Volvo S90 (2016-present)

Stylish, smooth and hi-tech: the Volvo S90 gives German saloons a run for their money.

Strengths & Weaknesses


Airy, relaxing interior
Comfortable and smooth ride
Advanced self-driving technology as standard


Small choice of engines
No manual gearbox option
Expensive purchase price and costly options

Volvo isn’t selling its latest large family car with the promise of driving excitement or tyre-squealing acceleration. Instead, the Volvo S90 claims to offer its drivers “relaxed confidence”.

The calming starts with the minimalist interior. There's a 9in touchscreen - and very little else - on the wood or metal-panelled dashboard. It feels light and airy, particularly when fitted with the optional panoramic sunroof.

The car isn’t set up to compete with the BMW 5 Series or Jaguar XF, which feel more agile in corners and responsive when accelerating, but is focused on comfort: a smooth ride and a solid, stable feel in corners.

That’s all very well coming from the sales brochure, but in the the real world, the S90 is up against the impressive Mercedes E-Class, which is aiming for the same market.

Both cars do an impressive job of cushioning potholed roads, both will coast up motorways with just a whisper of wind noise and both have quiet, economical engines that provide a steady surge of power. In each respect, the Mercedes is just that little bit better, even when the Volvo is fitted with the optional air suspension that further improves its ride comfort.

Buying the S90 isn’t a bad choice, though. It's much more distinctive than the E-Class, both inside and out, where the 'Thor's hammer' headlights may be help win you over.

Both the Mercedes and Volvo have cutting edge driver assistance systems that make the vehicles part-time driverless cars. Volvo’s system, called Pilot Assist, will control the accelerator, braking and steering on motorways or A-roads at speeds of up to 80mph, as well as at slower speeds in traffic jams. It works smoothly, without the jerky movements of earlier systems, but you do have to keep your hands on the steering wheel.

There’s a lengthy list of other safety equipment, including an emergency braking system that can detect large animals - like moose or horses - as well as people and cars, then slow or stop the car automatically to avoid a crash. It can also prevent you from turning into the path of an oncoming car.

Earlier this year, the S90 was awarded the maximum five stars after independent crash testing by the Euro NCAP organisation. Its scores were stellar, with high protection for adult and child occupants, as well as pedestrians. The car's safety systems were also found to perform effectively.

For a car that’s almost 5m - more than 16ft - long, it’s unsurprising that there’s plenty of room for passengers in the front and back, even if they’re all over 6ft, although three in the back will feel cramped. The 500-litre boot is fairly average for its class, but can be extended by folding the seats down.

As a saloon, with a small boot opening and a fixed rear screen, folding down the seats only creates a letterbox-shaped space for luggage, so you might be better off opting for Volvo’s V90 estate, which is £2,000 more expensive, but has a more versatile boot.

There are also estate versions of the Mercedes E-Class, BMW 5 Series or Audi A6 Avant. For even more space, a higher driving position and seven seats, the Volvo XC90, Audi Q7 and BMW X5 are available, although you’ll pay substantially more and face higher running costs.

Last Updated 

Tuesday, May 9, 2017 - 16:15

Key facts 

3 years / 60,000 miles
Boot size: 
£160 in first year, £140 or £450 thereafter / Pre April 2017 cars: £30 to £110

Best Volvo S90 for... 

Volvo S90 2.0 D4 Momentum
The lower-powered diesel unit returns 64.2mpg. The forthcoming T8 hybrid will be more economical, but its high cost is likely to cancel out the benefits for most drivers.
Volvo S90 2.0 D5 AWD PowerPulse Momentum
The more powerful engine delivers punchy performance. Stick with the cheapest Momentum trim but add the Xenium pack for an all-round parking camera and panoramic sunroof.
Volvo S90 T8 R-Design plug-in hybrid
The fastest S90 goes on sale later this year, with 408hp. Racier R-Design trim features sportier suspension. The 0-62mph dash takes just 5.2 seconds.
Volvo S90 2.0 D4 R-Design
None of the S90 models feels underpowered, but you won’t be able to make the most of the R-Design’s sportier tuning with the slowest D4 engine.

