Our Volvo S90 review explains how much the brand has evolved in terms of not just styling but refinement, comfort and importantly in luxury
The global debut of the all-new S90 flagship sedan was hosted at the North American International Auto Show in January 2016. While not a direct replacement to the second generation S80 early on sale in India, it is the whole new product playing the successor role and was developed from the ground up. It competes against the Mercedes E-Class, Audi A6, Jaguar XF and BMW 5-Series luxury sedans and our Volvo S90 review will explain you its major traits compared to its rivals.
Largely associated with the range-topping XC90 SUV, it shares the latest design language, alluring interiors while being built on the same scalable platform architecture. None can deny the fact that Volvo’s new Chinese owner Geely has injected a fresh flow of enthusiasm into the Swedish brand and as a consequence, the S90 is the second vehicle to come as fresh and awe-inspiring.
It is evident that Volvo has put so much effort in making the S90 as stylish as possible. With that said, the design ethos is carefully crafted as well with a sharper stance that would grab attention among the crowd when you pass by.
Designed by Volvo’s Thomas Ingenlath, the front fascia of the S90 luxury sedan takes inspiration from the latest XC90 with the now signature Thor’s Hammer headlamps and is based on the Volvo Concept Coupe first showcased at the 2013 Frankfurt Motor Show.
We would reckon it as the best sedan design from Volvo in the latest range of vehicles as it’s simple, aggressive and very detailed. The sleeker front grille with numerous vertical slats is influenced by the older P1800 sportscar. It features long bonnet, dropping roofline and larger air dams.
The side profile is simple and has perceived minute character lines and comprises of large window glass area compared to the outgoing S80. With rich-looking styling, 18-inch ten-spoke diamond cut alloy wheels add extra grace. The rear-end design is eye catching as well with C-shaped & Thor’s Hammer inspired tail lamps alongside the sporty dual integrated tail pipes.
The big bold Volvo lettering written in the middle of the bootlid further substantiates the overall appearance. As each of its rivals has unique individual exterior, the Vovlo S90 is surely one of the best the segment has on offer as the tagline ‘Queen on the Wheels’ suits aptly.
The S90 sedan is the longest and widest vehicle in the top-notch luxury segment compared to Audi A6, BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. It measures 4,963 mm in length, 1,890 mm in width, 1,443 mm in height and has ample wheelbase of 1,443 mm (same wheelbase as the XC90 SUV).
Volvo S90 Interior:
As similar to the XC90, the S90 has sumptuous interior elements that would feel you at plush out of the box. Plenty of interior stuff have been carried over which are wonderfully positioned with ease for use and of course the beauty of the designs.
Some posh detailing includes luxury-illustrating leather materials and wood finishes. The driver select roller, knurling bits on the start/stop button and the use of chrome across the cabin do make you relish the standout interior Volvo has on offer in the all-new S90.
Oh wait! There is more! It would definitely take time for you to assess the ‘attention-to-detail’ bits like the chrome lined door pads and premium 1400W sound audio by Bowers and Wilkins (estimated cost of around Rs. 6-8 Lakh) with Subwoofer. The instantly attractive high-res 12.3-inch touchscreen infotainment system in the centre console is used to operate pretty much every function the S90 is assigned to do. However, the controls do confuse you from the driver seat for certain operations initially.
With that said, the generally lucrative fit and finish is there to adore you as much that you won’t notice the very limited downsides at all. With very few downsides, what would hit the jackpot for Volvo is the loads of safety features made available along with the ever endearing premium quality interior when compared to the competition.
The high-spec Inscription will be the only variant offered at the launch and it will be brimmed with features like remote control buttons in steering wheel, full-LED headlights, 12-inch vertical touchscreen with Apple CarPlay and navigation, four-zone climate control, multiple airbags and whiplash protection on front seats.
Emergency brake assist, intelligent driver infotainment system, cruise control, head up display, lane keeping aid, park assist, Pirelli PZero for better grip & low tyre noise, intellisafe, collision avoiding smart braking and run-off road Mitigation.
