The Volvo V90 Recharge has charm, class and soothing elegance

Volvo V90 Recharge is a hybrid with charm, class and soothing elegance

Volvo V90 Recharge plug-in hybrid adds green credentials to the integrity of the model’s existing design, while the new Concept Recharge takes sustainability a step further

It says a lot about the design integrity of the Volvo V90 that it still looks fresh and modern after five years on the market. With only slight modifications to the design, the V90 remains the epitome of the modern and graceful station wagon, just like its sister, the S90, represents the pinnacle of internal combustion sedan design.

Written by a team led by Thomas Ingenlath, shortly before he left Volvo to become the first CEO of Polestar, Volvo’s performance electric vehicle spin-off brand, there’s not a line out of place. Even more impressive, the lines within it reinforce a compelling heritage that dates back to the very earliest Volvo models.

Charging Volvo V90

Charging Volvo V90

This is not a retro car, although in the context of the contemporary car market, the station wagon format has become a bit old-fashioned. The alternative is the ubiquitous SUV, a genre Volvo does quite well with the XC40, XC60 and XC90. But station wagons – or wagons – are where the company’s legacy lies, so it’s fitting that one of its flagship products remains firmly attached to the genre.

The V90 (V for Versatile) is now available as a plug-in hybrid model “Recharge”. Despite Polestar’s enthusiastic embrace of electrification, Volvo itself lags slightly behind. Currently, the only fully electrified Volvos on the market are the XC40 and the future C40; mid-size and larger models like S60, V60, XC60, XC90, S90 and V90 are too old to be effectively electrified. Instead, the brand hybridized its fleet.

Volvo’s plug-in hybrid range

Like any plug-in hybrid, the V90 Recharge can be used over short distances at full electric power. The V90 promises nearly 53 miles of electric range. Given that the average UK driver drives 131 miles per week (the figure is 259 miles per week in the US), so it’s not impossible for a household with a charger to run this car like an EV. the vast majority of the time. Like all hybrids, the Recharge system works best when the two types of engines work together.

Volvo is apparently the only one to ditch the unnecessary theater around performance and “sporty” driving, but there’s no shortage here. This is a large, comfortable car, with architectural levels of space and a satisfying long-lasting feel with every command and surface. Even the touchscreen is well thought out and easy to use, despite a few years of technological backwardness.

Interior V90

Google’s efficient in-car integration certainly helps, as the tech giant’s assistant is way smarter than all of the other in-car intelligences put together. However, this approach could alienate die-hard fans of certain other mobile operating systems. Safety is also part of this company’s DNA, although the most recent innovations are systems that prevent accidents from happening in the first place, rather than the protection afforded to you should the worst happen. The latter tends to be taken for granted, while the former requires intensive research and technological know-how. For the driver, that means a forest of sensors, scanning every corner of your surroundings for stray cyclists or stray pedestrians. It’s to the engineers’ credit that the V90 never lulls you into a false sense of security; these extra eyes work best to complement yours.

The enduring physical qualities of the V90 translate very well into the contemporary image of Scandinavian design and culture, a combination that the company plays wherever possible. You can hardly blame him; after slow design, slow food and slow architecture, Volvo is arguably the best example of slow motoring there is, not that any other automaker is calling for it. But you know what we mean; slow stands for sustainability and Volvo has aggressive internal plans to become a fully circular business by 2040.

Volvo Concept Recharge

Volvo Concept Recharge

One indication of how Volvo’s signature appearance might evolve to meet these goals is the Concept Recharge, a concept car that represents both the future language of form and how design can alter the environmental impact of a vehicle. car for life.

Halfway between an SUV and a station wagon, the Volvo Concept Recharge is equipped with sustainable materials (including Swedish wool, flax composite and a new leather replacement material invented by Volvo called Nordico, made from managed forests. sustainably in Sweden and Finland). Linen composite also forms some of the body panels, while even Pirelli tires are 94% fossil fuel free.

Volvo Concept Recharge

Concept Recharge also does a good job of streamlining the SUV’s notoriously square profile, with a lower roofline, less aggressive styling, and an aerodynamically efficient chopped tail. The flat floor allows for a roomy interior, so it matches the cavernous Volvos of yesteryear, while all efficiencies help to enhance range and reduce environmental impact.

Volvo has been making cars that last longer and go further for 94 years, helping to cement an enviable image of safety and reliability. As we look into the Electric Age, slowness and smoothness could still come out ahead. §

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