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Volvo V90 (P5)

2017-2024 - P5 Platform

The global financial crisis in 2008 brought difficult times for the automotive industry, as cash-tight and credit-strapped customers bought dramatically fewer cars. Collapsing sales triggered a wave of bankruptcies, sales, and consolidations, with many old nameplates like Pontiac and Saab disappearing forever. Volvo, under Ford ownership, was seeing strong new product launches with its P1 compact and P3 mid- and full-size platforms, but even they saw sales shrink, becoming a liability for their corporate parent. In 2009, Ford thus sold Volvo to Geely Automotive, with the deal finalized and completed by 2010.  

By this time, Volvo had begun initial development of its next common car platform: "Scalable Product Architecture" or SPA. Designed for mid-to-full-size cars, this new platform (also sometimes called "P5") would be paired with new "Volvo Engine Architecture" VEA four cylinder engines, making all new Volvos constructed from the same building blocks.

With the specter of climate change and resource scarcity looming on the horizon, SPA and VEA were designed from the outset to support easy electrification. The "spine" of the car can mount a high capacity battery pack, and there's baked-in support for engine start-stop with an integrated starter/generator, hybrid and full electric drive, and plug-in, high voltage charging.

After the launch of the next generation of their bread-and-butter XC90 3-row crossover SUV, Volvo turned their attention to their large sedan, the S80, and large wagon, the V70. Building on the success of the new XC90, Volvo's revived the S90 and V90 nameplates in 2017 for their large sedan and wagon flagships. Like the XC90, these featured a host of advanced new technologies: Sensus touchscreen infotainment and navigation, "Thor's Hammer" headlights, automatic braking, self-driving features like lane-keeping and adaptive cruise control, and BLIS blind spot monitoring.

As with all SPA cars in the USA, the V90 is exclusively powered by VEA (also sometimes badged "DRIVe", pronounced "drive eee") 2.0L inline four engines paired with Aisin-Warner TG-81 8-speed automatic transmissions, either in turbocharged "T5" or twin-charged (turbo- and supercharged) "T6" trims. Haldex-derived AWD is standard on the T6.

From 2021, a B6 replaced the T6. Still a turbocharged four-cylinder VEA, the B6 adds a 48-volt electrical system, large battery, and an integrated starter-generator replacing both the starter and alternator. Start-stop, regenerative braking, and an assist electric motor sandwiched between the engine and transmission makes this a mild hybrid, not able to run on electric power alone but still able to capture braking energy and re-use it during acceleration like an EV or full hybrid. With the 65, this made all V90s at least partially electrified.

The V90 Cross Country (CC/XC) takes over the place of the recently-departed XC70 as Volvo's large, "soft roader" wagon, featuring standard AWD, increased ride height and ground clearance, rugged plastic body cladding, and T5 or T6 engines.

Despite the little 2-liter VEA engine being a "highly stressed" unit (producing as much as 360hp in some forms!), we've found the complete powertrain package of SPA cars like the V90 to be pretty dependable in service, provided scheduled maintenance items like the timing belt are replaced at the proper interval and using the proper tools. Early SPA cars had some electrical and software gremlins with accessories and advanced systems like the self-driving technologies and infotainment, but newer cars and cars that have seen dealer service to iron out the kinks have matured nicely.

  • Second-generation V90
  • Large 5-door station wagon based on the Volvo P5 (also called "SPA") platform
  • Sold in the USA from the 2017 model year to present; V90 Cross Country the only available model from 2022 onwards
  • Available in the USA with 2.0L inline four "VEA" (also called "modular" or "DRIVe") engines
    • T5 models (turbocharged):
      • 2017-2021: B4204T23
    • T6 models ("twin-charged", turbo- and supercharged):
      • 2017-2021: B4204T27
      • Replaced by the mild hybrid B6 B420T in 2022
  • Aisin-Warner TG-81 8-speed automatic transmission on all models
  • Standard Haldex-derived AWD on T6 and Cross Country (XC / CC):
  • V90 Cross Country available with rugged plastic exterior trim and T5 and B6/T6 engines

Model information is based on the USA vehicle market. Other model variations may exist outside the USA.

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