For a prowl around Prince Edward County what could be more suitable than the Volvo V90 wagon. The muscular looking, high class hauler handles people with care, and luggage with ease. It’s big, big enough that it almost feels like public transportation. But public transit never looked this good.
Our edition is the V90 R-Design T6 AWD. A mouthful that means, it is not the $60,500 entry level model. The performance is sportier, the trim sexier and the options glitzier.
This wagon is sleek looking, people will not think you are running a cleaning business on the side when they see it.
With big rims, a raked roofline, and beefy body work it is a cool as a station wagon can be.
The interior delivers Scandinavian elan. Sculpted seats, carbon fibre trim, a matte black dash and elegant instrumentation define the cabin. Controlling almost everything is a big centre mounted screen, iPad like in size, that houses all the important functions, heat, cold, music, vehicle performance, it’s all there waiting for a poke or a swipe to change the settings.
So lets linger here for a minute. There is but a single knob on the console-it controls the volume for music, all other functions are on the swipe screen. I ask just one thing of Volvo, give us a dial to control the fan speed for AC and heat. It is too distracting to poke the screen for such a frequently used command.
I love tech and the Volvo iPad like set up is good, but it’s good when you are parked. When driving the hunt and peck system steals your vision from the road.
The most expensive option on my test vehicle was the Bowers & Wilkins Premium Sound at a price of $3,250. It is special, on certain settings you could believe you were in Massey Hall.
So with the super sensational sound playing tunes we loved, we headed out on a field trip to Prince Edward County.
What’s not to love about the County? Water, vineyards, good food, sensible people, farms, and relaxed driving. It’s gracious as all get out.
We loved the Drake Devonshire in Wellington with its art installations, waterside imbibing opportunities, and lush looking accommodation.
Equally as charming was Angeline’s Inn located in Bloomfield. I’d been following them on Instagram and upon arrival, got a lovely tour of the rooms in the inn and also the little motel they own and a log cabin. The price there was reasonable, the decor charming and the restaurant on the property looked highly desirable I’d go back..
On the smooth roads of the County, the V90 was charming to drive. The 4-cylinder produces a useful 316 horsepower, taking direction from the 8-speed automatic transmission.
One can choose Eco, Comfort or Dynamic driving modes. I found the steering artificially heavy in Dynamic mode, so left it in Comfort where it is still responsive and solid to drive. However, even in the Comfort setting the ride is too stiff to be called luxurious, hammering over rough roads with vigour. Swapping out the 20” wheels that came with the R-Design to a smaller size with more sidewall would restore some compliance to the ride.
Passengers have nothing to gripe about in the V90. The backseats offers top notch, executive class travel, and the front seat passenger has a myriad of seat adjustments and freedom to page through menus on the touch screen. A panoramic sunroof keeps everyone tanned and tousled on summer drives.
Our last stop in the County was County Cider in Wapoos where food, drinks and lovely views over vineyards and the lake present themselves.
It was hard to leave, but we spun the V90 toward home with a long trip on the 401 waiting.
But even that potential annoyance was buffered by the wagon’s excellent adaptive cruise control. Set a speed and a distance to keep from the car ahead, and let the V90 brake and accelerate. It does it better than most drivers, and pretty much eliminates panic stops due to inattention. The pilot assist setting with do the steering too, but the driver has to keep in contact with the steering wheel.
It’s nice to see Volvo produce cars with such passion for detail. I’d have to make a few tweaks to make it my favourite, but it’s a classy alternative to a bulky SUV.
Kathy Renwald is an award winning freelance journalist and a regular columnist for the Bay Observer, Hamilton Spectator, Grand Magazine and Wheels.ca. She covers city issues, lifestyle and autos.