When you think of full-size luxury sedans what often comes to mind is the German automakers who perfected the segment. But there’s a new player in the class and it’s not who you might think. The Volvo S90 is a new model for 2017 with fresh exterior styling and an overhaul inside. The new sedan’s cabin is trimmed with high-quality wood and metal accents.
Over the weekend, we drove the redesigned 2017 Volvo S90 T6 AWD Inscription model.
The 2017 Volvo S90 is an all-new midsize luxury sedan that replaces the S80 in the Swedish automaker’s lineup.
The 2017 Volvo S90 T6 AWD Inscription ($52,950) comes with a leather-wrapped steering wheel, power sunroof, LED headlights with corner illumination, keyless entry, rear park assist, rearview camera, power-folding rear headrests, Sensus Connect touchscreen, a 10-speaker 330-watt audio system, and satellite radio.
The S90 Inscription ($3,300) gets softer Nappa leather, four-zone climate control, a cooled glovebox, Apple CarPlay, USB media hub, leather dashboard panels, rear sunshades, walnut wood inlays, 12.3-inch display, 19-inch alloy wheels, and heated and ventilated front seats with power side support and cushion extension.
The optional Climate pack ($1,950) includes heated rear outboard seats, a heated steering wheel, heated wiper fluid nozzles, and heads-up display. The Vision package ($1,950) includes auto-dimming side mirrors, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and a 360-degree camera.
The Convenience pack ($1000) includes parking assist, front parking sensors, a power trunk lid, a compass embedded in the rearview mirror, and Homelink programmable buttons for the garage doors. This tester also came with a Bowers and Wilkins premium sound system ($2,650) and 20-inch Inscription alloy wheels ($750).
Total MSRP including destination: $66,105.
Stepping into the 2017 Volvo S90 reveals a contemporary, bright, and clean cabin with seats that are some of the best in class. Our tester came with a light cream interior with walnut wood inlays – chrome and metal accents wrapped across the big dash. The cabin will compete with the rival’s best example from Germany.
The seats in the S90 Inscription are wrapped in fine Nappa leather with lots of support and adjustments. The power side support and cushion extension make it conducive for long trips. We thought the driving position was more upright than usual, allowing a better view of the road.
The large 12.3-inch touchscreen serves as the central command for navigation, phone, climate, and audio functions and is easy to use and see. We had a cold snap that hit Denver and the heated steering wheel, heated seats, and wiper nozzles came in handy.
The rear seats offer plenty of room for taller adults and they get the same level of luxury as front passengers with the heated leather. The rear seatbacks fold forward, with a pass-through included for extra cargo-carrying ability. Cargo volume totals 17.7 cubic feet, including an underfloor compartment. The S90’s trunk measures 13.5 cubic feet, which is a bit small for this class.
Engine & Fuel Mileage Specs
The new Volvo S90 is powered by a super and turbocharged 2.0-liter direct-injected four-cylinder engine, generating 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque. A first-rate Aisin 8-speed automatic transmission drives all four wheels in this luxury model. EPA fuel mileage estimates are 22/31 mpg city/highway, and 25 combined with all-wheel drive. All models include engine stop-start technology.
We didn’t think a smaller 2.0-liter displacement could move this luxury sedan, but the super and turbocharged engine had more power than expected. The S90 offers a satisfying driving experience and performance is adequate in most driving situations. A shift gate allowed us to change gears manually and throttle response is quick with the T6, courtesy of its supercharger.
The S90 T6 AWD offers up a comfortable and controlled ride, but we did experience some bobbing as we traveled over the dirt road leading to our house. This was likely the result of the Inscription’s bigger 19-inch wheels. Overall, the interior is a quiet place with its tight construction and active noise cancellation to keep any engine growl and traffic noise outside the cabin.
The 8-speed automatic helps make the S90 feel especially perky with its widespread of gear ratios as we pulled away from stop lights. At highway speeds, it delivers an efficiently relaxed experience.
While you may not think of Volvo as a luxury sedan maker, the new S90 could change that as it delivers the comfort and quality materials expected in this segment. And it costs less than most comparable German sedans. The Inscription trim is extra luxurious with no shortage of cabin comforts or technology.
Denis Flierl has invested over 25 years in the automotive industry in a variety of roles. Follow his work on Twitter: @CarReviewGuy