Low-Key Luxury: The 2021 Volvo V90 T6 AWD R-Design

If you want to convey an image of being well-off, well-educated, adventurous and possessed of good taste, it would be hard to beat an all-wheel drive black Volvo wagon.

Volvos say that about you because that's pretty much who's been buying them all these years, starting with college graduates (and no small number of college professors) back in the 60s, expanding to include those of means as Volvo began to position itself as more of a luxury vehicle in the 80s, and since the addition of models with all-wheel drive and significant power under the hood, the outdoor adventurers have come to see Volvo as a worthy candidate for their car-buying dollars or Kronen.

That is a 2.0-liter four-cylinder under the hood (and all that cladding), but it is both turbo-and super-charged, putting out 316 horsepower and 295 pounds per foot of torque. Mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission, it's able to hit 60 miles per hour from a standing start in 5.6 seconds. EPA fuel economy average is 21 miles per gallon city/32 highway.

The base price for the 2021 Volvo V90 T6 AWD R-Design is $57,800. The window sticker is at the end of this review so you can see for yourself, but among the standard equipment highlights at that price are 19-inch alloy wheels, all-wheel-drive, a 12.3-inch digital driver display, a Harman Kardon premium sound system, a laminated panoramic moonroof with sunshade, Nappa leather upholstery and a four-zone automatic climate control system.

Our tester also had extra-cost options, including $750 for the Climate Package (heated windshield wiper blades, heated steering wheel and integrated second-row booster cushions), $1,500 for the Advanced Package (graphical head-up display, 360-degree surround view camera), $645 for the Onyx Black Metallic paint, $1,295 for the Polestar performance upgrade, $3,200 for a Bowers & Wilkins premium sound system, $1,200 for adaptive air suspension, $250 for air quality with advanced air cleaner and $800 for an upgrade to 20-inch five-double spoke alloy wheels.

With $995 destination charge, the as-tested price of the 2021 Volvo V90 T6 AWD R-Design is $68,435.

The same powerplant as the XC90 T6 R-Design I tested last year on the old TireKicker site, in a lighter, leaner package, the same level of luxury, the same all-wheel drive capability, just in a wagon rather than an SUV form---and for about six thousand dollars less. Some people need an SUV. You may. But, being honest, you may find that a station wagon fills your needs. It's hard to think of a better one than this.

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