Volvo S90 T6 AWD Inscription
People Will Notice
By Ron Amadon
DAMASCUS, MD. – In the luxury car field one would be hard pressed to find a car that captured the attention of virtually every adult that watched it pass.
While fueling up one day, a man and then a woman came up wanting to know what it was and to say how handsome the S90 was. Many pedestrians gave a thumbs up to this sedan with the coupe like styling. And that’s without seeing the interior.
It was a relaxing Swedish modern, in the best sense of the word, with a hushed elegance of leather covered surfaces with contrasting stitching, walnut wood inlays and bright colors – the direct opposite of the all back interiors in too many cars.
A note on the seats. Volvo has a long history of making some of the most comfortable seats in the industry and the new guy in town continues that tradition. They were, of course, multiple ways adjustable for driver and passenger with the operator also able to adjust side bolsters. Napa leather covered as well as heated and cooled.
Two adults sitting in back will urge you to take the long way around to your destination, the seats are that good.
Two changes are recommend for the absolutely beautiful interior. Some padding would be welcome along the center console where the side of the driver’s knee rests. And the headlight stalk, which was a little tricky to operate at first, should be illuminated.
Your eye will probably quickly center on the huge 9” screen at the center of the dash. Virtually everything you want is there – navigation, audio, climate control, and all vehicle settings plus a few things I never discovered during a week of driving.
Part of my testing procedure with any vehicle is to find how many of the basic items, audio, ventilation, navi, and the all-important etc., I can set up without consulting the owner’s manual.
Volvo’s system allowed most of them to be found with a minimum of fuss, but I would strongly recommend that new owners get a through briefing on the system from a dealer before setting off for home. Not that it is all that complex, especially for the millions who have used a tablet computer, but because there is so much there.
Not there was the CD player, living instead under the center console. It was a two-step process on the screen to get it going, where on many cars you insert the disk and there is instant sound.
And what sound it was!!! The optional $2,650 Bowers & Wilkins system was simply the best I have ever heard in an automobile. Incredible crispness in mid-range and treble ranges with enough base to rattle your belt buckle. If you can conjure up the bucks for this system, do so. Think of it as an out of season Christmas gift.
Safety? Well that is another Volvo tradition. The S90 won a Top Safety Pick Plus rating from the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety.
There was semi-autonomous “Pilot Assist” software on the test car which allows it to accelerate, decelerate, come to a complete stop and steer in road conditions with clear lane markings.
So what makes this go? A supercharged and turbocharged four that prefers premium fuel with 316 hp @ 5,700 rpm and 295 lb-ft of torque @ 2,200 rpm. It was matched to an 8 speed automatic. AWD.
This sedan version of the XC-90 wagon reached the mile a minute mark in 5.9 seconds with a top speed of 133. The EPA rates it at 22/31/25 mpg and I registered 23 for the week.
Operators will like the smooth shifts and the abundance of torque in the low end plus more than enough boost for entering interstates and tackling long grades over mountains.
Excellent handling, yes, but virtually no feedback from the steering wheel, however Volvo is hardly alone on that score.
Exit and entrance ramps and favorite rural roads were fun again but there was slightly more road noise in the cabin than expected. Look for that to be addressed in future models, I am sure.
For long trips, the S90 would be the exact opposite of the cramped interior of a jetliner. While there is no charge for carry-on bags there is a generous 14 cubic foot trunk to carry them in. Hmmm, maybe check with the driver about those carry on fees.
The test Inscription model had a long list of options that added up to $12,160. Among them were “Thor’s Hammer daytime running lights,” (this is a Viking car after all), walnut wood inlays, 4-zone climate control with a cooled and quite large glove box, 19” alloy wheels “in Silver Diamond Cut,” head up display, and much more.
Get a complete lesson on that center screen to make your early days with the S90 more enjoyable. Then appreciate how this ride coddles you for the next 100,000 miles. I would rate the S90 Inscription as an exceptional buy for the $66,105 asking price.