The new Volvo S90 makes driving on highways easier and safer while leaving you in control of the car. At speeds of up to 130 km/h, the lane keeping aid help you stay in right lane.
Volvo S90 Engine and Performance:
At the launch, the Torslanda-assembled S90 sedan will have a single engine option. The 2.0-litre, four-cylinder, transversely-mounted, D4 diesel engine churns out 190 horsepower at 4,250 rpm and 400 Nm of peak torque delivered between 1,750 rpm and 2,500 rpm.
The turbocharged, inline motor from the DRIVe family comes mated to an eight-speed Aisin-made automatic gearbox which sends drive to the front wheels. Amidst being a diesel motor, kudos to Volvo engineers for the very good refinement level as the engine is silent at idle and doesn’t rattle when putting the foot down.
With near-petrol refinement, it smoothens up nicely when the rev-meter climbs and the torque delivery between 2,000 rpm and 4,000 rpm is quite instant – a perfect ingredient for city and traffic drives. It can accelerate from zero to 100 kmph in just around 8.5 seconds which is faster than some of its competitors.
There are three driving modes facilitated – Comfort, Economy and Dynamic. In the higher-end of the band, the rev-happy engine blends perfectly the performance characteristics and seamless drive. As being a comfortable luxury sedan, the NVH level is near to nothing.
Volvo S90 Ride and Dynamics:
When the German competitors concentrated on looks and sportiness and of course ride comfortable, Volvo’s key focus seems to be kept on the ‘comfort’ side which bodes well for a country like India as majority of owners would prefer to sit in the back.
The four-way power adjustable and ventilated front seats with memory function provide comfort that is highly appreciative as the driver and co-passenger sitting areas are wider and taller as well.
The lumber support, cushion extension and side support will enable the driver to feel at home in the cockpit area during long drives. Sometimes you would loathe getting off the seats due to the high-quality Nappa leather with exceptional back and thigh support.
The legroom at the back is just massive and the sedan feels extremely spacious on the inside. However, the backrest feels quite upright and stiff which would be slightly bothersome during long drives while the transmission tunnel running at the rear would make the middle passenger strain to sit.
The air spring suspension is versatile for Indian roads as it can master irregular patches and bumps with ease. The Dynamic drive mode stiffens up the setup and maintains the ride seamlessly. For a car of this size, the straight line stability at higher speeds is spectacular – giving the driver confidence to push at the top rev band.
The car feels planted on corners but needs steering lock and extra maneuvering to get things under control. Overall, the drive wasn’t alarming but light and relaxing although it does make you wonder if Volvo tuned the S90 to readily hit highways rather than tight corners.
Volvo S90 Review Verdict:
The Volvo S90 sedan has been launched and will be brought into the country as Completely Built Unit. Despite being a CBU import from Sweden, it is aggressively priced against competition at Rs. 53.5 lakh for the one-engine one-variant initial phase. The company has plans to increase the number of dealerships from 16 to around 20 by the end of this year as well.
Volvo has certainly upped its ante for India against the German trio with a slew of launches as witnessed this year from the S60 Cross Country to the market’s first plug-in hybrid SUV courtesy of the XC90 T8 variant. The S90 is going to be in the primary focus for the brand’s sales aspirations and from our test drive we would say they are going to succeed.
The S90 clicks all the right buttons in terms of spaciousness, premium features, comfort ride and most importantly the luxurious interiors. The equipment level provided is another upside as the safety features Volvo is renowned for will take you by surprise. However, if you are looking for a outright sporty luxury sedan, the S90 D4 won’t set the alarms ringing. For those speed-seeking enthusiasts, Volvo will be launching the D5 235 HP engine in the middle of 2017.
If you desire over a complete bundle of style, comfort, safety and luxury, the Volvo S90 is the right choice for you. It has the best diesel luxury sedan package in the segment and will send sleepless nights to the German trio when it enters the Indian market.