2018 Volvo V90 first drive review Page 2

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Those back seats are sized right for adults, and very comfortable. The width of the V90 permits three-across seating if you’re willing to touch elbows with your seatmates. But, as is expected for Volvo, the front seats are superb--supportive in every way, widely adjustable, and so comfortable that they'd put any high-end desk chair you’ve ever had to shame. You might just arrive with your back feeling better than it had before you started driving.

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Volvo’s Pilot Assist technology also helps ease the driving experience. With steering assist that monitors lane markings, as well as the edge of the road when needed, this is far more than an adaptive cruise control with automatic braking and integrated safety systems. Once you’ve clicked the system on with a toggle button on the left steering-wheel spoke, you can take your hands off the wheel and the V90 will stay in its lane. It’s a feature intended for broad highway curves, not city streets, though, and it only lets you go hands-free for about 15 seconds at a time.

Starkly Scandinavian, with some Mediterranean warmth up close

You won’t need to take your hands off the wheel for long, though. The vertically oriented Sensus Touch system at the center of the dash remains one of the best in any vehicle, with a simplified home screen and intuitive ways of getting quickly to critical audio, communication, and climate-control functions. In our first drive, we found that the embedded data connection, with built-in Apple CarPlay and Spotify music streaming, offers plenty of easy-to-navigate entertainment possibilities.

2018 Volvo V90

2018 Volvo V90

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After spending hours around the V90, we failed to find a bad angle for this wagon. Although it brings distinctive Scandinavian style into a template that’s tried-and-true for Volvo, it impresses as having a certain warmth and comfort to the ride and overall cabin experience that’s lacking from the German competition--the Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon, for instance. And the long-hood, cabin-back proportions give it just enough of the heritage charm of the Volvo P1800 of the 1960s.

Get back to where you once belonged

The styling and design of the roomier crossover utes looks as unified and ubiquitous as ever. If you don’t need all that extra vehicle height and weight (and the clumsier handling and inefficiencies that they create), why not go with a wagon?

That’s a question we anticipate a generation of parents may soon be asking—a generation that grew up with the 240-Series Wagon (or V70, or 850, or 960, among many others) in East Coast and affluent big-city enclaves, then took them to college, and viewed them a boxy, ironic counterpoint in their 20s.

Yet there’s really no need for irony here. The new V90 is a return to the form for Volvo and, hopefully, the start of a great new generation of wagons. It goes on sale, likely priced from somewhere just above the $50k mark, around the middle of next year.

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