Road Test: Volvo S90 D5 PowerPulse AWD Inscription
The S90 impresses in many ways, says Julian Kirk, but the top-spec models are pricey.
SECTOR: Executive PRICE: £42,445 FUEL: 58.9mpg CO2: 127g/km
It’s been a few years since a big Volvo has made much of an impression in the executive market, but the reborn ‘90’ models are finding favour among corporate buyers.
The styling certainly helps, being imbued with some of that Scandi-chic which was pioneered on the big XC90 SUV. It works better on the S90 though; simply being a bit lower and less ‘in-your-face’ gives this model a more subtle stance on the road.
It’s fair to say the S90 saloon will be somewhat less popular than the V90 estate; think of it as Dannii Minogue rather than Kylie. Nevertheless, it’s a very accomplished car. It’s a big car, too; acres of space front and rear, plenty of light in the cabin and an unobtrusive dashboard replete with on-trend subdued lighting and a large tablet-style screen to control the car’s functions. Having tried many of these systems, I think the Volvo’s works the best – logical and very clearly signposted, it makes working the climate control, media, telephone, car settings and navigation simple.
My test week with this S90 in top-spec D5 AWD trim included a 450-mile round trip down to the south coast from my Midlands base, and to strike a cliche I genuinely arrived feeling fresh thanks to the relaxed gait of the Volvo. Once into top gear it cruises silently on the motorway, dropping down quickly when you need to pull out to overtake then shifting imperceptibly back into top to continue cruising.
But there’s no denying this is a big car, even though it does its best to mask that. Fitted with optional air suspension (£950) and 19-inch wheels (£700) the S90 has that Audi-esque ‘four-square’ feel – it’s not what I’d call sporty or firm, but then Volvo doesn’t claim that either. What is impressive is the traction offered by the AWD system, channelling drive on wet and slimy roads with little fuss.
As a package the S90 is perhaps best enjoyed in lower-spec models. Our test car weighed in at more than £50,000, but I think a D4 R-Design at £35k would make a lot more sense.
Verdict: Supremely capable, comfortable and spacious, the S90 offers a credible alternative to the German executive hegemony. Just pick your model carefully.
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