Volvo S90 Review logo

Volvo S90 Review

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heycar review

      Launch year
      2016
      Body type
      Premium
      Fuel type
      Petrol, Diesel, Hybrid
heycar editorial team

Written by

heycar editorial team

00/10
heycar rating
“Scandi take on posh class”

Best bits

  • Efficient hybrid power
  • Cabin quality and space
  • Driving comfort

Not so great

  • Not as sharp as some to drive
  • Steep list price
  • Restricted boot opening

Read by

Volvo S90 Front Side View

Overall verdict

Volvo S90 Electric Infotainment

On the inside

Volvo S90 Front Side View

Driving

Volvo S90 Right Side View

How much does it cost to run

Volvo S90 Rear Side View

Prices, versions and specification

Overall verdict

"With the S90, Volvo finally has a high quality saloon that's easily a match for the competition. With a genuine sense of luxury inside, a beautifully smooth ride and an excellent engine, the S90 is one impressive premium saloon that offers a genuine alternative to the usual four-door suspects and does it with a distinct Scandinavian twist that many will find appealing."

Volvo S90 Front Side View

It replaces the S80 in Volvo's range, but the two are like chalk and cheese. This is one of a new breed of Volvo cars that follows on from the impressive XC90. True, the estate V90 version will probably make more sense for many as, after all, Volvo is well renowned for its estates. However, if you don't need the extra carrying room, the S90 will be right up your street as an alternative to the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series or Mercedes E-Class saloons.


The S90 started life with just one 2.0-litre diesel engine. It may sound too small for a car this size but with twin turbochargers it offered more than enough performance. The entry-level D4 has 190PS and we think it provides all the power you'll need, while running costs are reasonable. The D5 used the same engine with 235PS, but doesn't feel that much quicker in everyday driving. It does however come with all-wheel drive as standard.


Volvo also added petrol-powered T4 and T5 models to the S90 range, but the Swedish manufacturer has now dropped them in favour of the T8 Plug-In Hybrid four-wheel drive model it calls Recharge. It comes with a 303PS 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine and 87PS electric motor capable of taking the car up to 37 miles on battery power alone. Carbon dioxide emissions of 44g/km and a combined official consumption of 148.7mpg.


As well as these impressive figures, another thing that really stands out is the S90's comfort. It's wonderfully quiet on the move, the ride quality is excellent and the seats incredibly comfortable. We can think of no better car for covering long distances.


With a high quality interior, the Volvo has a genuine feeling of luxury thanks to lots of leather and different interior trims so you can create your own Scandinavian hideaway. The quality of the finish is top notch and features like the huge touchscreen that dominates the dash make this feel very different from the competition.


It drives well too and is a huge improvement on the S80. The onus is still on comfort, but the S90 corners impressively with responsive and well weighted steering. It isn't a small car though, which you notice in tight car parks or down narrow country lanes.


There is a huge range of safety kit fitted, as you’d expect from Volvo, including a semi-autonomous driving system. This matches the speed of the car ahead, keeps you in lane and will even slow to a complete stop before accelerating back up to the selected speed, all without you doing anything. It's clever stuff and does actually come in handy in real world driving which is exactly where this Volvo excels. 

Is the Volvo S90 right for you?

For anyone in the market for an executive saloon who has a modicum of an environmental conscience, the Volvo S90 has to be a contender for your cash. It now only comes in T8 Plug-In Hybrid form with excellent emissions and fuel economy, as well an electric-only range that will suit city-bound commuters.


There’s also four-wheel drive as standard with the S90, making it ideally suited to all-weather driving. It’s swift, comfortable and sure-footed, though not quite as much fun to drive as a BMW 5 Series.


The S90 also has its uniquely Scandinavian cabin appeal. Where its German rivals can feel a little austere inside, the S90 has a simple, clean approach to comfort and style, and it’s all put together nicely.


What’s the best Volvo S90 model/engine to choose?

Now that Volvo has slimmed down the S90’s engine range to just the T8 Plug-In Hybrid, this is your only option when buying new. The 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine is a strong performer thanks to its 303PS, which drives all four wheels through a slick eight-speed automatic gearbox.


In this model that Volvo has branded Recharge , it also has an 87PS electric motor. It can drive the car for up to 37 miles on just battery power and can be topped up by plugging the car into any of the usual charge point options.


When choosing an S90, the choice of trims is now a straight pick between the sportily styled R-Design or the Inscription that costs about £1000 more. While the R-Design’s more hip-gripping seats look good, we’d take the Inscription model as it has ventilated and massaging front seats with position memory that qualify this version’s comfort credentials.


What other cars are similar to the Volvo S90?

While the usual German trio of the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class are all superb executive saloons, none has quite the distinct flavour of the Volvo S90 that reflects its Swedish heritage. For something with this sort of standout appeal, you need to look to the Jaguar XF for its smooth ride, nifty handling and classy cabin.


Or, you could opt for a Japanese take on the executive theme with the Lexus ES. It also comes with hybrid power, though it’s not of the plug-in variety and the ES is an even more acquired taste than the Volvo for often conservative executive class buyers.


Learn more

Volvo S90 Electric Infotainment

On the inside

Volvo S90 Front Side View

Driving

Volvo S90 Right Side View

How much does it cost to run

Volvo S90 Rear Side View

Prices, versions and specification