Volvo S90 (2016 - 2023)


2.0 D4 190hp Inscription 4dr

reviewed by Andrew S on 24 November 2020
Overall rating
How it drives
Fuel economy
Tax/Insurance/Warranty costs
Cost of maintenance and repairs
Experience at the dealership
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A great car with some amazing tech

Last week I saw my beloved Volvo S90 D4 Inscription being driven off my driveway, on its way to an auction house. It had been in my possession from new for over two and a half years. Sadly my lease had come to an end and I had to part company with it. It is without a doubt the most pleasurable car I've ever owned. I wasn't so keen on the low seating and ride position, but then it's not an SUV and those choosing an S90 will probably expect a low car. The low sweep of the roofline made it quite difficult to get in and out of the vehicle, especially with a bad back and even though the boot was massive, the structural elements restricted the space considerably.

For such a big car, the entry level D4 diesel engine was fantastic but noisy. My word, was it noisy when cold. It sounded a bit agricultural even when the car had just 80 miles on the clock. Inside, the noise wasn't so bad but it's definitely not the quietest of diesels. Putting the noise aside though, the engine had plenty of pull most of the time. At speed, the car would accelerate very easily even when fully loaded. You'd get a bit of lag from idle or when needing a quick burst of power when the revs were low, but that's just the nature of the engine and to be honest, next to similar sized engines, it performed amazingly well. And it was very economical too, often returning well over 55mpg on long motorway journeys. Economy wasn't so great in towns but I'd still get in the low 40's which is better than most other diesels do at low speeds. And my variant didn't need the irriaring Adblue additive either. I don't know why, but newer versions do. If you're considering buying one, check whether yours needs this stuff.

The car had three drive modes. I discovered that by putting the drive mode into Dynamic, the car felt and responded much better. The downside was it would idle at higher rpm, giving the turbo a quicker response time, and of course, this would disable the auto stop start function.

Nothing is perfect but the Volvo S90 was close. Little marriage niggles and cracks started to appear but despite these, the car is still highly valued in my opinion. Every so often, the active information display would switch off leaving me unaware of how fast I was going etc. Very inconvenient and dangerous at times. Volvo updated the software in an attempt to fix this but it didn't help.

The auto headlamp dipping feature was annoying. You had to twist an awkwardly positioned switch on one of the steering sticks and I'd always struggle to find it in the dark. When I did manage, the system was very slow responding and I'd often get flashed by other drivers.

The pilot assist system was a great safety feature but towards the end started to irritate me a bit. It would never follow lines accurately and had a tenancy to drift too close to one side, so it felt as if you were constantly battling the steering wheel. It started off as a great novelty but after a while, the novelty wore off and the pilot assist system wasn't used often at all. Instead, I chose to stick to using the adaptive cruise control which worked fine and was very useful on the motorway. But, and there is a big but here, it wasn't the most refined adaptive cruise system. It tended to overreact, often braking sharply when I least expected it, usually shocking passengers. Having driven other cars with adaptive cruise control, one of the nice things I liked about the Volvo S90 system was just how easy it was to activate and set it.

The infotainment system was lovely, big screen, well laid out buttons, responsive... But, my one didn't have Android Auto or Apple Car Play support so it was very restrictive. And the voice recognition system was next to useless. I used it a few times but it never got anything right despite me calibrating it.

And the stop start system... Erm... Had a mind of its own. It would often switch the car off too quickly and then have to switch on again before the car came to a stop! Very irritating and would often result in the car just sat at traffic lights with the engine idling. A bit useless really. My current car has stop start and doesn't do this.

To summarise, the Volvo S90 is a big beautiful car. It's fairly well made, looks great inside and out and drives fantastically. I would highly recommend it for anyone doing lots of motorway miles. A bit less practical for towns.

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reviewed by Anonymous on 18 August 2020

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About this car

Road TaxA–G
MPG37.7–134.5 mpg
Real MPG77.4%

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