Forget sport, the Volvo S90 is old-world luxury at its finest
Beautifully understated, the Volvo S90 is a hidden gem. And in a sea of pseudo-sporty German rivals, the S90 is in a class of its own.
As defined by the Oxford dictionary, consumerism is "the preoccupation of society with the acquisition of consumer goods."
Corporations have long since exploited our propensity for spending. Offering solutions in search of problems that never existed.
Brands like BMW will gladly wax lyrical about 5 Series gliding through tuns at 130mph. Knowing full well that no reasonable human being will ever find themselves in need of a car that sits comfortably at twice the speed limit. But consumers like to know that their new car can still massage their backs at Mach 1.
And sure, it's nice to know that your car can handle anything you'd ever want to throw at it; in the same way, that it's nice to know your Rolex will work in outer space.
I get it! We all want to be astronauts. But either because we're too fat, too stupid, or too unmotivated, we must be content with an eternity of "My watch will work in outer space!"
And much like you will never take your Rolex into space, you will never take your car up to 130mph,
So why bother?
In this vein, the Volvo S90 is not a sports-sedan; it is unashamedly a 2-tonne lump of Swedish lead. But unlike its 2-tonne German counterparts, the S90 does not pretend to be sporty. Instead, the ride is supple. The styling is understated but gorgeous, and this interior remains amongst the finest at any price.
And speaking of price, the car I drove, a fully-loaded long-wheelbase T6, clocked in at just over $70,0000. But despite its decidedly 'elitist' price tag, I'm pleased to say that the S90 is largely free of the pomp and circumstance you'd get in most cars at this price point.
Now, don't get me wrong. This thing looks, feels, and is expensive, but not in a bad way. Part of this comes down to the name: Volvo. It isn't a Mercedes; nobody will call you a dick for driving a Volvo.
But as I said before, the S90 is in no way gratuitous. Inside and out, it is a true triumph of Industrial Design. With its mix of feminine and masculine lines, the exterior employs perfect use of the 'golden ratio,' giving the S90 an understated beauty, decidedly scarce in the automotive world.
Inside you'll find much of the same. Whereas a BMW might shove its tech and opulence into your face, the S90 instead focuses on no-bullshit comfort, luxury, and beauty. The cabin is light, airy, and downright perfect. I cannot say enough good things about this interior. The seats, of course, are judged to perfection, but Volvo's choice of materials and overall structure makes this a true gem. The cream-colored seats of my test car only accentuated the S90's natural qualities. Add to this a mix of light-grained woods, polished metals, and a generous moon-roof gave the S90 an unencumbered feel that few cars today can replicate.
Annoyances? Not many.
Volvo's infotainment remains amongst the best in the industry. However, it is still no match for the likes of Tesla's Model 3, which has perhaps the most extraordinary UX design of any car in history. And driving the S90, I often found it a pain to find the settings I was after.
Dynamically, this is not trying to be anything special. Still, as has become the norm, the steering feels like it's attached to a rubber band. Dismal, but in a luxury car, I can almost forgive that.
Lastly, it is damn near impossible to stop this car smoothly in comfort mode. Just as you are about to pull up, the S90 will creep forward, forcing the driver to brake sharply as you bring the car to a stop. The solution, as I've found, is to change the individual brake setting to dynamic, after which the brakes will react in a far more linear fashion.
But really, these are all small niggles in what is an otherwise exceptional car. If you want a large, comfortable luxury sedan and don't want to look like you're compensating for something. This is it. Which is why I have no hesitation in giving the S90 the rare accolade of five stars.
Volvo S90 T6, a true gem if there ever was one