They are eye-catching on the water, but the special edition big estate is every-inch a head-turner on the road in its white bodywork with grey and orange details, unique wheels and highlighted interior leather stitching and contrasting orange seat-belts.
All come in crystal white but that’s only the start. The special Ocean Race edition, named after the nine-months and 40,000 miles round-the-world race Volvo supported for 18 years and which ended last weekend with Dongfeng Race Team winning, comes with a very practical interior geared towards meeting the needs of outdoor sports lovers. It’s also far more comfortable than inside one of the yachts.
The floor mats are made from recycled nylon, including discarded fishing nets, with magnetic pads to cover the rear bumper; there are load area charging points and wifi ports, and even a compressor for inflatables and power-shower is available, with LED lights overhead to wash boots, wetsuits or camping equipment.
Volvo intend to make about 3,000 special edition V90s and will donate €100 from each sale towards cleaning up the oceans. Most will be sold in Europe, but a few hundred will go to America and the Far East.
The Ocean Race models are based on the V90 Cross Country AWD with its underbody protection and raised ride height. They come either with 190hp D4 and 235hp D5 diesel engine or 250hp T5 and 310hp T6 petrol unit and use an eight-speed automatic transmission. They get unique 20-inch wheels and distinctive roof bars and the D4 price begins at £51,270 with the T5 from £53,435.
The size of the V90 immediately strikes anyone and in the standard crystal white it seems accentuated, but the reality is this is a very easy driving estate.
I have always liked Volvo’s seats and these did not disappoint with support, room for five and good adjustment.
The D4 engine packs a good punch and delivers it very smoothly and quietly while the sophisticated software behind the engine, steering and suspension permits eco, individual or dynamic modes to be chosen depending on preferences or condition
Our test route was very short but offered a variety of roads nevertheless and the V90 Ocean Race never put a wheel wrong or gave a moment’s concern.
It stayed planted and covered ground quickly and safely. We averaged 35.1mpg, an ocean away from the official combined figure of 54.3mpg, but I think a longer test would have eased this up to 40mpg.
The comfort and sophistication of the car was enhanced by the nine-inch centre console and its multi-mode Sensus system but I suspect it would soon show up fingerprints. It comes with a very comprehensive infotainment system, advanced anti-crash protection and a variety of parking and driving aids as well as a wide 12.3-inch selectable fascia display for the driver.
The Volvo V90 D4 AWD automatic we tested was a very refined and relaxing car, quiet and composed, but it’s not cheap and the diesel version carries tax penalties as well. It can pull up side by side with rivals and beats many with its overall perfection but it also it comes with rarity in its Ocean Race trim and therefore leaves competitors in its wake.
|Fast facts||Volvo V90 D4 AWD Ocean Race Cross Country automatic £51,270 (with Intell and Xenium packs as tested £54,070)|
|Insurance Group: 35||Mechanical:190hp 4cyl 1969cc turbo-diesel, 8sp AWD|
|Max Speed: 130mph||0-62mph: 8.8sec|
|Combined MPG: 35.1 (officially 54.3mpg)||C02 emissions:147g/km|
|Bik rating: 30%, £515FY, £450x5SR||Warranty:3 yrs/ unlimited miles|
|Sizes:L4.94m, W2.06m, H1.55m||Bootspace: 560 -1526 litres Kerb:1826 kg|
|For: Refined, roomy, well equipped, good handling and variable smooth ride with excellent gearbox|
Against: Low economy and high running costs to contend with, expensive options, potentially distracting console screen.