Volvo S90 (2016 – 2023) Review

Volvo S90 (2016 – 2023) At A Glance

Honest John Overall Rating
With the S90, Volvo finally has a high quality saloon that's easily a match for the competition. With a genuine sense of luxury inside, a beautifully smooth ride and an excellent engine, the S90 is a genuinely impressive premium car.

+Genuine premium feel with a luxury interior. 2.0-litre diesel engine is impressively quiet and smooth. Excellent ride comfort. Good value for money alongside the competition. 8-speed torque converter auto.

-Limited engine range. Boot is deep but the opening not large.

New prices start from £35,455
Insurance Groups are between 27–44
On average it achieves 77% of the official MPG figure

Volvo’s big saloons don’t usually fare as well in sales as its large estate models, but the S90 has found a strong following. Many of these are company drivers looking for an alternative to the usual German fare from Audi, BMW and Mercedes, and it’s a feather in the Swede’s cap that it has the chops to satisfy this sort of demanding driver. Being a Volvo, there are some distinct elements and among these is the hybrid-only power for the S90, using a petrol-electric combination to deliver low emissions, high economy and reasonable running costs.

It replaces the S80 in Volvo's range, but the two are like chalk and cheese. This is one of a new breed of Volvo cars that follows on from the impressive XC90. True, the estate V90 version will probably make more sense for many as, after all, Volvo is well renowned for its estates. However, if you don't need the extra carrying room, the S90 will be right up your street as an alternative to the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series or Mercedes E-Class.

The S90 started life with just one 2.0-litre diesel engine is available. It may sound too small for a car this size but with twin turbochargers it offered more than enough performance. The entry-level D4 version has 190PS and we think it provides all the power you'll need, while running costs are reasonable. The D5 used the same engine with 235PS, but doesn't feel that much quicker in everyday driving. It does however come with all-wheel drive as standard.

Volvo also added petrol-powered T4 and T5 models to the S90 range, but the Swedish manufacturer has now dropped all of its single energy source models in favour of the T8 Plug-In Hybrid model it calls Recharge. It comes with a 303PS 2.0-litre turbo petrol motor and 87PS electric motor capable of taking the car up to 37 miles on battery power alone. It also has four-wheel drive, carbon dioxide emissions of 44g/km and a combined official consumption of 148.7mpg.

As well as these impressive figures, another thing that really stands out is the S90's comfort. It's wonderfully quiet on the move, the ride quality is excellent and the seats incredibly comfortable. We can think of no better car for covering long distances.

With a high quality interior, the Volvo has a genuine feeling of luxury thanks to lots of leather and different interior trims so you can create your own Scandinavian hideaway. The quality of the finish is top notch and features like the huge touchscreen that dominates the dash make this feel very different from the competition.

It drives well too and is a huge improvement on the S80. The onus is still on comfort, but the S90 corners impressively with responsive and well weighted steering. It isn't a small car though, which you notice in tight car parks or down narrow country lanes.

There is a huge range of safety kit fitted, as you’d expect from Volvo, including a semi-autonomous driving system. This matches the speed of the car ahead, stays in its lane and will even slow to a complete stop before accelerating back up to the selected speed, all without the driver’s help. It's clever stuff and does actually come in handy in real world driving which is exactly where this Volvo excels.

Ask Honest John

Will a delayed service during the pandemic affect my car's resale value?

"I purchased a second-hand Volvo S90 in January 2021 from a dealership under the Volvo Selekt scheme and am very happy with the car. However, I examined the service handbook today and realised that the car does not appear to have a full service history. The car was purchased by the original owner on 28 March 2018 and had its first service early, on 19 February 2019. According to the service handbook, the next service is always due one year or 18,000 miles after the previous one, even if the previous one was early. This would make the second service due on 19 February 2020, which it also says in the service handbook underneath the stamp for the first service. However, the second service was not performed until 29 October 2020. I have enquired with the dealership where I bought the car seven months ago and the salesman insists that the delay was due to the national lockdown and that the car still has a full service history. Am I right in thinking that the car does not have a full service history? And if yes, what should I do next, given that the salesman at the dealership denies the problem?"
There will have been lots of missed or delayed services in 2020. I agree that there should have been time to get this car serviced ahead of the national lockdown, but I wouldn't worry too much about it. No damage will have been done in that time period (assuming it hasn't covered a lot of miles in that time) and, provided you stick to the servicing schedule from now on, it's unlikely to affect the resale value of the car.
Answered by Andrew Brady

What would you recommend as a new car under £40k that is quiet and comfortable on the motorway?

"What would you recommend as a new car under £40k that is quiet and comfortable on the motorway?"
Any premium car will be very quiet and refined on the motorway. A Volvo S90 starts at around £36,000 and would be a lovely choice for covering high miles. Also consider an Audi A6 - or look a size smaller at cars like the Mercedes-Benz C-Class.
Answered by Andrew Brady

Which midsize saloons and 4x4s offer the most comfortable and quiet ride?

"Although I am a similar age to Jeremy Clarkson, I do not share his passion for 200mph supercars with rock hard suspension and the ability to send my false teeth through the back of my neck upon accelerating. Which midsize saloons and 4x4s offer the most comfortable and quiet ride? "
Many Citroens put comfort ahead of sportiness. The new C5 Aircross is a good example of this - it's much more comfortable than firmer rivals like the Nissan Qashqai or Kia Sportage. The same could be said for Volvo - all its models favour comfort over driving dynamics. The Skoda Superb is another good option if you're after a comfortable car.
Answered by Andrew Brady
More Questions

What does a Volvo S90 (2016 – 2023) cost?