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Volvo S90: All-New for 2019

By Arv Voss, March 30th, 2019

The 2019 Volvo S90 is a sophisticated new luxury sedan replacing the aging S80. The all-wheel-drive, five-passenger S90 is a stylish sedan with a back seat that rivals many limos. Built on the same Scalable Product Architecture platform as the XC90, the S90 T6 also shares the XC90's supercharged and turbocharged four-cylinder engine.


The 2019 Volvo S90 comes with a semi-autonomous driving mode and automated emergency braking. A panoramic sunroof, navigation, and Apple CarPlay and Android Auto connectivity are standard fare, as well.

Trim levels include a Momentum edition (available in front- or all-wheel drive) and a more elegant, upscale AWD Inscription edition. The S90 now offers an elegant and viable alternative to the menu of both domestic and European models available.


The S90 displays a sleek aerodynamic form from stem to stern, hunkered down in a low, wide stance. Up front, the wide inwardly curved grille with its vertical slats and prominently placed Iron Cross logo is flanked by the iconic "Thor's Hammer" headlamps, with body-wide lower and side port air intakes, and diffuser. The profile generates a coupe-like image, with the "B" and "C" pillars blacked out, and with the windscreen arching gracefully to the curved roofline, culminating in a short deck with an integrated decklid spoiler. The wide rear-end cuts back inwardly and sports a short overhang.


My test Volvo S90 T6 came in AWD Inscription trim, wearing a Crystal White metallic exterior finish, with a Tan and Charcoal interior highlighted by Linear Walnut inlay trim accents. The base sticker was $54,360.


strong>Two four-cylinder engines are available: a 250-horsepower turbocharged T5; or a 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged T6 engine that delivers 316 horses. Both powerplants feature auto stop/start technology mating to a smooth eight-speed Geartronic automatic transmission with adjustable drive mode settings gearing the motive force to Volvo's all-wheel-drive system. A 400-horsepower plug-in hybrid T8 powertrain is also available.


The S90 T6's cabin serves up anything but Spartan surroundings, and the Inscription upgrade delivers a suite of such desirable luxury features as Nappa leather upholstery, walnut inlays, heated and ventilated front seats with power-adjustable lateral supports and lower cushion extensions, power sunshades for the backlight and rear door windows, four-zone climate control, LED headlamps with automatic high-beams, and more. An Advanced Package adds many high-tech safety and driver assistance features, and the Bowers and Wilkins premium sound system turns the cabin into a concert hall.


The ride and handling characteristics of the S90 T6 Inscription test car were mixed -- extremely smooth and comfortable on ideally paved surfaces, but firm (bordering on extremely firm) on irregular, worn surfaces, despite the Premium Rear Air Suspension option. A contributing factor was the optional 20-inch alloy wheels. Steering provided a direct on-center feel, but seemed to be on the light side. Braking was exemplary with virtually no fade following spirited scenarios. This latest-iteration Volvo S90 T6 sedan is intentionally more focused on luxury than sport.


The S90 T6 Volvo continues to carry the torch for stellar safety features, while advancing its design execution to a much higher degree than before. The level of sumptuous luxurious ambience has also been elevated to rival competitors in its class. All in all, the new Volvo S90 is truly an expression of satisfying contemporary Scandinavian luxury at a reasonable price.


Base price $54,350 (as tested: $71,450)
Curb weight 4,135 lbs.
Displacement 2.0-liter
Engine type 16-valve supercharged, turbocharged 4-cylinder w/DI
Epa mileage rating 21 mpg city, 31 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 15.9 gal.
Horsepower (net) 316 at 5700 rpm
Overall length 200.1 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 295 at 2200 rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Vehicle type 5-passenger AWD fill-size sedan
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