With the new S90 Volvo firmly stakes its claim in the large premium saloon market writes Geraldine Herbert
What is it? The S90 is Volvo’s new premium four-door, five-seat flagship saloon. Bigger than the S80 it replaces it will be joined early next year by the V90 estate version.
Who is it aimed at? It is designed to rival the likes of BMW’s 5 series, Jaguar’s XF, the Mercedes E Class and Audi’s A6.
Styling? Eye the back of the distinctive S90 and you certainly won’t immediately identify this car as a Volvo. From the front the modern and edgy T-shaped Thor’s Hammer lights makes the S90 unmistakable on the road and it is stunning to look at. The coupe-like roofline merges seamlessly with the clean lines that sweep from the front to the rear; it is the epitome of classy and cool Scandinavian design.
Under the Bonnet? Our S90 D5 Inscription test car was powered by a 232bhp D5 diesel engine and was equipped with All wheel drive (AWD). There is also a more fuel efficient D4.
What about inside? Inside it is familiar Volvo with an uncomplicated dashboard that is intuitive enough to use without taking your eyes off the road. Key to this simplicity is the easy to operate nine-inch iPad-like touchscreen. The front seats are extremely comfortable with plenty of leg and headroom. The mix of leather, wood and polished aluminium combines to make it all very luxurious. The comforts are plenty and even the entry level spec comes with leather upholstery, LED headlights, two-zone climate control with ‘CleanZone’ air-filtration system and automatically dimming mirrors both interior and exterior as standard.
On the Road? On the road the S90 is comfortable and smooth to drive with a very impressive refinement. And while the S90 wafts along very pleasantly the handling is not quite as sharp as rivals and the steering is uninvolving. It may be argued that sporting performance is not the most important criteria for cars in this segment and the S90 is nimble, particularly for a car of its size but we just would have liked more of the fun factor.
How smart is the new S90? Pilot Assist, Volvo’s innovative semi-autonomous drive feature, is standard on every S90. It automatically keeps you at a set speed or distance from the vehicle in front, braking and accelerating with the flow of traffic, and gives gentle steering inputs to keep the car within lane markings at motorway speeds up to 130kph. Unlike previous versions of the system, it no longer needs to follow another car. Pilot Assist is another step towards fully autonomous driving.
And Safety? In keeping with the brand’s safety heritage all S90 models feature an impressive range of safety aids are such as City Safety (auto brake), road edge detection, run-off road protection, driver alert control, lane keeping aid, active bonnet, dual stage driver and passenger airbags including driver knee airbag, side impact protection system, curtain airbags, whiplash protection system, vehicle deceleration control and traction control.
What are my options? The S90 is available with a choice of two 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel engines – the fuel-efficient D4 and the powerful and refined D5 PowerPulse – and in three trim levels: Momentum, R Design and Inscription.
Will it break the bank? The front-wheel-drive 190 hp D4 is available with an eight-speed automatic gearbox from £32,555. Our test car the D5 in Inscription trim starts at £42,055.
Verdict? The S90 is the best saloon that Volvo has made and is a real premium alternative in this German dominated market. Keen drivers may favour rivals but its still a very tempting combination of luxury, comfort and technology with stunning good looks and is probably only second to ABBA in terms of Swedish accomplishments.
Why you’ll buy one? Stylish; Spacious; Refined; Safe
Why you won’t? Driving Dynamics
|S90||Trim level||HP||Nm||Combined fuel||CO2(g/km)||On-the-road price|
VOLVO S90 D5 INSCRIPTION
Engine: 1969cc, 235bhp@4000rpm, 480Nm/1750 rpm
Max speed: 145mph
0-60 : 7.3 seconds
Emissions (Motor Tax) : 127g/km
Model price range: £32,555 (Test Car £42,055)
No of Doors: 5 doors
Euro NCAP : Not yet tested
Fuel type: Diesel
Fuel Economy (combined cycle): 58.9 mpg
Boot Capacity Seats up: 500 litres
Car Seats: 2 Isofix fittings in the rear
5th December, 2016