You'd think that picking an executive saloon would be an easy proposition, seeing that Audi, BMW and Mercedes dominate this segment. However, there is a new car in town and it is ready to shake things up. The Swedes really are back in town and it's known as the Volvo S90.
There are two engines available on the standard S90. The T5 uses a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder pumping out 250hp while the top of the range T6-AWD pumps out 315hp thanks to a turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder. We'd choose the latter here which seems to be more flexible and offer standard all-wheel-drive which really does come in handy in handling and also extra traction. The only problem we have with this all four-cylinder engine range is that these engines aren't as refined as they should be and at this price tag it really does feel unacceptable.
We love the way the S90 drives, it's not trying to be overly sporty and we are perfectly fine with that. Steering feedback is more on the 'meh' side but that's fine because it doesn't become heavy when it doesn't need to be and is actually quite smooth when at low speeds, we just wish that it offered a little more feedback to provide a little more confidence when you do decide to drive a little spiritedly into corners and bends. Handling is more safe rather than sporty but the ride comfort is so smooth that you can forgive it for not being as sharp as a 5-series but it still isn't as refined as a E-class which is a shame because the S90 undercuts all three German Rivals in price and interior refinement.
The interior infotainment system is quite easy to navigate through and all the menus are easy to use, however we still think that it can be distracting while on the go. The front seats offer superb comfort and should be expected because Volvo does make some of the best seats in the auto market. The rear seat does plenty of space for four, but trying to squeeze five abreast maybe a bit of a squeeze due to the slightly large rear transmission tunnel. The boot offers decent space too for a sedan, it's not as versatile as the V90 but you can fold the rear seat down to increase the cargo space to your liking.
Avoid the Momentum trim and go right for the Inscription and you won't regret it. On top of getting Pilot Assist – semi autonomous drive system, you get 19-inch alloy wheels. 12.3 inch digital instrument display, linear walnut wood inlays and those snazzy Full-LED headlights. You'll have to pay extra for bits like Head-up display and Premium Air suspension. You'd have to really want to splurge on those options because the S90 is already well equipped as it is. We do however, suggest opting for the air suspension because in comfort mode it feels even more opulent than a Mercedes E-class.
We loved the S90 because it really is a breathe of fresh air in terms of design inside out and overall driving experience. We just wished that Volvo made the engines more refined or offered a turbocharged six-cylinder engine option, this would make the S90 an even stronger rival towards the ever popular German Rivals. Despite that little flaw, the S90 is a worthy contender and should be on your shortlist because like we've said in the intro of this review. The Swedes are back in town.
Likes: It doesn't drive like any of its competition and we love that. Styling inside out is something that the German Rivals don't have.
Dislikes: We wish the engines were more refined. Everything else is just nitpicking.
Our pick: Go right for the Inscription trim, it undercuts all of its German Rivals in standard kit and also classy interior décor. It's pretty hard to fault the S90 for lack of driving dynamics when it's so posh and comfortable to drive, most people will want that the most in an executive saloon and the S90 delivers.