Volvo S90/V90 road test

Posted on December 6th, 2016 by James Luckhurst

If comfort is a priority, then the Volvo is a worthy winner.

Volvo S90/V90 road test

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What is it?

The S90 saloon and V90 estate mark Volvo’s return to the large executive class to take on the likes of the Audi A6, the BMW 5 Series and the Mercedes E-Class.

How safe is it?

Every model has plenty of airbags, autonomous emergency braking, adaptive cruise control and Pilot Assist which allows the car to steer itself under the driver’s watchful supervision.

Who should buy one?
Anyone looking for comfort, quiet and lots of cabin space will be drawn to the Volvo S90 and V90. The V estate also offers an impressively cavernous and very practical boot.

Road test by Al Suttie 6 December 2016



Volvo S90/V90 road test
One of the most remarkable elements of the S- and V90’s driving manners is the way it deals with ragged road surfaces. It may not be something you pay much attention to, but you notice it in other cars after driving the Swede. It’s incredibly smooth and hushed, brushing over battered roads with a calm efficiency that delivers you to journey’s end feeling relaxed.
Another facet that is very much in favour of these cars is their refinement. Some engine noise can be heard when you press hard on the accelerator, but otherwise there’s very little audible disturbance from wind or tyres. Not only does this make the S- and V90 models great at covering long distances, it’s good news for passengers as you can converse easily between the front and rear pews without ever having to resort to raised voices.
This isn’t to say these Volvos are just soft plodders. They corner and handle with sure-footed ease and there’s the option of all-wheel drive for added traction if you go for the D5 models. None are as engaging as a BMW 5 Series on twisty roads, but the steering provides good weight and feel.
Power comes from a pair of 2.0-litre turbodiesel engines to begin with, and a T8 hybrid will follow that promises a 28-mile electric-only range and carbon dioxide emissions of just 44g/km. The 190hp D4 comes with a six-speed auto ’box and covers 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds for the S90 and 8.5 seconds for the V90. It’s a refined motor and offers as much as 64.9mpg and 116g/km CO2 emissions.
Move up to the D5 and you get all-wheel drive and 235hp, along with up to 58.9mpg and 127g/km. This motor uses PowerPulse technology to send compressed air into the turbocharger to avoid any lag, and it works very well. Put your foot down and the D5 simply pulls hard and fast up to the motorway speed limit before settling to barely a murmur.

Volvo S90/V90 road test

Previous S- and V90 models have majored on space and this new generation is no different. The driver enjoys an airy and capacious driving environment and the front seats are the most comfortable of any car in this class. Support is ideal and there’s masses of adjustment.
Move to the back seats and it’s the same story, with lots of head, leg and shoulder space for two adults. Three kids will fit with ease.
Open the boot on the S90 saloon and you find a long, wide cargo bay that offers 500 litres of space. It’s not the biggest in the class but will swallow luggage easily thanks to its uninterrupted rectangular shape.
Lift the tailgate of the V90 and you find 560 litres of space, which again is not the best in sector, but the Volvo makes up for it by using every inch of space. Drop the 60/40 split rear seats and 1526 litres of load area is freed up.

Volvo S90/V90 road test

Volvo expects a five-star Euro NCAP rating for both cars. They come with driver, passenger, side and curtain airbags, plus one for the driver’s knees. There are also Isofix seat mounts on the two outer rear chairs. Electronic aids include Driver Alert Control, Adaptive Cruise Control and City Safety autonomous emergency braking. Pilot Assist can help with steering the car on the motorway.

Volvo S90/V90 road test

The entry-point Momentum has alloy wheels, climate control, DAB digital radio, Bluetooth, 9-inch central display screen, leather upholstery with heated front seats, electric seat adjustment and keyless entry. The R-Design has 18-inch alloys, gloss black exterior details, a larger 12.3-inch colour touchscreen and Contour Sports seats. Pick the Inscription and you enjoy Nappa leather, a chrome finished grille and 10-spoke alloy wheels.


Volvo S90/V90 road test

Prices start from £32,555 for the S90, and £34,555 for the V90. In terms of fuel economy and emissions, the S90 D4 offers 64.2mpg and 116g/km of CO2, while the D5 model achieves 58.9mpg on the combined cycle and emits 127g/km. The V90 D4 does 62.8mpg and 119g/km, while the D5 provides 57.6mpg and 129g/km. Resale values should be strong for the Swede, and insurance falls between groups 27 and 33.

If comfort is a priority, then the Volvo is a worthy winner.

Price: £32,555 as tested
Performance: 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds
Economy: 64.2mpg combined
Insurance: Group 27
Tax: Band C (£0 then £30)

Figures for the Volvo S90 D4 Momentum