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New 2017 Volvo S90 sedan is a big upgrade for Swedish automaker Featured

May 14, 2017 Hit: 152 Written by 
Volvo's S90 is a new sedan model for 2017; replacing the S80
Volvo's S90 is a new sedan model for 2017; replacing the S80 Photo by Matt Myftiu/AutoTechReviews.com

Sometimes you gotta try something new.

Without much fanfare for their previous midsize sedan (the S80), Volvo got in redesign mode and debuted the Volvo S90 for the 2017 model year.
A major improvement on its predecessor, I recently spent some time in an S90 and I’ll let you know how it measures up in the always-competitive luxury sedan segment.

1. LUXURY ABOUNDS

The exterior design of the S90 makes a statement -- this isn’t your dad’s Volvo.
You get a classy design up front that screams luxury (elegantly titled the “Upright Waterfall Front Chrome Grille”), and an overall sharp look that will get you some attention. That’s not often said about a Volvo, but it can be said about the S90. Part of the improvement is a sleek new headlight design (LED lights in an design called “Thor’s Hammer” -- another great bit of language from the Swedish automaker)

Diving inside, even when compared to other midsize luxury sedans, the S90 has a well-appointed and comfy interior. One specific detail I noticed was that the leather steering wheel feels great in hands. It’s also very roomy, even in back.

Additional Info

  • Vehicle:: 2017 Volvo S90
  • Price as tested:: $66.365 (starts at $46,950)
  • Best feature:: Plush, comfy interior; Volvo safety innovation
  • Rating:: 3.5 out of five stars
  • Who will want this vehicle?:: Luxury sedan buyers who value safety and comfort above power and overall ride quality

The center console is well-designed. There are vertical air slots on both sides of the Sensus touchscreeen system, with a metal trimming underneath, and high-quality wood trim on both sides.

Other touches inside are the power moonroof with sunshade, leather upholstery, heated front seats, rear park assist and camera, four zone climate control, door handle illumination, plus the aforementioned leather-wrapped steering wheel and walnut wood inlays. Volvo might not be the first brand that comes to mind when luxury is mentioned, but the S90 is definitely a luxury ride.

 

2. RIDE QUALITY IS A MIXED BAG
There are a couple of engine options offered on the S90. Both are of the four-cylinder variety.  I tested a 316 horsepower supercharged and turbocharged engine, and there is also a 250 horsepower turbocharged option.

While there was definitely power, I found the S90 to have a noisy ride as compared to other luxury sedans I have tested. Also, the steering wasn’t as responsive as I would have preferred.
All S90 vehicles have an 8-speed automatic transmission, and you can choose front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive.

One helpful feature is the drive modes -- which let you choose between Comfort, Dynamic, ECO and Individual modes. Dynamic is the most fun, ECO the least, with Comfort in the middle.

3. TECH HIGHS AND LOWS

On the positive side, the Bowers and Wilkins sound is impressive, and includes a Concert Hall mode, a unique feature to the Volvo lineup. The sound is among the best you’ll hear in a vehicle. There is also an option for a 4G connection in the vehicle. Apple CarPlay is also offered for better integration of your iPhone.

Now, the frustrating parts:
The Infotainment system (a tablet-like Sensus 9-inch touchscreen) was hit or miss for me. I found it to be unresponsive at times and hard to figure out compared to the tech setups in other luxury sedans.
The vehicle was also bad at voice recognition at times, particularly in regards to navigation. I just gave up a few times it wouldn’t understand what I was saying, and it often took multiple times repeating an address.

4. EXCELLENT ON SAFETY

Volvo is known worldwide for its safety innovations; no exception here.
Among standard tech features are a forward collision warning system with auto emergency braking. This system can detect pedestrians and even large animals.

Also, Volvo is a leader in the race to autonomous cars. Drive Assist allows the vehicle to steer itself with limited driver involvement.

There are other safety features too, all with the same goal of top-level safety: Low Speed Collision Avoidance System, Run-off-road protection and mitigation, Whiplash Protection system, Unibody High Strength Steel Safety Cage, seat belt pretensioners, Tire pressure monitor, LED headlights and fog lamps with corner illumination.

Volvo even goes to the level of using the strongest steel available on much of the body (hot-formed boron steel, to be specific).

Curiously, the Blind Spot information system is not standard, and must be chosen as an option.
Other options include a 360 degree Surround View camera, and a Head-up display so you can see your speedometer without looking down.

5. FUEL MILEAGE, PRICING

The Volvo S90’s fuel mileage are on par with its competition, or at worst just a bit shy (22 city/31 highway/25 combined are the numbers). I came close to those numbers while driving the S90.
My test vehicle was decked out with options and came in over $66,000; base price starts just under $47,000 … So there’s a wide range depending on how how many features and options you choose.

BOTTOM LINE

The main competition for the S90 includes a pretty tough crowd: Audi A6, BMW 5-series, Mercedes-Benz E-class, Lincoln MKZ, Cadillac CTS and more.
Being a new model, it will have to prove itself, but I can say without a doubt that it’s an improvement on the S80 and should help Volvo out in this segment.

It succeeds most in the areas of luxurious and comfortable design, and safety options. It struggles most in the infotainment area and in overall quality of the driving experience.
Depending which of those things are more important to you, it may be the luxury sedan that suits you most.

 

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Matt Myftiu can be found on Twitter @MattMyftiu.

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Matt Myftiu

Matt Myftiu has been a journalist for two decades with a focus on technology, NASCAR and autos.

Website: www.autotechreviews.com Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

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