Front exterior of the Volvo S90

Volvo S90 review

The Volvo S90 is a luxurious saloon that’s ideal for long motorway journeys. It’s full of high-tech safety features, while a plug-in hybrid model offers low running costs.

Pros

  • High-quality interior
  • Market-leading safety features
  • Well equipped

Cons

  • Not as practical as the V90
  • Plug-in hybrid version a little pricey
  • Limited choice of engines

Summary

“A stylish, high-quality saloon that gives you excellent comfort.”

The Volvo S90 is a large and attractive four-door saloon that offers excellent value for money when buying used.

High-quality materials, a simple yet stylish design and the clever use of lighting give the interior a serene and upmarket feel. This sense of calm extends to the way it drives, with the soft suspension and comfortable seats helping to make the Volvo S90 a fine motorway cruiser. All engines offer a mix of good fuel economy and strong performance, especially if you opt for the plug-in hybrid model.

Volvo dropped the petrol and diesel engines as part of a subtle 2020 update, leaving the plug-in hybrid as the only option. All models are well equipped, practical and safe, making this one of the most attractive used saloon cars you can buy.

What's the interior like?

“The interior of the S90 is as elegant as the outside and there’s lots of space for people and luggage.”

The S90’s interior is modern, luxurious and comfortable. The supportive leather seats are very supportive and you might even find that you arrive at your destination feeling less stressed than when you left. There are lots of ways to adjust the front seats, too, so you won’t struggle to find the driving position that suits you. There’s ample space for two adults in the back, while the middle seat is best suited for children and occasional use.

Many of the car’s functions are controlled using a 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system. It works like a smartphone, so you’ll have little trouble getting to grips with it. The display is pin-sharp, the mapping clear and logical. 

The S90’s 500-litre boot is long and wide, so there’s plenty of room for your weekly shopping, holiday luggage or golf clubs.

What's it like to drive?

“The S90 is one of the most comfortable cars in its class and there’s an engine to suit most needs.”

From wrestling with city traffic to cruising down a motorway, driving the Volvo S90 is generally a smooth, stress-free experience. The ride is very comfortable, although it’s a bit stiffer on cars with 19- or 20-inch alloy wheels.

Many used S90 models have a diesel engine. The D4 diesel offers good fuel economy and reasonable performance but you may appreciate the more powerful D5: it’s faster, quieter and comes with four-wheel drive as standard. If you don’t cover a lot of miles the petrol engines are a fine choice. Even better are the plug-in hybrid ‘Twin Engine’ models, which are powerful yet economical.  

As part of a 2020 model update Volvo dropped the petrol and diesel engines from the range, leaving only the plug-in hybrid models which it re-named Recharge.

Is it cost-efficient to buy and run?

“The S90 offers exceptional value for money as a used buy, while the plug-in hybrid offers very low running costs.”

A used Volvo S90 can give you excellent value for money and will often cost less than an equivalent Audi A6, BMW 5-Series or Mercedes-Benz E-Class. Factor in the S90’s more generous level of standard equipment, and you can see why this big Volvo is so appealing.

Although it’s more expensive than the standard petrol and diesel models, the plug-in hybrid offers lower running costs. Recharge it overnight and you’ll have up to 37 miles of pure electric power to use in the morning. You probably won’t match the official fuel economy of over 100mpg but you could get better mpg than with a diesel, depending on your driving and charging habits, and pay less tax. 

How reliable and safe is it?

“This is one of the safest cars in its class, with systems designed to prevent a collision.”

The Volvo S90 is considered one of the safest cars on the road. Look beyond the five-star Euro NCAP safety rating and you’ll discover that the S90 scored highly for adult occupant protection and for systems designed to keep you out of trouble.

All models come with Isofix points for child seats, multiple airbags and an emergency braking system that can detect pedestrians, cyclists and large animals. Volvo’s ‘Pilot Assist’ system was an option when new; it uses adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping alerts to all but drive itself on a motorway.

Which one is best for you?

Best for economy - T8 Recharge

Best for family - D5 Inscription

Best for fun - T5 R-Design

All models are well equipped with stylish alloy wheels, dual-zone climate control, smart infotainment system and a suite of safety systems. For a sportier look opt for R-Design trim; for even more luxury go for an Inscription model.

Some of the huge range of options worth looking out for when buying a used S90 include an electric sunroof, a 360-degree camera that makes parking easier and a brilliant Bowers & Wilkins premium sound system.

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