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2020 Volvo S90 Review

The 2020 Volvo S90 is fighting the good fight for luxury sedans as armies of crossovers continue their relentless advance. Classified as a midsize car, the S90 is almost as spacious as a full-size sedan. The quality of the materials is suitably lofty, and the equipment offerings are generous, especially in terms of safety equipment. The prices, meanwhile, aren’t quite as daunting as those of the German competition.

After years of producing good vehicles, Volvo is now producing great vehicles and remaining true to its traditional values of safety and comfort. There are no high-performance S90 variants along the lines of BMW’s M cars, just increasing levels of splendor as you go up the trim levels.

What’s New for 2020?

The T5 Momentum and T8 Momentum models have been dropped for 2020, which means you can no longer get an S90 with the T5 powertrain — and that every 2020 S90 comes standard with all-wheel drive. A sporty R-Design trim available with either the T6 or T8 powertrains has been added for 2020 as well. See the 2020 Volvo S90 models for sale near you

What We Like

  • Impressive safety features (a Volvo hallmark)

  • Luxurious yet tasteful interior design

  • Impressive fuel economy for a large sedan

  • Great infotainment system

What We Don’t

  • The least powerful engine sometimes struggles with such a hefty car

How Much?

$51,195-$63,845

Fuel Economy

T6 models have a 4-cylinder 2.0-liter engine that is both turbocharged and supercharged to make 316 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. AWD is standard in the T6, and fuel economy is 21 miles per gallon in the city, 31 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg combined.

The T8 plug-in hybrid also has a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with turbocharging and supercharging, which is augmented by an electric motor and a lithium-ion battery pack. The system outputs a muscular 400 hp and 472 lb-ft of torque and drives all four wheels as standard. In EV mode, the maximum range is 21 miles. The EPA estimates a combined miles-per-gallon equivalent (MPGe) of 60 when both power sources are engaged. As a regular hybrid, it’s rated at 30 mpg combined. The quickest battery charging time at 220 volts is 2.5 hours.

All versions of the S90 use an 8-speed automatic transmission.

Standard Features & Options

The 2020 Volvo S90 is available in the base Momentum, sporty R-Design, and luxurious Inscription trims. The base Momentum trim is available only with the T6 powertrain, while the R-Design and Inscription models give you a choice between the T6 and T8 setups.

The T6 Momentum ($51,195) version has a panoramic sunroof, 18-in alloy wheels, a 12.3-in driver information display, keyless entry/ignition, heated windshield washer nozzles, rear parking sensors and camera, heated front seats, dual-zone automatic climate control, adjustable drive mode settings, simulated leather upholstery, birch wood inlays, 10-way power-adjustable front seats with driver-side memory settings, power-folding rear headrests, self-dimming rearview and side mirrors, an infotainment system with a 9-in touchscreen, navigation, satellite radio, a 330-watt/10-speaker audio system with 10 speakers, a USB port, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration and a comprehensive array of driver-assistance features detailed in the "safety" section below.

The T6 R-Design ($54,295) and the T8 R-Design ($63,845 before federal or state tax credits) add a sporty appearance package with 19-inch matte black alloy wheels, metal mesh inlays, dual integrated tailpipes and black mirror caps. They also have special R-Design leather/Nubuck upholstery, lane-keeping assist and a Harman Kardon premium audio system.

The T6 Inscription ($54,295) and the T8 Inscription ($63,845 before federal or state tax credits) include automatic high beams, high-pressure headlight cleaning, quad-zone automatic climate control, a chilled glovebox, heated/ventilated front seats, front passenger-side memory settings, a powered rear-window sunshade, manual sunshades for the rear passenger-side windows, Nappa soft leather upholstery, walnut wood inlays and 19-in alloy wheels.

Inscription models are eligible for a Luxury Package ($3,450) that consists of a Nubuck headliner, a heated steering wheel, heated/ventilated outboard rear seats, massaging front seats and an extra-wide deluxe rear-center armrest.

For all three trims, the optional Advanced Package ($2,850) adds full LED headlights with automatic high beams, high-pressure headlight cleaning, a self-steering parking feature, a 360-degree camera arrangement, a heads-up display and a power-operated trunk lid. You can also add heated rear seats and a heated steering wheel for $750.

Individual options include a 19-speaker/1,400-watt Bowers & Wilkins Premium Sound system ($3,200, but one of the best car systems there is), rear air suspension ($1,200) and child booster seats ($420).

Trunk space is 13.5 cu ft. — on the low side of average for the class, but still good enough for three sets of golf clubs.

Safety

Volvo specializes in safety features. Each S90 comes with adaptive cruise control in Pilot Assist (Volvo’s semi-autonomous drive system), City Safety (collision avoidance, low- and high-speed collision mitigation and pedestrian/cyclist/large animal detection), blind spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, run-off road protection and mitigation, lane-departure warning, road sign recognition and rear collision mitigation.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not yet crash-tested the S90, but the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) has made the car a Top Safety Pick.

Behind the Wheel

Supremely comfortable and supportive seats are another Volvo specialty. Slide into the driver’s seat and the well-designed dash spreads out in front.

Operating Volvo’s Sensus Connect infotainment system quickly becomes intuitive, with pinch/pull zooming, swiping and other functions that will be second nature for anyone with a smartphone. The display is easily customized and rewards users who are willing to put in a little setup time.

The S90’s comfortable ride and impressive fuel economy make it ideal for road trips. The car soaks up any pavement imperfections, and the highway performance is pleasant and relaxing, especially once the driver is fully acquainted with Pilot Assist’s subtle intervention. The 8-speed automatic transmission, meanwhile, is almost imperceptible in its operation.

The T6 is energetic, but not what we would call sporty. Curvy roads and tight turns also bring something of a challenge, as this big sedan is more of a natural cruiser than a corner carver. The majority of drivers, however, should be perfectly satisfied.

Other Cars to Consider

2020 Acura RLX — The Acura RLX is always worth considering for the equipment/cost equation. This is certainly a value choice among big luxury sedans.

2020 Audi A6 — Coming off of a 2019 redesign, the 2020 A6 is a class leader with a strong V6 engine, a roomy, premium cabin and cutting-edge tech.

2020 Genesis G80 — The 2020 Genesis G80 comes with a lot of equipment for the price, but it doesn’t seem as "fully baked" as other contenders here.

2020 Lexus GS — It’s getting old now, but the Lexus GS is still spacious, luxurious, well put together and enjoyable to drive. There’s a hybrid option as well.

Used Mercedes-Benz S-Class — The trouble with buying a pre-owned car is that it may not have up-to-the-minute technology, but the S-Class has never been short on great features. That’s one reason why it’s the best seller in its segment.

Autotrader’s Advice

The T6 Momentum model is well-equipped for a base trim, and it’s likely to satisfy most luxury car shoppers. The two upper T6 trims add some nice equipment without the price getting too crazy. Find a Volvo S90 for sale

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