2016 Volvo S90 Review
Car Tested: 2016 Volvo S90; Road Test No. 752
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 65 lakhs (est.)
The Volvo S90 offers you a truly special feel that very few sedans possess, even at this price
I don’t know where to begin. I’m surrounded by premium Nappa leather and rich walnut wood all around me and I think I’m getting a sense of being cocooned in something super luxurious and special. But hey, I got this same feeling around a year back too. That time, I was driving the Volvo XC90 in Lonavala, but this time around we’re in the all new Volvo S90 out here in Jodhpur.
Motor Quest: The Volvo S90 is based on the SPA architecture and shares a lot of components with the Volvo XC90. The exteriors have a lot of similar styling elements, the interiors are similar too and even the engine is the same, albeit in a different state of tune. We can easily state that the only differentiating factor between the XC and S is the body shell.
Exteriors – The Volvo S90 comes with a multi-slat grille finished in rich chrome and on either side are the sharp headlamps with the Thor’s Hammer LED DRLs which are shared with the XC90. The front looks very dominating and the road presence is simply unmatched. The side profile is neat and the body line flows along flawlessly. The S90 comes with standard 18-inch alloys. The company also offers larger wheels, some of which look elegant while some look sporty. Moving to the rear, the design seems like a mixed bag. The tail lamps come with a C-shaped design and the boot lid has Volvo written on it. The number plate is placed on the bumper, thus giving the S90 a bit of a different look as compared to other sedans in the same segment. On the whole, the S90 is definitely a looker. While the Mussel Blue shade on our test car makes it look elegant, Volvo also offers a bunch of other colours which are equally premium-looking.
Interiors – Step inside the S90 and the first thing you notice is the sheer amount of leather everywhere. The dashboard of our test car was draped in black leather while the lower part of the dash had a light beige shade. The same materials are carried over to the centre console and the door pads too. The AC vents get a vertical design while there is a large touchscreen right at the centre. The dashboard also gets walnut wood inlays which are natural and haven’t been polished or spruced up. There is a thin metal strip flowing across the length of the dashboard and the whole strip is a single unit. There is quite a lot of attention to detail on the inside and even the circular knobs on the AC vents get a diamond cut finish.
There are way too many high-tech features inside the cabin of the S90
The front seats are very comfortable and they have been designed after talking to orthopaedic doctors. The seats offer brilliant support and can be adjusted for rake, height, lumbar and side bolster. There is even a cushion extender which is very useful in providing better under thigh support. The rear seats are equally supportive but I felt the backrest to be a bit too upright. Under thigh support at the rear could have been slightly better. While shoulder space is generous, my head was just about inch away from the roof. Leg room is fairly sufficient but there is a very thick tunnel which limits space for a third passenger at the rear. The rear centre armrest is large in size and comes with cupholders too. The rear windows come with sun shades but we couldn’t find one for the rear windscreen. There are a decent number of cubbyholes inside. The doors can take a water bottle each along with other nitty gritties while there are also a couple of storage spaces at the centre.
You get automatic climate control along with a 3-zone AC. The front seats are ventilated and have cooling/heating functions. The boot is large enough to hold 500-litres and the boot lid can be opened by waving your foot below the tail gate. The Bowers & Wilkins audio system is a pleasure to hear and comes with some preset audio settings. However, you can play around with the intensity settings too if you want. There are a ton of features on offer such as interior motion sensor with alarm, 12.3-inch driver display, automatically dimmed mirrors, Heads Up Display, Park Assist Camera, Park Assist Pilot, CarPlay and a lot more. The S90 will be offered only in the Inscription trim and Volvo wants to offer every feature as standard.
Performance – The Volvo S90 comes with the same engine as the XC90. The 2.0-litre oil-burner now produces 190 horses and 400 Nm of torque. Mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission, the powertrain does a really smooth job of moving the S90. There is a fair amount of engine clatter heard outside but NVH levels are brilliant and you cannot hear the clatter inside the cabin. Start the car and get going, the S90 responds quickly to throttle inputs. Once the revs starting building up, you realise that there there is some turbo lag. Once you get past that, the car accelerates with a good enough pace. However, you do not get an aggressive push-back feeling. Touching high speeds isn’t a problem and the S90 even climbs up to 200 km/hr at a very steady pace.
