By Khulekani Dumisa
The medium and large luxury sedan segments are under pressure. Consumers are opting for SUVs as symbols of status instead of these cars that have played the role faithfully for decades. Like the Germans, who do much better in the segment, Volvo has not given up just yet. This is great news for those of us who still favour sedans over SUVs if there are no plans to ever venture off-road as is often the fate of many many luxury SUVs. The Volvo S90 goes up against the likes of BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. We approached the task wondering if the Swede has what it takes to go toe-to-toe with these established players, and actually found that it does.
The Volvo S90 spots a similar face to the Volvo SUVs with a prominent rectangular grille. It also retains the distinctive Thor’s Hammer LED headlights making it rather attractive to look at. The side profile can be a bit plane with restrained lines but chrome fines on the mirrors keep things interesting. At the back, the S90 is polarizing but has a uniquely S90 design. You will simply not mistake it for anything else that you have seen.
The interior is what you’d expect of Volvo – elegant and minimalistic. The tablet-likeSensus infotainment system looks good, is intuitive and works well. Other conveniences of the interior include the digital instrument cluster which shows things like navigation, fuel consumption and range. The S90 also has keyless start and access, heated seats with a massage function and an incredible Bowers & Wilkins sound system. The car does not only impress with an extensive list of interior features but also quality that is good to look at and touch. The S90 also offers decent cabin room for the driver and front, and rear passengers. Three large adults may struggle a bit at the back but that won’t be felt in short trips. The rear climate control keeps things cool and those looking to charge their phones/laptops quickly have an AC outlet at the back.
Piloting the car is made easier with safety features like lane-keep, adaptive cruise control, Pilot Assist (semi-autonomous driving system that steers the car) and blind spot monitor just to name a few. If you need to move around tight spaces, there are 360-degree view cameras to assist you. Alternatively, you can rely on the car’s self-park system. The ride quality is good and you barely hear the diesel engine at work as the cabin is well insulated from exterior noise.
Engine and drive
Powering the sleek Swede is a 2.0-litre diesel engine that pushes 173 kW of power and 480 Nm of torque. The drive feels plush and comfortable. Hesitant at take-off, Volvo claims the large sedan will do 0-100 km/h in 7 seconds. The large sedan does feel more in its element at higher speeds when the torque is truly felt. Understanding Volvo owners, the take-off speeds will not bother them but they will be charmed by the comfort of the car and its ability to soak up harsh road conditions. The S90 remains relatively composed in corners which makes it even more endearing. The car is claimed to sip 4,8l/100 km. We averaged a combined 7,6l/100 with both city and highway driving.
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