Volvo S90 – The best in its segment?
Volvo’s S90 is the Swedish brand’s answer to the new Mercedes-Benz, Audi’s A6 and BMW’s 5-Series. The new S90 shares nothing in common with the car it replaces; in fact, it is more in sync with the XC90 SUV. Both products share a very familiar design and come with well-specced, luxurious interiors and happen to be based on the same scalable platform architecture. The S90 is the second model to be built on this platform and is also the second new Volvo to be launched after Geely took over.
Volvo Cars have aimed more at making their products comfortable than sporty. This is something our market is bound to take to very well, particularly considering that most buyers in this segment choose to sit at the back. On the outside, the Volvo S90 looks properly modern and elegant. We’ve all seen the XC90 from Volvo Cars, and the Volvo S90 has a lot of details inspired by its SUV sibling. Up-front, it features the Thor hammer headlamps, a chrome grille and a smooth-surfaced front-end. The long bonnet of the Volvo S90 is immediately evident, along with a sporty air dam and a nice roofline that slopes gently towards the back. Even from the back, the S90 looks classy with those huge C-shaped tail lamps and all those crisp lines.
On the inside too, there are hints of the XC90. Since the S90 is built on the same wheelbase as the XC90, there’s lots of legroom and a lot of lovely design elements have been carried over too. The interior is a combination of expensive leather, genuine wood and other great details. We like the vertically stacked AC vents that get a chrome finish for the controls. There’s a lot of chrome used inside the cabin, and you’ll love how the start-stop knob and the drive selector get a knurled metal look. Even the door pads get chrome, leather and wood on them, along with the Bowers & Wilkins speakers incorporated inside. What cannot go unnoticed is the 9.0-inch infotainment screen that is positioned vertically. It features various controls for the functioning of the AC and the lane departure warning, to name a few. However, there are controls found on three screens, meaning you’ll need to flick right and left to use it. The cabin is beautifully built, but plastics in certain areas are not up to the mark. The front seats are comfortable, wide and tall, and can be adjusted for thigh support. The seats get a nappa leather finish and come with a cooling function.
Legroom at the rear is aplenty; space is not an issue. But the seat is lacking sufficient support and the backrest is set a bit upright. You do feel comfortable, by and large, but Volvo should’ve paid a little more attention here. The wide transmission tunnel means the third passenger at the back will find it a squeeze. Boot space, however, is fantastic at 500 litres. Plus, there’s a space-saver spare on offer. The S90 is available only in the Inscription variant, so you get equipment like a Bowers & Wilkins multi-speaker 1,400-watt high-end audio system, full LED headlights, four-zone climate control, a leather dashboard, a powered boot lid, lane-keeping assist, heads-up display, walnut wood inlays, Apple Car Play and a sub-woofer.
The Volvo S90 is powered by a 2.0-litre diesel engine, producing 187bhp and 400Nm of torque, with power being sent to the front wheels through an 8-speed auto transmission. It also gets air suspension at the back. The diesel motor is quite refined and it is quiet at idle. Even when the engine gets working, you don’t hear much clatter. Once the revs begin to climb, the engine gets smooth, and the pull up to 4000rpm is strong, and it’ll happily rev too. It can be mistaken for being a petrol car in the manner in which it behaves. There’s never a shortage of performance and acceleration is impressive. Towards the higher rpms though, the engine sounds vocal. Ride quality is up there with the best; cabin insulation is good and the soft suspension help it tackle bad patches effortlessly, and despite those 18-inch wheels, you don’t feel any thuds filter through.