It is immediately obvious that Volvo wants to offer something different when you open the driver’s door and take a peek inside. There’s nothing overtly sporty about the S90’s high-quality finish and armchair-like seats, instead Volvo has focused on offering huge levels of comfort – something the old S80 (the S90’s predecessor) did rather well.
Faced with a long motorway journey, few cars are better prepared than the S90 – its seats are hugely comfortable, its ride composed at speed and noise suppression is very good, although just short of Mercedes E-Class levels. The S90 steers and stops with confidence, but the Jaguar XF is still the driver’s choice in the class. If you want a sportier drive, R-Design is the trim to go for. It adds sports suspension and gives the S90 more athletic looks. The Cross Country only comes as a V90 estate but gets raised suspension and four-wheel drive to help it cope with the rigours of an active lifestyle or rural living.
The engine range is extremely straightforward, so buyers get a choice of 188hp D4 and 232hp D5 diesels, along with the clever petrol-electric hybrid fitted to the 402hp T8. Whichever of those models you choose, official fuel economy shouldn’t drop significantly below 60mpg. All come with eight-speed automatic gearboxes and four-wheel drive is an option too.
In keeping with nearly every Volvo that’s ever left the factory the S90 is super safe. It pioneers a new automatic braking system that can detect large animals (deer, dinosaurs and the like) on the road. That’ll join a huge list of features seen elsewhere in the firm’s range, including an autonomous driving system that works up to speeds of 80mph.
The S90's automatic braking system is the first capable of detecting even large animals
Volvo’s return to the large-executive class will be a welcome one to anyone looking to buy outside the default options of BMW, Audi and Mercedes. Volvo has stuck to its roots by building a car that will devour huge mileages with ease and although it may not be at its best on twisting country roads, it promises to be altogether more accomplished than its predecessor. It will, we are sure, be as safe as the proverbial houses, but what is likely to excite buyers more is the luxurious interior that oozes quality.