Class, simplicity, and value. Oozing class is just the Volvo way, and the 2019 Volvo S90 is no exception. The S90’s simplified Scandinavian design is both elegant and simple, creating a clean-looking sedan that wears a six-figure-like suit built for a five-figure budget.
Stepping into the S90 is satisfying with its posh cabin and clutter-free design, but it becomes even more pleasing when you see all this luxury, safety, and technology only ranges from $48,385 to $69,995 (destination fees included) in price. Try to get a matching BMW 5-Series for that price. Go ahead – we’ll wait.
Style for miles. The Volvo S90 boasts a fairly simple design language that places an emphasis on smooth panel transitions and the car-next-door good looks. Sure, you won't get the stares you would in a BMW M5 or Mercedes-Benz AMG E 63 S, but once you’re in it, you can’t help but be in awe of the level of engineering and thought that went into creating this sedan.
Inside, dark hues keep the drama to a minimum, while a huge touchscreen, simple center stack controls, and an upright dash deliver a posh ambiance without being distracting. Even its matte-wood trim is a nice touch that blends nicely with the interior color options.
Comfort? Check. While the S90 is fun to look at, the real pleasure comes from sitting in it. Whether you’re in the front or rear, the seating is insanely comfortable, even on long hauls. Not only do you get standard power seats, but you can also add heat, ventilation, and massaging to the front seats at a price well below its German counterparts.
In 2018, the S90 grew up and added a few inches of rear leg room, bringing it to an impressive 40.4 inches. This crushes the 5-Series by 3.9 inches and the E-Class by 4.6 inches. Where the S90 falls though, is its 13.5-cubic-foot trunk, which is one cube short of the 5-Series.
On top of its roominess, the base S90 also matches most of its competitors in standard features. These include Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, a 9-inch touchscreen, a panoramic roof, and dual-zone automatic climate control. Where the S90 gets a leg up is its standard leather upholstery compared to the fake cow hide in the base 5-Series and E-Class.
Big power almost feels wasted. The S90’s base T5 2.0-liter engine delivers just 250 horsepower and is far from refined, but things change as you move into the upper ranges of engine options. The T6 powertrain pushes the 2.0-liter to 316 hp, giving it a six-second zero-to-60 mph time. Moving into the range-topping T8 plug-in powertrain delivers an EPA-estimated 21-mile electric range and a 4.8-second zero-to-60 time.
While the T6 and T8 powertrains deliver great straight-line performance, both feel wasted by the S90’s soft suspension. Don’t get us wrong, the S90’s compliant ride is great, but we’d like at least a sport mode to liven it up a bit.
Final thoughts. It’s clear Volvo had one thing in mind when creating the S90: beat the Germans in creating a true luxury cruiser. For many people, the 2019 Volvo S90 does just that. Plus, its lower price tag makes it even more of a draw. But German luxury sedan buyers have become accustomed to the dose of agility the Audi A6, BMW 5-Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class deliver, and the Volvo S90 falls flat in this department.