We bought our first Volvo for one reason only – safety. I’d not bothered about cars much, as long as they worked, until I had a horrible car crash on the school run. My car rolled onto its side and was written off. I remember it happening as if in slow motion, and I remember thinking about my family as the car keeled over. Luckily nobody was injured (we were saved by a sturdy farm hedge) but we were very shaken. When we went to collect our stuff from where our car was being stored the following day, I asked the guy who ran the place what he thought was the safest car in a crash. As his job involved recovering and storing smashed up vehicles I thought that he’d be a good person to ask. He told me, without hesitation, that Volvos were the absolute safest cars on the road and offered the best protection in the case of an accident. I clung to his words and, for the first time ever, I found myself taking an interest in cars – but only regarding their safety. And I wanted my next car to be a Volvo. And so, a few weeks later, we found ourselves the owners of a used Volvo XC90.
Volvo Cars are committed to making their vehicles as safe as possible. The Swedish brand has been collecting data from real life car crashes since the 1970s in an ongoing effort to improve car safety for drivers, passengers, pedestrians and other road users. As a result their vehicles are some of the safest on the road – and I love them for it.
Volvo V90 D5 Inscription review
So when I was given (for a week) this brand new Volvo V90 D5 Inscription to review, I was very happy.
The car is an automatic with a diesel engine and is packed with so many brilliant features that I can’t include them all here. I used the V90 for everyday driving around at home and for a weekend festival trip with my sister. Here are my V90 highlights.
For starters, I love the look of the car. It’s luxurious and stylish both inside and out. The dashboard layout is sleek and uncomplicated.
You don’t need a key to unlock or start this car. You just need to have the fob with you – in your pocket or your bag for example – and then the car senses you and you can open the door and start it up by turning a crystal (yes, crystal) knob which is next to the gear stick.
There’s a marvellous touch screen in the centre of the dashboard where you can control many of the car’s functions, such as navigation, radio, phone calls and heated seats. You can also (if there’s a sim card fitted) access the internet and apps such as Spotify. I found the screen very intuitive and easy to use, and my 14 year-old son was thrilled by its possibilities.
There’s a printed manual in the glove compartment but you can also access and search through it via the touchscreen. I found this really helpful.
The Head-Up Display is an astonishing thing. As you drive, it projects an image onto the windscreen in front of you to show your speed and the speed limit. If you’re using the navigation system this display shows you where to go at crucial points like junctions. If you get too close to the car in front a warning flashes up. The display can only be seen by the driver and I found it to be very helpful.
There’s a voice control button on the steering wheel so if, for example, you want to listen to a specific radio station while you’re driving you just press that button, tell the car what you want and it magically finds the station and switches it on for you. When I first tried using this feature it didn’t recognise what I was saying – but then I read the manual and found that you need to use specific terms.
The driver’s seat is extremely comfortable. My sister and my son both commented on the excellent seat comfort when they were passengers in the car. You can adjust the back, sides, height and angle of the front seats and they kind of cradle you. The heated seats have three levels of heat and the front seats also have individual cooling fans beneath them. Both the front and back seats have plenty of legroom.
The wing mirrors blink red to warn you if a car’s overtaking you – you can turn this function off if you don’t like it, but I found it helpful.
The boot is a good size and it has a divider which you can use if you have just a few things and you want to stop them moving around. There’s a button on the tailgate which closes it automatically if you press it. I especially like this feature, as I often find it tricky to reach up and pull down the tailgate – on various cars. Our dog was very happy in the boot. This is her sunbathing there while waiting for me to take her to a friend’s house.
Besides the usual cigarette lighter-style charging point between the front seats there are also two USB points and a three-pin plug socket. This is great for when everyone in the family wants to charge their phones at the same time. There’s a second cigarette lighter-type charging point in the boot, which I used for our camping fridge when driving to the festival.
The touchscreen shows you the view at the back of the car when you reverse, along with helpful lines to guide you. It’s a long car, and I found this function very useful when parking.
The car is very smooth to drive and is powerful when you accelerate. It feels like the car is doing everything that it can to look after you.
I really enjoyed driving this car and was amazed by all that it offers. This is a comfortable, stylish, practical and – of course – very safe car to drive.
My sister says: ‘It was really comfortable and the sat nav was great, especially when it found alternative routes to save us time. There was loads of space in the boot for all our luggage.’
My 14 year-old son (who’s 5’11”) says: ‘I think it’s a cool car. I really like the radio, the speakers, and the seats, especially the cooling fan under the front seats. There’s lots of room in the back and I can spread out.’
Over to you
What features do you look for in a car? Would this car suit you and your family?
Disclosure: Volvo Cars lent me this car for a week for the purposes of this review. The words, opinions and images are mine.