- Restrained styling
- Long list of standard safety kit
- Frugal diesel engines
- Comfortable, cossetting ride
- No fast diesel
Here’s the saloon version of an estate car we’re keen on – the Volvo S90 trades the practicality of its wagon stablemate for sleek styling and a more business-like bootlid.
The Swedish manufacturer has been pushing into the premium market for some time now but this latest saloon is the first to feel like it can properly trade blows with the Audi A6 Saloon, BMW 5 Series Saloon and Mercedes-Benz E-Class Saloon.
You get a stylish and well-appointed interior, subtle exterior looks with plenty of presence, and a calm and quiet drive that isolates occupants from the outside world.
Shares underpinnings with the Volvo XC90
It might not look much like Volvo’s seven-seat SUV but the S90 saloon shares the same Scalable Product Architecture as the XC90, and features the same 2.0-litre, four-cylinder engines.
If you’re familiar with that car then you’ll spot the T-shaped LED headlights and shared cockpit design and components.
It’s similar right down to the drive – dubbed “Relaxed Confidence” by Volvo, it provides plenty of confidence-inspiring traction and a quiet, comfortable ride.
Engines from the Volvo back-catalogue
Under the S90’s bonnet will be either a D4 or D5 diesel engine, or a petrol-electric plug-in hybrid called T8. All of these use four cylinders and displace 2.0 litres, and feature elsewhere in the Volvo line-up.
The diesels are frugal and punchy but not fast, while the T8 races from 0-62mph in just over 5 seconds thanks to a combined 407hp. Despite this, it promises fuel economy in three figures and low CO2 emissions.
Pick the D5 diesel and a clever system called Powerpulse helps improve the engine’s response at low speeds. Thanks to this it feels more spontaneous than you’d expect for a large diesel saloon.
Lots of safety kit as standard
As you’d expect from Volvo, safety and interior space come in abundance. There’s the large and familiar Sensus touchscreen in the centre console, replacing a swathe of buttons from around the cabin, plus there’s a set of digital dials.
Standard safety features include Pilot Assist, which takes care of the throttle, steering and brakes from traffic jams all the way up to cruising speed, plus a sophisticated crash avoidance system that can spot pedestrians, cyclists and large animals in front of the car, day or night.
This is Volvo’s most convincing saloon car for years. Can it take the fight to its premium German rivals? Read Parkers full Volvo S90 Saloon review to find out.