This week we take a look at the 2017 Volvo S90, fresh out of Sweden. This is the flagship sedan that replaced the Volvo S80. This is a radically different car than we’ve seen from Volvo, as it tries to compete in the luxury sedan arena. We saw clues of this with the XC90 SUV we had earlier this year.
Outwardly, the S90 is a beautiful car…
…as evidenced by the large number of people who remarked on its looks everywhere I went. The new concave grill, the LED lights, the integrated lower spoiler, long hood, coupe-like roofline, and 20” wheels make the S90 look like a Sports sedan, which it isn’t. From the rear, you get a clean look with new taillights and built-in dual exhaust.
Under that long hood, this S90 T6 has a 2-liter, 4 cylinder engine that is both supercharged and turbocharged, and get this…this 4-cylinder engine is putting out 316-horses. You can also get a T5 that has 250-horses and it is turbocharged, but not supercharged. Both engines come with an 8-speed automatic transmission. My T6 test vehicle is all-wheel drive, but you can get the T5 in front-wheel drive.
The S90 comes in a T5 Momentum trim and also a T5 Inscription package.
If you opt for the larger engine, there is a T6 Momentum and a T6 Inscription, which is what I have today. Inscription is the top-of-the-line luxury version, and you can’t help but notice a sophisticated interior the moment you pull on the door handle.
The S90 features sumptuous Nappa leather, real wood trim, a large, flat dash with beautiful stitching and just the right amount of aluminum trim. The center console has two large closeable cup holders, a place to store your phone, and a small covered compartment for change.
Also on the console, there is a unique knob to start the car, you can engage the emergency brake, there is a switch to turn off the start/stop system, and a dial to change the drive mode.
Looking at the drive mode, you can choose from Eco, Comfort, Dynamic, and you can make adjustments to fit your driving style. There is a distinct difference in the car depending on which you choose.
The gauge cluster is analog and easy to read, and from the steering wheel you can control what you see between the tachometer and speedometer. The focal point of the dash is what looks like an iPad, and in fact, works just like an iPad. This 9” screen swipes side to side, and from top down, and operates almost every function of the car.
The touchscreen operates all the audio systems, Bluetooth, navigation system, and a host of apps, including Apple Carplay. It will also turn the car into a Wi-Fi hotspot, you can access Pandora, Sticher, and you can turn on and off all the safety systems. There is a learning curve to operate the touchscreen, so learn it while the car is parked. You will also notice virtually no knobs or buttons other than the large radio volume knob under the touchscreen, and front and rear defrosters. Plug your iPhone in, and the Apple CarPlay pops up and mirrors your phone.
Above the screen you notice a large speaker that is part of the Bowers & Wilkins premium sound system. Headroom and legroom is good for all passengers, and the S90 has a large, easy to load trunk.
Of course, Volvo is known for safety.
The S90 is loaded with safety features. At no cost you get Volvo City Safe, a low speed collision avoidance system that detects people and large animals.
You also get lane departure warning, road signs are displayed on the dash and the heads-up display, and Pilot Assist, a semi-autonomous driving system that works up to 80-miles per hour.
Pilot Assist works well as long as there are well-marked lanes. When it corrects you in a curve, the steering is a little jerky, but overall it is one of the better lane keeping and adaptive cruise control systems I’ve driven.
The S90 comes with a lot of major standard features like power moon roof, keyless entry, rearview camera, parking assist warnings, and heated power front seats.
The S90 is quiet inside.
It rides smoothly and in Dynamic Mode, it handles unusually well. You feel the road more than I expected, and I suspect that is due to 20” wheels, and the steering is a little heavy, but nothing you can’t live with.
Fuel economy is rated at 22 in town and 31 on the highway, but the highway mileage is substantially better than that at 70 miles per hour.
The S90 comes with a 4-year/50,000 mile bumper-to-bumper warranty with roadside assistance.
Let’s talk price for a moment.
Total MSRP is $66,365 and I can’t help but draw comparisons to the $51,000 2017 Genesis G80 I had just last week, which is approximately the same size. I actually found the Genesis to be a little more luxurious and had more equipment like paddle shifters and a power tilt steering wheel.
I was also disappointed that this S90 didn’t come standard with blind spot monitoring, power trunk, and cooled seats. In the interest of full disclosure, this Volvo is all-wheel drive and the Genesis was only rear-wheel drive.
All in all, the S90 is a beautiful car inside and out, it drives great, and has great acceleration, but the price point on this car has me apprehensive about how it is going to sell. Only time will tell us. Volvo calls this a luxury car, but it comes up just short of that point for me.