With a style all its own, the Volvo S90 stands out in the luxury-brand class. Its interior design is as simple and elegant as the exterior and provides acres of passenger space in both front and rear seats. The S90 serves as a rolling technology showcase, too, as it’s equipped with futuristic driver-assistance features and offers a unique turbocharged and supercharged engine in addition to a plug-in hybrid version with usable electric-only driving range. If the S90’s ride and handling were as refined as the rest of the car, it would create even more of a disruption in this highly competitive field of luxury sedans.
What’s New for 2018?
All S90’s receive a 4.7-inch stretch for 2018, and almost all of that extra length goes to the rear passenger compartment. Optional heated and ventilated seats and rear sunshades allow passengers to luxuriate in comfort and privacy, and a panoramic sunroof is now standard across the lineup. There’s also a new plug-in hybrid model that produces 400 horsepower from its gasoline-electric powertrain. The infotainment system receives some improvements, and the S90’s list of active safety features has also been expanded.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The S90’s base T5 engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder making 250 hp; it drives the front wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission. The optional higher-potency T6 engine adds a supercharger to the turbo 2.0-liter, pushing output to 316 hp; and it comes with standard all-wheel drive. Neither of these powerplants have the refinement we’d expect in a luxury sedan. The big news for 2018 is the introduction of the 400-hp plug-in hybrid T8 version of the S90. It’s quick off the line, but give the hybrid’s gas pedal a sharp input and there’s a momentary delay, followed by an abrupt moment of acceleration as the gasoline engine kicks in. During more sedate driving, this issue rarely presents itself. Surprisingly agile but not exactly compliant, the S90 exhibits handling that is surefooted and lends a sportiness that its class rivals lack. The trade-off is a ride that might be too stiff for some buyers, and rough stretches of road transmit more vibrations into the cabin than in more softly sprung competitors.
EPA fuel-economy testing and reporting procedures have changed over time. For the latest numbers on current and older vehicles, visit the EPA’s website and select Find & Compare Cars.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
The base S90 comes with enough comfort and convenience features to satisfy most buyers. Higher trims and options pile on the luxury with niceties like Nappa leather upholstery, heated and ventilated seats, and four-zone climate control. Inside the cabin and the trunk, the S90’s cubbies and bins offer useful places to stash smaller items. Volvo’s sedan has enough cargo space for long trips, and models with the folding rear seatback offer a cavernous cargo area. Have even more gear to cart around? Check out the V90, the S90’s wagon-bodied sibling.
Infotainment and Connectivity
The S90 is as connected as any of its rivals, and it relies heavily on its infotainment touchscreen to control many of its functions. Response times are good, and USB ports and power outlets are plentiful. All S90s feature a 9.0-inch infotainment touchscreen mounted in the center of the dashboard. The system is easy enough to use, but the driver will have a learning curve before feeling comfortable to make changes on the go. The S90 offers Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity as standard, allowing users to easily interact with their smartphones.
Safety Features and Crash Test Ratings
Some older vehicles are still eligible for coverage under a manufacturer’s Certified Pre-Owned (CPO) program. For more information visit our guide to every manufacturer’s CPO program.