Volvo has gained global recognition for developing one of the most opulent and safe cars. The company has recently introduced its new flagship sedan, the Volvo S90, in the Indian market in its fully-loaded Inscription trim. The sedan, similar to the entire Volvo product line-up, would be retailed as CBU while replacing the ageing S80 in the Indian market. It comes loaded with a plethora of premium features, while the exterior styling takes cues from Volvo’s latest Scandinavian design language, which has already been seen on the all-new XC90 SUV. For the time being, it has been launched in the diesel fuel trim only as the petrol variant is expected to launch next year. Volvo S90 2016 is up against the likes of BMW 5-Series, Mercedes E-Class, Audi A6 and Jaguar XF.
DESIGN AND STYLING ;
In the past, Volvos didn’t quite hit the spot with Indian car buyers as they fell short on the showiness expected of a premium brand. However, that is not the case with Volvo’s all-new line-up built on the new SPA platform. The design is striking while keeping the reassuring simplicity and solidity that has been a Volvo hallmark. The front grille with the concave elements connects the S90 to classic Volvos. A long and low bonnet coupled with a swooping roofline gives the S90 a sleek look and will help it stand out in its segment. It is very nearly a stately fastback.
There is a strength in the clean and crisp lines that give the S90 a strong-shouldered look as it runs along the sides and into the tail lamps. The rear of the S90 is also distinctive, with the large tail lamps dominating the design. The creases on the boot help to break the mass, but add a bit of fussiness to the look. The integrated exhaust openings lower down on the fender are a nice touch.
For now, the S90 will be offered only in the Inscription trim, which is absolutely feature-packed. Hence, you can see full-LED headlamps with cornering functionality, self-parking and drive-out functionality, and powered opening and closing for the boot. While 500 litres of boot space is ample, it is a bit lower than the competition and the boot shape is long and shallow. However, loading luggage will be easy as the lip is low. Under the boot floor sits a space saver, the only area where the Chinese connection becomes apparent as we saw a Sino brand tyre in use.
COMFORT AND SPACE ;
Slide into the 2017 Volvo S90’s seats and you’re immersed in an elegant, minimalist cabin that rivals anything from its German contemporaries. This new interior, with its wood inlays and chrome and metal accents wrapping from door to door across the dash, is arguably the S90’s greatest leap from its comparatively tepid predecessor.
A large tablet-style touchscreen serves as central command for navigation, phone, climate and audio functions. Volvo has done away with almost of the buttons on the dash, including its well-known “mode man” climate control. The only controls left include the car’s ignition switch and a strip of buttons for audio advance/rewind and defrost functions.
The S90’s seats are some of the best in the business, wrapped in fine material regardless of trim level, with support and adjustments suited for extended periods of driving. With 36 inches of legroom, the rear seat of the S90 offers plenty of room for an average-size adult sitting behind a 6-foot driver
ENGINE AND PERFORMANCE ;
Volvo offers two options under the hood of the new S90, both of them 2.0-liter four-cylinder engines. The base engine produces 250 horsepower and has a turbocharger strapped to it. The S90 is also available with a twin-charged engine, which utilizes both a turbocharger and a supercharger to provide 316 horsepower. Both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Performance from the base engine should be adequate for most drivers’ needs, whether you mostly drive around town or have a long highway commute. The automatic transmission shifts smoothly and is quick to downshift when you really hit the gas, providing brisker acceleration.Upgrade to the optional engine and you’ll find a strong and steady delivery of power as you accelerate. Some turbocharged engines experience turbo lag, which is when power from the turbocharger doesn’t kick in immediately. The addition of the supercharger mitigates this, providing force as soon as the pedal is pushed.
The S90 gets 23 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway with its base engine. This is slightly better than most other cars in the class and will cost you about $1,500 annually in gas. Choosing the more powerful optional engine will get you 22 mpg in the city and 31 on the highway. The Acura TLX’s base engine gets only slightly better fuel economy with 24/35 mpg city/highway, saving you just $50 annually in gas. Its upgraded V6 earns 21/34 mpg city/highway.Volvo has announced a plug-in hybrid version of the S90 that’s expected to debut in the U.S. in the near future. So if you like the S90 but are also tickled at the thought of a 20-mile electric range and 400 horsepower, it may be worth waiting a little.
RIDE AND HANDLING ;
The Volvo S90’s steering is feather-light at city speeds and it starts weighing up nicely on the highways. The steering could have done with more feedback though. The S90 gets an air suspension set-up at the rear and while it offers a very plush and luxurious ride, we found the ride to be a bit too soft. The S90 remains extremely stable at high speeds and even while cornering, it feels very predictable. The brakes do a brilliant job of shedding speeds and the silent Pirelli P-Zero tyres have amazing levels of grip too. Due to the long wheelbase, you need to be a bit careful on some nasty speed breakers unless you want to scrape the car’s belly.
SAFETY AND SECURITY ;
Volvo’s reputation for innovative standard safety features continues with the S90, which offers collision mitigation with automatic emergency braking, pedestrian, cyclist and large animal detection, lane departure warning, road sign recognition, a system that helps you avoid running off the road (and another that helps minimize the damage if you do), a drowsy driver alert, and the OnCall telematics system, which can remotely start or unlock the S90 and notify authorities in the event of a crash.Curiously, blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert remain optional.
Semi-autonomous steering, lane keeping and adaptive cruise control (combined, called Pilot Assist) allow the S90 to drive itself through slow traffic jams or even swift-moving traffic, requiring only that the driver touch the steering wheel at regular intervals.
Given how aggressively the company has set Volvo S90 price in India, it is an all-out winner in the segment that is dominated by the Germans. It is at par with its German foes, owing to the fully-loaded Volvo S90 variants, be it in terms of performance, features or design. Despite being a CBU, the Volvo S90 price is an eye-opener and has fetched the Swedish automaker several orders, and it might do better than expected in near future.