When it comes to European car brands that have benefitted from an investment that’s come from far away, Volvo must be one of the best examples out there. Since it was bought by Chinese multinational automotive company Geely in 2010, the Swedish manufacturer has gone from strength to strength, with its parent’s hands off approach allowing the firm to innovate in an authentically Swedish way. And while its XC-series SUV models are its best sellers, arguably, no clearer is the brand’s identity than in the brilliant V90 estate.
Case in point: the V90 T4 R Design that’s just arrived in cinch’s digital showroom here, which perfectly emulates the sleek, purposeful appearances of its Volvo predecessors while looking ultra-modern, thanks to sharp LED lighting and a muscular stance. In the dark grey paint shade of the car we’ve highlighted, it demands respect. Little wonder the V90 remains a popular choice for motorway police forces across the UK. This is as much a Volvo for longstanding Volvo lovers (many of whom will be serving motorway officers) as it is a car to tempt others away from more predictable alternatives.
Those alternatives include the BMW 5 Series Touring, Audi A6 Avant and Mercedes E-Class Estate, making for some very premium company indeed. But the Volvo goes about things differently from its brethren, with an air of simplicity about its operation, clutter-free cabin design and lounge-like comfort. It doesn’t attempt to replicate what those German alternatives do so well (each has its own strengths), but rather goes about business in its own way. The Volvo way. That ensures a great ride, punchy but not overly aggressive engine performance, and enormous practicality. You only need to see how much space is presented to back seat passengers, or how easily the boot swallows a family’s worth of holiday luggage to understand its purpose.
At a time when many people have forgotten about the merits of a big estate because their attention has been diverted to an SUV alternative (SUVs are at the height of fashion, of course), cars like the V90 feel even more important. They’re a reminder of how sleek and slender practical cars can be when they’re not trying to mimic the lines and stature of a 4x4. That has technical merits: thanks to its slender figure, the V90 T4 we have here, with its 2.0-litre petrol engine producing 190hp, slices through the air to enable a manufacturer claimed 40 miles per gallon combined. Not being a tall, squarer machine also ensures that wind noise is kept to a minimum. Oh, and did we mention it looks fantastic?
So really, with the V90 estate, especially in high-spec R Design form, you’re getting a car that’s as nice on the eyes as it is practical and usable, that's also a slightly leftfield premium choice. Yet the car we’ve pulled from our digital showroom, a fresh arrival to cinch, is up for £31,950 – which is not a particularly premium price. That buys you a two-year-old car with only 12,444 miles on the clock, with the same exterior design as the very latest V90 so it looks bang up to date. Better still, with cinch’s quick-reacting team on hand, this handsome Swede could be waiting outside your front door in only 72 hours.