Volvo S90 interior
The Volvo S90’s interior looks fantastic and feels just as posh as many German alternatives, but the infotainment system misses out on some key standard features
The Volvo S90’s cabin looks very different to most German alternatives. Instead of a widescreen infotainment system stuck on top of the dashboard, you get a slick portrait system nestled neatly between two tall vertical air vents.
The dashboard itself does without any cluttered buttons and knobs, and comes with plenty of posh cold-to-the-touch metal trims and soft plastics. The door trims and armrests feel plush, too, and the only scratchy surfaces are tucked down out of sight on the sides of the centre console.
You can spruce the S90’s interior up with some shiny metal inlays in R-Design models and a set of fabulous unvarnished walnut wood trims in Inscription versions. Even with these flashy additions, however, it doesn’t look quite as eye-catching as a Mercedes E-Class’ elegant cabin.
If you’re happy to pay a little extra, you can get gorgeous birch wood inlays on the dashboard and doors, or some carbon fibre inserts in sporty R-Design cars. R-Design models can feel a little gloomy inside – thanks to their dark roof lining – but go for an Inscription Plus or Momentum Plus model and you get a light-coloured cabin that feels impressively airy.
Whichever model you pick, you’ll want to upgrade the standard seats to fabulous Nappa leather items. They’re some of the most comfortable and supportive seats you can get in any executive car and they feel absolutely fantastic. They come as standard in top-spec Inscription Plus models but cost extra across the rest of the range.
The fact that you don’t get Android Auto and Apple CarPlay as standard is a pretty big fly in the Volvo’s otherwise very well-equipped ointment
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All S90s come with a 9-inch portrait infotainment system with built-in satellite navigation and an eight-inch screen that replaces conventional analogue dials. Both screens are bright and easy to read – even in direct sunlight – and the menus are logically laid out and respond quickly. If you’ve ever owned an iPad, you’ll feel instantly at home using the S90’s central infotainment system.
There aren’t any physical shortcut buttons to let you skip between key features, however, and you don’t get a scroll wheel to help you navigate through menus on the move. As a result, it’s not quite as easy to use as the systems you get in a BMW, Mercedes or Audi.
Unfortunately, adjusting the climate control through the touchscreen is more fiddly than using a conventional set of knobs and dials. You do get a pair of on-screen shortcut buttons to help you quickly access the climate control menus at any time, but it’s still not quite as easy to use as in a 5 Series or E-Class.
Thankfully, it’s a doddle to enter a postcode into the standard sat-nav and the directions it gives are concise and easy to follow. The maps themselves look a little old-fashioned compared with the high-resolution satellite imagery you get in the Audi A6, but they’re still crisp and easy to read on the move.
If you don’t like Volvo’s own system, you can use Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone mirroring to beam your phone’s navigation or media-streaming apps onto the S90’s touchscreen. Unfortunately, this feature sets you back extra on all models – it’s standard on most other large executive cars.
Thankfully, the Volvo’s excellent 330W stereo helps make up for the lack of standard smartphone mirroring. It’s so good, in fact, that you’d have to be a music superfan to fork out for the pricey upgraded 1,400W Bowers & Wilkins system.