21 November 1997

… WHILE 2WD BROTHER

SCORES ON SPACE

FEW estate car makers can boast load space like a Volvo – and the grand-daddy of them all still remains Volvos 960-series, now badged V90.

Signifying vast, voluminous or just plain old big estate car, the addition of the V brings the previous 960-series into line with the rest of the Volvo range, joining the smaller V70 and V40 estates.

The V90 range has a solid, quality feel about it. Starting with the basic V90 model, customers can choose to add SE, CD and Luxury specification packs according to the size of their wallet.

Our test vehicle was equipped with SE spec which included air conditioning, leather trim, alloy wheels and wood form dash inserts.

Up front, a straight-six, 3-litre 24-valve engine serves up 204hp, and coupled to a four-speed auto box, this rear-wheel drive wardrobe on wheels proves a capable match for most out on the open road. Its not the tautest of handlers but then again, handling is not what a flagship estate car is all about.

&#42 Lots of airbags

Not surprisingly, the V90 is a very safe car to drive and sports more airbags than a hot air balloon convention; it also includes SIPS (side impact protection system) and ABS brakes, although being safe in this case means the V90 trades off some of the fun element.

But its in the rear where the V90 really scores. Open up the tailgate, drop the rear seats and youll see why the V90 is so appealing. Its cavernous.

V90 (which used to be called the 960) has been around for a while. But itll swallow a lot.

VOLVO V90DATA

&#8226 Model: V90 SE 3.0

&#8226 List price: £22,638

&#8226 Engine: 3-litre, 24v, 204hp six-cylinder petrol

&#8226 Top speed: 130mph

&#8226 0-62mph: 9.3sec

lTest fuel consumption: 22.7mpg

&#8226 Insurance group: 17