Driven: The luxurious and very elegant Volvo S90

Driven: The Volvo S90 luxury sedan is elegant #SWAG

Gone are the days when people associated Volvo with boring old cars. Truth be told, they now make cars that are very striking, well designed, sharp and attractive. This revolution started with the XC90, which was launched in 2015, and has now carried onto the S90 sedan. We just got to drive Volvo’s latest luxury sedan. Here are our impressions.

Sexy much?

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If we’d have to use one word to describe the S90’s looks, it’d be breathtaking. Volvo has really upped the game when it comes to styling and this one is simple yet very attractive. The feature that strikes you the most is the ‘Thor shaped’ LED headlamps which give the car a distinctive look. The best part about the car is that they haven’t tried to overdo the design. It is simple, yet elegant, and this is the beauty of the S90.

There is ample use of chrome, throughout the car and while we don’t like chrome much, it certainly blends in well with the character this car has. So you have chrome accents on the front bumper, the door moulding and the rear bumper. Even the side view mirrors look nice, sitting on the door rather than the A-pillar.

At the rear is where there are mixed opinions. While we really like the way it looks, others have expressed their displeasure. You have a large tail lamp cluster that extends into the boot and the Volvo badging is placed right in the middle. The bumper houses the number plate and also houses the dual exhaust pipes on either sides finished in chrome, giving it a sporty appearance. What the designers have managed to do is to make an elegant and understated car which certainly turns heads like no other luxury sedan in this segment.

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The inside

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Step inside and you are greeted by a luxurious cabin. The first thing that strikes you is the massive Sensus touchscreen system, which controls all the vehicle settings and infotainment. The screen is a 9″ one. Volvo has done away with buttons and has replaced them with the touch screen system.

All information is displayed on three screens, which can be changed by swiping on them, just like it is done on the iPad. This system gets Apple Car play integration as well. What Volvo has done is come with only one model on the S90, which is the top-spec, fully loaded model.

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This means that it comes loaded with all the bells and whistles that you could think of in a car that costs Rs 50 lakhs. It gets a heads-up display, which is pretty cool. You get a massive rear parking camera display, all-around parking sensors, auto park assist, digital instrument cluster, ventilated seats, power adjustable lumbar support and extendable under thigh support, sun roof, 4-zone climate control, auto dimming mirrors and a Bowers and Wilkins sound system.

The cabin is a nice place to be in with the fit and finish being top notch. The leather, coupled with the wood finish give the interior an upmarket and high-end feel. Even the buttons and the door handles feel premium. The overall ambience of the cabin, exudes luxury. The drive select button is a crystal knob and unlike other cars that have a start/stop button, this one has a knob that needs to be turned. The material quality is much better than that of its rivals, which is what sets this car apart.

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At 4.96 meters, the S90 is long and has a wheel base of 2.94 meters, which amounts to a lot of room inside the passenger cabin, especially at the back. Since this car is more suited to the back seat passenger, there are acres of room on offer, however the back rest is a tad upright. The rear gets a manual sunblind for the side windows and also gets a touch screen display to control the AC. The front seats are lounge-like, and massively comfortable over long distances. Boot space is ample. Volvo has put in a space saver wheel in the boot, however it is concealed below the boot floor. To sum up, this feels a lot different to the other German cars that we have in the market currently.

The Drive

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The S90 is powered by a modest 2.0 liter 4-cylinder diesel engine, in D4 guise. Power output is 190 Bhp and 400 Nm. The engine is mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission and the power is transmitted to the front wheels only.

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The first thing you’ll notice when you try to start the car is that it doesn’t have a push button start, rather a toggle switch that needs to moved to start it. The engine is fairly silent for a diesel engine. Slot the car into D and the thing that is most noticeable is the low-end torque on offer. Keep the throttle pinned and you will see it loose steam around the 4000 rpm mark, which is where the otherwise quiet engine tends to get noisy. This engine is meant for relaxed driving and not for outright speed. While initial grunt is enough, it loses out on the top end.

Keep this in mind and you will be happy with the drive. In the city, the low-end torque helps a lot and makes it easy to drive about and make your way through traffic. The gearbox is smooth, however you can sometimes feel the downshift when you drive aggressively. The car comes with 4 driving modes, Eco, Comfort, Dynamic and Individual (where you can configure your choice). While the Dynamic mode does make it rev harder and stiffen the suspension, but like we mentioned, you need to remember that this car has been setup more for luxury than for outright performance.

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Keep it in comfort mode and you will be in for a relaxed drive. Even though the car is fitted with 18″ alloys, it still manages to be comfortable on the inside. The car feels planted at speeds and steering feedback is good. Yes, high speed cornering is something that can unsettle the S90, but in dynamic mode, that improves a little. The car has air suspension at the back which translates into a comfortable ride. The moment you shut the car, the suspension sits down a little, making it easier to exit the vehicle.


The S90 has a lot of competitors. To begin with, the all-new Mercedes E Class LWB, which has taken rear seat comfort to an all-new level. You have the BMW 5 Series, which is soon to get an update. You then have the Audi A6, Jaguar XF and the newly launched Lexus ES.


The S90 comes in only a single variant, that is priced at Rs 53.5 lakhs ex-showroom Delhi.

Should you get one?

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The S90 is a unique car in this segment. Unlike the other competitors that are loud and in your face, this one is more subtle, elegant and luxurious. Yes, there is no petrol engine on offer and it may not be very dynamically involving, but if you are looking for a luxury sedan that stands out from the pack and gets you noticed where ever you go, this one has to be it.

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