Volvo V90 R-Design Is a Better-Looking Version of an Already Gorgeous Wagon

So what if it's all flash and little muscle?

The latest addition to Volvo’s proud station wagon tradition: The new Volvo V90 R-Design, which joins the smaller V60 R-Design in the category of, shall we say, sports-adjacent vehicles.

While a truly athletic Volvo V90 Polestar is likely in the works, likely pushing 400 horsepower from a combination of gas-powered and electric motors like the XC90 Polestar, the V90 R-Design is what Volvo euphemistically calls “performance-inspired.” It’s as though the R-Design models have met true performance machines, but drove away only coveting those cars’ wheels and interior trim, not their performance parts. The car is powered by the same varieties of forced induction four-cylinder engines as every other V90; capable, perhaps quick, but not explosively fast.

Working with the Volvo V90’s already-handsome shape, the R-Design was destined to be a looker. The front-end has been slightly revised, with different fog lights and slightly extended valances—yes, get the smelling salts, they’ve been extended. Inside, the seats gain a few curves and the dash gets a touch more metallic trim. The truly daring—solo yachtsmen, fire-eaters, flyers of Spirit Airlines—will appreciate the “high level interior illumination package” that “radiates attention to detail.” Gird ye loins.

We would never call the R-Design models poseurs. They’re just everyday cars in athletic wear. While the hardcore Volvos are always the most tingle-inducing, especially wagons like the beloved, 5-cylinder V70 R or the screaming, Audi S4-fight V60 Polestar with Öhlins shocks and 20-inch wheels, these well-trimmed models are fun to look at, too. Until the inevitable V90 Polestar shows up, we’ll happily make do with this long, sultry station wagon.

The Volvo V90 R-Design is one of the last true wagons sold in the United States., Volvo
The Volvo V90 R-Design even looks sultry in parking garages, which are objectively the world's creepiest enclosures., Volvo
The Volvo S90 R-Design does without the hatchback, but keeps things rakish with dynamic rear lighting., Volvo
The Volvo S90 R-Design comes with 20-inch wheels—no longer the sole property of SUVs., Volvo
The S90 R-Design is bold, but not so bold as to overwhelm quiet, European streets., Volvo
Inside, the R-Design cars forsake the Inscription trim's “linear walnut” for a cooler shade., Volvo
Volvo's touch screen is among the best in the business., Volvo
The R-Design V90 and S90 sport multi-contour seats, to keep drivers in place., Volvo