Volvo S90 History 

  • September 2016 The first Volvo S90s are delivered

Understanding Volvo S90 car names 

  • S90
  • Engine
    2.0 D5 PowerPulse
  • Trim
  • Driven wheels
  • Gearbox
  • Engine
    The engine size is given in litres (here, it's 2.0). Those labelled D are diesel powered. The higher the accompanying number, the more powerful they are, so D4 is less powerful than D5. The D5 engine also has technology called PowerPulse that improves acceleration. A T8 plug-in hybrid, which combines a petrol engine and an electric motor for improved performance and fuel economy will arrive later this year.
  • Trim
    There are three standard trim levels: Momentum, Inscription and R-Design. Each trim level presents increasing amounts of standard kit, while R-Design adds a sportier exterior look and interior feel.
  • Driven wheels
    AWD stands for all-wheel drive, meaning that the engine's power is sent to all wheels for better control when accelerating and on slippery surfaces. Only the front wheels are powered on other S90s.
  • Gearbox
    All S90s have an 8-speed automatic gearbox badged Geartronic.

Volvo S90 Engines 

D4, D5 and T8 plug-in hybrid

The only Volvo S90 engine options at the moment are two diesel engines: the D4 and D5. The D5 has more power and technology called PowerPulse, which makes the engine more responsive when you press the accelerator.

Both engines feel smooth and are quiet. They will be joined later by a T8 plug-in hybrid model, with an electric motor and batteries that can power it for up to 28 miles on their own. You can plug the car in to recharge it, but for longer journeys, the petrol engine will start and power the car. Both motor and engine can combine to provide a power boost during hard acceleration.


Fuel economy



Top speed





0-62mph: 8.2s






0-62mph: 7.0s


T8 plug-in hybrid




0-62mph: 5.2s


Volvo S90 Trims 

Momentum, Inscription and R-Design

The Volvo S90 comes well equipped, even in its cheapest Momentum trim, with dual-zone climate control that lets both front occupants set the interior temperature for their half of the car; sat-nav with European mapping; DAB radio and Bluetooth connection for your phone. All of these functions are controlled by the iPad-like 9in touchscreen at the centre of the dashboard, which quickly becomes easy to use. There’s also the option of using voice commands.

Leather seats, that are heated and powered at the front, are also standard, along with a screen behind the steering wheel, showing a digital speedometer. There are power sockets in the front, rear and boot. The powered bootlid can be opened and closed at the touch of a button, and the car is fitted with 17in alloy wheels (18in with the D5 engine).

Most safety equipment is fitted as standard, including Pilot Assist, which drives the car autonomously on motorways, A-roads, and in traffic jams (but you have to keep your hands on the steering wheel), and there is an automatic braking system that will slow or stop the car if the driver fails to respond to a warning that a collision is imminent.

For £3,000 more, Inscription models have better quality Nappa leather seats as standard, as well as a larger display behind the steering wheel, which has a digital rev counter alongside the speedometer. All cars have 18in alloy wheels, chrome highlights on the bodywork and mood lighting inside. Keyless entry allows you to open the bootlid when you’ve got your hands full by poking your foot underneath the rear bumper - as long as the key fob is within range.

Another trim level, R-Design, brings black grilles, sports seats, a special steering wheel. The car is slightly lower to the ground, which helps to give it a slightly sportier feel.

Many of the features on more expensive trim levels can be added individually to cheaper cars. Some equipment is only available as an option, including air suspension, which makes the ride even smoother, as well as seats that will massage and cool the front passengers.

A panoramic sunroof, all-round camera and automatic parking system are included in the £1,750 Xenium option pack. A head-up display is useful in helping keep your eyes on the road, but costs a steep £600. If you’ve got an iPhone and want the Apple CarPlay system, which turns the Volvo’s touchscreen into a display resembling the one on your phone, then that’s an expensive £300 option.

Volvo S90 Reliability and warranty 

Volvo received an average score for reliability in the 2016 Auto Express Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, but it’s too early to say whether the S90 is more or less reliable than previous Volvo models.

The car’s warranty is a fairly standard three years or 60,000 miles of cover – whichever runs out first. The paintwork has a three-year unlimited mileage warranty, and you’re covered for 12 years against rust perforation.

The expensive battery in the T8 Plug-in hybrid car is protected for longer than most other parts, with an eight-year or 100,000 mile warranty - whichever comes first.

Used Volvo S90 

As brand new cars that have just gone on sale, there will be few used Volvo S90s around for some time.

Bargain hunters will continue to find life tough because the model is expected to hold its value well. After three years Volvo finance agreements guarantee that the car will be worth around half of its new list price.

Prices below show typical buyacar discounts for our pick of new and used models. Scroll down further for the very latest new Volvo S90 deals or search for all new and used Volvo S90 offers.

List price

BuyaCar new

1 year old

2 years old

3 years old

Best for economy







Volvo S90 2.0 D4 Momentum






Best for families







Volvo S90 2.0 D5 AWD PowerPulse Momentum 






Best for performance







Volvo S90 T8 R-Design plug-in hybrid






Prices correct at time of publication