Like the XC90, the all-new Volvo S90 is based on a scalable product architecture (SPA) and shares virtually nothing with the S80 sedan it replaces. The S90 is the flagship for the Volvo brand and offers a thoughtfully conceived expression that is at once bold and graceful.

Pricing and Equipment

The 2017 Volvo S90 is available in four configurations: T5 Momentum, T6 Inscription, T6 AWD Momentum, and T6 AWD Inscription.

Two engine choices are available and both relate directly to the submodel chosen. Both T5 models are powered by a 2-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine making 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Both T6 models are powered by a 2-liter turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder engine making 316 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. Both engines are paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Fuel economy ratings for the front-wheel drive T5 model are an EPA-estimated 23 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway. The all-wheel drive T6 is rated at 22 mpg in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

The S90 T5 Momentum is priced from $46,950 and the T5 Inscription from $50,450. Choose the T6 AWD Momentum and you’ll pay $52,950. The T6 AWD Inscription starts at $56,250. (Prices do not include a $995 destination charge.)

You’ll also find various packages available depending on the trim you choose. The T5 and T6 Momentum models offer a Vision package ($1,950) with blind spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, and a 360-degree camera. You’ll also find Climate ($1,050 or $1,550), Convenience ($1,000), and Momentum Plus ($700 or $1,000) packages. A Bowers & Wilkins Premium Sound System is available for $2,650. Inscription trims include some of these package items.

Performance Pros

Volvo S90
  • Both models are relatively fast. The T5 will take you from zero to 60 mph in 6.5 seconds. The T6 gets it done in just 5.7 seconds thanks to quicker throttle response. You might not consider the S90 for speed, but it does shine in that department.
  • Got Haldex? That’s what you get when you choose the all-wheel drive T6 model: a Haldex system that keeps the tires planted on a hard launch and vanquishes torque steer.
  • Models equipped with the available rear air suspension provide an extra measure of comfort and support. Our reviewers say it “loads up evenly and predictably and unloads out of corners with the same kind of finesse.”

Performance Cons

  • Forced induction isn’t for everyone, but that’s the avenue Volvo has taken as it no longer offers a single naturally aspirated engine anywhere in its lineup.

Interior Pros

Volvo S90
  • Our reviewers were very impressed with the S90’s cabin, claiming it outdoes what the German sport sedans offer in cabin comfort and seat support. Indeed, Volvo works with orthopedists to design seats that are supportive and contoured.
  • Volvo improved the Sensus Touch infotainment system for the S90, delivering an arrangement free of the many buttons, switches, and knobs that defined the previous model. You should find it much easier to operate than before.

Interior Cons

  • Trunk space measures 13.5 cubic feet and that’s on the low side for sedans in this class. Include the underfloor compartment and that number mushrooms to 17.7 cubic feet.
  • Apple Car Play computability is available, but Android Auto wasn’t ready in time for the S90’s release. It is on the way, but if you’re looking for it right now you’ll have to wait.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

Four cylinders can’t tow much, right? Think again. Choose the T5 models and you’ll enjoy a 3,700-pound tow rating. The T6 models can pull up to 4,600 pounds. These numbers outperform many large sedans and match what some utility vehicles offer.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

Accessing the roomy rear seats means navigating tight door cutlines. Tall passengers will have to carefully bow their heads before slipping inside.

The Bottom Line

The S90 isn’t the flagship that some people want from Volvo, but it is a leap over the previous model. Along with the XC90, the two models underscore a new direction for this Chinese-owned Swedish brand. Volvo has always tried to set itself apart from its German competitors, and the new models do just that. Not everyone will be sold on Volvo’s powertrain lineup, but then Volvo isn’t attempting to be like everyone else.