Volvo is renewing its model range at record speed: following the XC90 and before the XC60, it was the S90 and V90. HEICO is keeping pace – and is now tuning the V90 D5.
At times, they are almost lost in the frazzle and hubbub of the stated overweight SUV: attractive and efficient, large, practical station wagons. With the V90, Volvo has a new loadmaster in its portfolio – for which finisher HEICO provides a selective makeover program.
Longitudinal dynamics: The performance enhancement implemented by a supplementary control unit generates a subtle 23hp power increase and no less than 50 Nm more torque. In doing so, the HEICO V90 fulfills one’s exact expectations of a Volvo: sovereign, but never overpowered. Thanks to its spontaneous response characteristics, the diesel car has a vigorous feel to it, its engine revving up calmly but powerfully. Due to the lack of exactly matching measurements, we used the results of a past test of a series-built S90 – the V90’s limousine counterpart – as the basis of our comparison: the HEICO model is two tenths of a second faster from 0-100 km/h, and four tenths of a second faster in reaching 160 km/h. The top speed remains unchanged at 240 km/h – a somewhat intellectual value, as hours seem to pass until reaching that speed.
Transverse dynamics: Lowering springs reduce the height of the 4WD by 30 millimeters with little change to the handling characteristics; these remain solid and not especially sporty. Steering is typical of Volvo: smooth and insensitive.
Emotion: Anyone who is not entirely averse to Scandinavian flair cannot fail to like the V90. HEICO upgrades the car skillfully with a few, selected measures: while the 20” wheels are also offered ex works, the 21” wheels to be offered shortly will be exclusive to the HEICO model. The active-sound loudspeaker masks deftly, but not too intrusively, the sound of the diesel engine.
Every-day use: Top marks: no restrictions whatsoever in day-to-day usage, and technical compliance (TÜV) and guarantee are absolutely OK.
Cost / performance ratio: For its all-round respectable tuning, HEICO charges sprightly but in no way exorbitant prices.
Conclusion: Large wheels and a four-pipe exhaust provide for a welcome cosmetic boost – the other benefits of the subtle tuning package cannot be regarded as profuse: the likable Volvo offers slightly better acceleration and no longer sounds like a diesel. But even with tuning, it continues to give a relaxed ride without any seriously sporty ambitions.