Review 2017 Volvo S90 T6 Inscription…Skoal!



I like surprises; the good ones mind you, not the bad ones.  Pizza for dinner? Good. Bouncing a check? Bad. Recently I had a surprise; a good one. All thanks to Volvo.

To me, Volvo has always been a sort of vanilla brand. Much like the Scandinavian heritage the company has, Volvo cars have always been somewhat sedate, plain, and well, boring.

Turns out I was so wrong.

Volvo delivered the new S90 sedan for a recent week, and trust me when I tell you; this is not the Volvo of old. The S90 is Volvo’s entry into the midsize luxury sedan market. It’s a segment dominated by Mercedes, BMW and Lexus among others. BMW and Mercedes have introduced refreshed models for 2017, meaning this new Volvo has some tall competition.  But in my opinion it can run with them big dogs.

The S90 replaces the S80, the former flagship, and uses Volvo’s SPA (Scalable Product Architecture) platform, which was introduced on the XC90 last year. It’s available in front- or all-wheel-drive configurations and a plug-in hybrid (the S90 T8) will soon join the fleet, along with a wagon version.

The 2017 Volvo S90 is available with two engines and two trim levels called Momentum and Inscription.

Standard equipment on the base Momentum includes, keyless entry and ignition, dual-zone climate control, leather upholstery, a sunroof,10-way power front seats, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, and a rearview camera. Tech includes a navigation system, a 9-inch touchscreen infotainment display, a 10-speaker audio system with USB and auxiliary inputs, and satellite radio all atop 18-inch alloy wheels.  There are also some nice touches like approach lighting, real wood interior accents and rear headrests that fold down when there are no passengers in the back seats to improve visibility.



Moving up to the Inscription level adds upgraded front seats that are heated and ventilated, Napa leather upholstery and a leather wrapped dash, four-zone climate control, a 12-inch instrument IPad type display and walnut accents. There are also adaptive headlights with washers, and 19-inch wheels.

There are also a few option packages. For the Momentum, there is the Plus package that adds a few of the Inscription items like the four-zone climate control, adaptive LED headlights and a larger instrument display. There’s also the Climate pack with heated front and rear seats a heated steering wheel, and something I’ve never seen, heated wiper fluid nozzle and a heated windshield.

The Vision pack has blind-spot and rear cross traffic alert, a 360-degree view camera and automatic dimming side mirrors. The Convenience pack gives you autonomous parking with front parking sensors and a power trunk lid along with a compass embedded in the rearview mirror.

Standalone options include the autonomous parking with front parking sensors, air suspension on the rear, special 19 and 20-inch alloy wheels, a heads-up display, a Bowers & Wilkins premium audio system and a wood-inlay steering wheel.

A sort of “Easter Egg” if you will is what Volvo elected to call their running lights. No, they aren’t simply called “running lights”, they are “Thor’s Hammer daytime running lights”.  One can imagine the stiff, starched Volvo execs snickering in the conference room when someone introduced that phrase.

Under the hood there are one of two versions of Volvo’s Drive-E engine, a 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder, coupled to an eight-speed Aisin-Warner automatic transmission. The S90 gets the more powerful one delivering 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft torque while the T5 models get a 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft torque variant.

On first glance the S90 is one of the better looking cars on the market today. The long lean body with clean lines gives an air of elegance that carries over to the interior. And oh that interior. Among the luxury sedans I have tried in the past few years, the S90 is my clear-cut fav. The modern, minimalist lines, accent by real wood and leather gives an upscale appearance that is hard to match anywhere else. I was instantly impressed and got the same feeling the first time I sat in a Rolls (seriously).

That luxurious feeling carries over to the road. The four-cylinder engine delivers surprising performance and once you get used to the quirky controls on IPad style touchscreen on the center stack, something else seen nowhere else, the driving experience delivered by the S90 is comparable to luxury sedans costing much more. It’s not sporty, but smooth and quiet inside the roomy cabin.  The sound system with several unique presets, is also one of the better sounding ones I’ve had.

I really liked the surprise I had with the Volvo S90. It’s a definite player in the upscale luxury sedan market. If I were in the market for a luxury sedan and ignored Volvo, I would be in for a very bad surprise if I saw one after I had brought something else. The Scandinavians have done well with the S90, although they may not be much when it comes to humor.

The 2017 Volvo S90 T6 AWD Inscription
MSRP: $52,950
MSRP (as tested): $66,105
Engine: 2.0 liter turbocharged/supercharged I4 316hp  @ 5700 rpms, 295 lb-ft torque @2200 rpms
Transmission: 8-speed shiftable automatic
Fuel Mileage (EPA): 22 city, 31 highway, 25 combined
Fuel Mileage (as tested, mixed conditions): 26 mpg
Base Curb Weight     4222

Interior Dimensions (in)
Passenger Capacity     5 adults
Front Head Room     38.7
Front Leg Room     42.2
Front Shoulder Room     57.5
Second Head Room     37.8
Second Leg Room     35.9
Second Shoulder Room     55.9

Exterior Dimensions (in)
Wheelbase     115.8
Length, Overall     195.4
Width, Max w/o mirrors     74
Height, Overall     56.8
Track Width, Front     64.1
Track Width, Rear     63.7
Min Ground Clearance     6
Trunk Volume     13.5

Basic Miles/km 50,000
Basic Years 4
Corrosion Miles/km Unlimited
Corrosion Years 12
Drivetrain Miles/km 50,000
Drivetrain Years 4
Maintenance Miles/km 36,000
Maintenance Years 3
Roadside Assistance Miles/km Unlimited
Roadside Assistance Years 4
All specs can be found here

Greg Engle