We’ve just committed a writer’s crime. Our title says way too much. Volvo has always manufactured vehicles with Ikea design and build quality, but they were never emotional purchases. They were safe. So what is going on at Volvo? Volvo sales are on pace for another record year due in large part to products like the S90.
Glancing at the specs, the S90 is unspectacular. How good could an inline 4-cylinder be? Supercharging and turbocharging an engine to within an inch of its life to wring out 316 hp and 31 MPG Highway can’t be good, can it? Surprisingly, it is.
True, the engine is a little coarse, especially in dynamic mode. It’s a 4 and it drones like a 4. Hard acceleration from a standstill results in an odd three-step process. Pressing the accelerator results in very little, save getting the revs up. Then, the supercharger jumps in. Things pick up and the turbo kicks in. Whoosh. Bam. Bam. It’s a weird feeling for performance guys, but the S90 is not a performance car. It’s meant to drift around town in comfort. That it does exceptionally well.
Cruising at a leisurely pace smooths everything out. You begin to notice just how nice the surroundings are. Interior material quality is exceptional. The Start/Stop button is actually a knob that wouldn’t look out of place in a Rolls. Standard wood trim features a flame-shaped grain pattern found in birch trees grown in Sweden, Norway, and Finland. The leather-wrapped steering wheel is hand-stitched.
Front seats are comfortable. Rear seats have room for days. Premium Sound is provided by Bowers & Wilkins, also found in contemporaries like McLaren and Maserati. The dash TFT is rich looking and configurable. Navigation can be put directly in the driver’s field of view, eliminating the need to glance at the iPad sized infotainment screen to the right.
The only glitch we encountered in our S90 experience was a weird 360 display image that made objects at the edge of the cameras look super stretched.
Overall, the Volvo S90 does luxury right. Add in a surprising starting price of just $48,100 and generous holiday deals of up to $5500 in allowances, and leases start to look like $459/month for a T5 Momentum AWD.
That’s a true bargain on a vehicle that feels easily twice the price.