on the market, one of the safest and one of the most practical and family friendly cars. But it is also one of the most economical, and yet to a car enthusiast like me is one of those cars that just feels right. It is a joy to drive, lots of fun, and looking on the sensible side it simply does all the things we need a car to do in our adult life.


Video Highlights


2017 Volvo V90 D4 Inscription Review

  • Price: £46,030
  • Engine: 2.0-litre Diesel
  • Power: 190 hp
  • Torque: 400 Nm
  • Transmission: 8 Speed Automatic 
  • 0-62mph: 8.5 Seconds
  • Top speed: 139mph
  • Weight: 1832 kg
  • Economy combined: 62 mpg
  • CO2: 119 g/km

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Author: Paul Hadley