Volvo’s new S90 surprised us. We hadn’t seen one up close let alone driven one before it was delivered for a review and that’s a great shame because this is a car executives should be considering when test driving all the usual suspects (BMW, Audi, Merc). Unlike the Germans, the Swedes have gone with a smaller turbo-charged 2.0litre 4 cylinder engine which delivers 173 kW (235 hp) and 480Nm of torque in the D5 derivative and it is more than adequate. Acceleration is brisk with 0 – 100km/h claimed to be 7 seconds and a top speed of 240 km/h.
Driving the Volvo there just never seems to be any need to rush. Steering is precise and with just enough feedback to keep you alert, although the safety systems like lane assist will quickly correct any errant steering or remind you that you should indicate to change lanes by gently resisting. If this system can’t be turned off on German luxury cars what will we say about them not indicating?
The interior of the Volvo is classy by elimination. I wanted to call it simple but that isn’t fair. Everything is there it’s just done in such a way that it’s not in your face. The huge tablet like infotainment screen is built into the dash so that it doesn’t protrude like an afterthought. Swipe left, swipe right, swipe up or down everything is there and so easy to use.
Back to the infotainment system. It’s smooth and efficient without rainbows and unicorns. The Sensus (that’s what Volvo call it) eliminates the need for all the usual knobs and dials you’ve become accustomed to. The dashboard is fully digital but it’s done in such a way that could easily mistake the dials for analogue, throw in the navigation map between the speedometer and rev counter and you may never look across the dash again. The navigation software is easy to use and the navigation system knew all the road closures and even warned when driving near speeding cameras and schools with an icon on the dash next to the speedometer thanks to it’s ability to read traffic signs.
Driving is just as easy. The 8 speed auto box can be used in three modes, eco, comfort and dynamic. Dynamic is fun but the S90 isn’t designed to be flung into corners, and that’s not to say you can’t, we just don’t think you’ll be tempted to do it.We drove in the eco mode to experience it and while fuel saving is a direct benefit we’re still not a fan of the engine turning off at every stop and as a result spent most of our time in the comfort setting where the auto-off can be disabled with one button.
The Volvo S90 is a large vehicle at almost 5 meters between plates and while it doesn’t feel that big when you’re driving it definitely explains the ample rear seat legroom and the cavernous boot. Safety is again a focus with the Volvo monitoring the road and intervening if you’re not alert. In cruise mode we found the automatic speeding up and slowing down to keep a preset following distance a little strange at first but soon became used to it. Semi-autonomous driving is here with the Pilot Assist and it’s a short jump to fully autonomous in our opinion.
The thing that we enjoyed the most was the simplicity. And the comfort. In conclusion this is a great vehicle and should not be overlooked when in the market for a luxury saloon car. I’m just going to watch the video again, join me.
Base price for the S90 R 712 400
Price as driven S90 D5 Inscription +- R 970 000
The price includes a 5-years/100 000 km maintenance plan as well as a 5-years/100 000 km warranty.
Click through to the Volvo page and build your own.