The S90 excels in cruising but the gearbox is slow to respond to throttle inputs
The mid-range is very strong and but there isn’t much action after 4000 RPM. 0-100 km/hr comes up in around 8.8 seconds. You get the usual driving modes – Eco, Comfort and Dynamic to choose from. The S90 is well-suited to Comfort mode and cruises around effortlessly. Switch to Dynamic and you notice that the gearbox holds onto higher revs. The steering and suspension also feel a bit stiffer. However, if you smash the throttle fully, there will be a lag of 1-2 seconds before the car will accelerate and this happens in Dynamic mode too. Eco mode is useful when you want to extract marginally more fuel efficiency. The S90 cruises at 100 km/hr in top gear at a notch above 1500 RPM. The 8-speed gearbox is smooth but feels a bit slow to respond at times. The gearbox doesn’t come with S mode and neither does the car get paddle-shifters. You do get a manual mode though. On the fuel efficiency front, you can expect around 9.5-10.5 km/l from the S90. Overall, the S90 makes for a brilliant cruiser and it can go on and on.
Driving Dynamics – The Volvo S90’s steering is feather-light at city speeds and it starts weighing up nicely on the highways. The steering could have done with more feedback though. The S90 gets an air suspension set-up at the rear and while it offers a very plush and luxurious ride, we found the ride to be a bit too soft. The S90 remains extremely stable at high speeds and even while cornering, it feels very predictable. The brakes do a brilliant job of shedding speeds and the silent Pirelli P-Zero tyres have amazing levels of grip too. Due to the long wheelbase, you need to be a bit careful on some nasty speed breakers unless you want to scrape the car’s belly.
Safety and After Sales Service – Volvo is slowly and steadily increasing its dealership network across the country and currently they have presence in most major cities. On the safety front, the S90 is equipped with SIPS airbags, inflatable curtains, whiplash protection, pretensioners for all seats, EBA, Intelligent Driver Information System, Lane Keeping Aid, Hill Start Assist, etc.
Verdict – The Volvo S90 is definitely very lovable and the entire package feels very complete. It is very hard to find any major flaws with the car and honestly we think it is easily one of the best offerings in its segment right now. The S90 should really be your pick if you want finesse, exclusivity, superior comfort and oodles of technology. For those who want more power, Volvo will launch the S90 D5 AWD in 2017 too.
* The styling is brilliant and the S90 has presence
* The interiors are a cut above the rest
* Features are galore and can keep you entertained all day long
* Suspension offers a very plush ride
What’s Not So Cool
* More power from the engine would have been welcome
* Volvo’s dealer network isn’t as strong as rivals
Alternatives: Audi A6, BMW 5-Series, Jaguar XF, Mercedes E-Class
Volvo S90 Specifications
* Engine: 1969cc, DOHC, 4-cylinder
* Power: 190 HP
* Torque: 400 Nm
* Transmission: 8-speed automatic
* 0-100 km/hr: 8.8 seconds (est.)
* Top Speed: 230 km/hr
* Fuel Consumption: 10 km/l
* Fuel Type: Diesel
* Suspension: Double Wishbone (Front), Self-levelling air springs (Rear)
* Tyres: 245/45/18
* Brakes: Disc brakes, ABS
* Safety: 6 Airbags, Whiplash Protection (front seats), Emergency Brake Assist, Intelligent Driver Information System, Lane Keeping Aid, Hill Start Assist, TPMS
Volvo S90 Dimensions
* Overall Length x Width x Height: 4963 mm X 1890 mm X 1443 mm
* Wheelbase: 2941 mm
* Ground Clearance: 152 mm
* Fuel Tank Capacity: 55-litres