Volvo S90 Test Drive

Volvo's most luxurious car... the S90 D4 Inscription Plus. 

The Volvo S90 is a premium executive car that is no way shy on size, comfort or space. It’s a favourite of many motorway drivers looking for something a little different to the likes of the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series or Mercedes-Benz E-Class

As many of you know, Volvo is making drastic steps towards the electrification of their range. Removing high-emission cars and replacing them with much more efficient counterparts. 

What was once a vast selection of diesel and petrol engines has been whittled down to just one – a plug in hybrid. However, before this change went into affect we got the chance to go out in one of the remaining D4 diesel engines (and don't worry, we still have a few offers available on the diesel S90!). So, for one last hurrah, let’s see what it was like! 

Carparison test drives D4 S90

What did we drive? 

Volvo S90 D4 Saloon 

Model Line: Inscription Plus
Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic
Engine: 2.0 Litre Diesel 
Power: 190hp
Colour: Crystal White
Upholstery: Charcoal Soft Nappa Leather (perforated and ventilated)
OTR Price: from £38,465
Price of model driven: £44,100

Learn more about the Volvo S90

Volvo S90 Side View

Engines and Drive in the Volvo S90


The D4 is a 2.0 litre diesel engine that produces 190hp and will go from 0-60 in 7.9 seconds. You get a choice of 3 driving modes; Eco, Comfort and Dynamic – the latter of which you’d choose if speed is your goal, however the S90 isn’t the kind of car you speed in… It’s the car in which you comfortably cruise.

Despite its size, the Volvo S90 is a remarkably easy car to drive. The handling was light and the car was agile. In true Volvo style also there’s an abundance of safety features that make the entire experience a relaxing and stress-free one. 

These features include but are not limited to:

  • City Safety with Steering Support (includes Pedestrian, Cyclist and Large Animal Detection and Front Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake)
  • Oncoming lane and run-off road mitigation and run-off road protection
  • Slippery Road and Hazard Light Alert
  • Speed Limiter
  • Vehicle deceleration control
  • Auto-dimming interior and exterior mirrors
  • Driver alert control with lane keeping assist
  • Active Bending Headlights with Adaptive Shadow Technology (on Inscription Plus)
  • Headlight cleaning system (on Inscription Plus)

Volvo S90 Design


In terms of design, the S90 undoubtedly has a presence. At nearly 5 metres, the S90 is LONG and imposing – only just a few milometers shy of the Audi A7. There’s a long, wide bonnet and sloping roofline leading into a boxy rear that, in all honesty is dividing the office… we can’t decide if we love it or hate it!

Our car was Inscription Plus, so on top of standard design features, it also gets a high gloss grille with chrome inserts, 19 inch 10-spoke diamond cut alloys, dual integrated exhaust pipes and a load of other chrome detailing.

Volvo S90 Cabin

Inside there’s Nappa perforated and ventilated leather (standard on the Inscription Plus) in Charcoal, with a walnut inlay, black gloss surrounds on the touchscreen and centre console dials, and soft leather finishes across the dash, armrest and door. Whilst this all sounds good... it’s a little bit of a weird mix and I’d probably prefer the chrome inlays that you get on R Design models in exchange for the wood on the Inscription Plus.

All in all there are some lovely features (and some slightly odd). It’s a car that can’t make up its mind on whether it wants to be classic or futuristic… and the result is a slightly strange amalgamation of the two.


Space and Practicality in the Volvo S90


Starting at the very back, there’s a massive 500 litre boot in the S90 Saloon. An automatic tailgate that’s standard across all models makes it easy access… and you’d probably lose count of the amount of suitcases you could fit inside. Power folding headrests and 60:40 rear seats (although you have to manually pull them down) open up the boot to the rest of the cabin and provide an even larger amount of room for suitcases or even multiple golf bags and trollies.

Fold those seats back and relax back in an absolutely cavernous cabin. Even with the front seats set back to their furthest setting there is still so much leg room for passengers. Soft and comfortable leather seats provide ample support, and there’s an additional storage and two cup holders in the centre armrest. In an old-school approach, the Inscription Plus models get integrated sun curtains (blinds to you and me) on the rear windows for that extra bit of luxury.


Up front, it’s just as spacious. Whilst there’s not a huge amount of storage, what storage space there is can be neatly hidden away or stored in the armrest. The armrest also offers 2 USB ports and there’s a 12v in the centre console. There are teeny tiny door bins that really wouldn’t fit more than the smallest of water bottles but the glove box is a decent size and there are also 2 further cup holders in that centre console.


Technology in the Volvo S90


All of the new Volvos feature a 9 inch portrait touchscreen and the S90 is no different. This screen is used to control pretty much everything, including your air con, sat nav and media. Be warned this screen shows fingerprints like you wouldn’t believe, so make sure to keep a screen wipe in the car with you just in case. In front of driver there is a 12.3 inch digital display, which will also display your sat nav directions.

The real star of the show is the Head-up display (standard on Inscription Plus or R-Design models), which is adjustable to the perfect position for the driver, and presents speed, navigation and safety warnings on the windscreen in front of the driver in order to minimise distraction away from the road.

Volvo S90 Rear View

Another winning feature is the super high quality reversing camera; which was incredibly clear and allowed you to zoom for extra help getting right into spaces but also allowed you to add or take away guiding lines should you need them. Those who want it also have the option to upgrade to a 360* surround view camera – although I think the standard one is more than comprehensive.

In terms of standard features, this car was equipped very well. The only extras we had added was an optional Winter Pack, which gets you a heated steering wheel and heated washer nozzles. Where some of the other models in the Volvo lineup don’t quite as much as standard, the S90 impresses with the amount of kit available on both the Inscription Plus and R-Design Plus models. 


S90 Model Lines 

(correct as of July 2020)

Momentum Plus

  • 8-Speed Automatic Transmission with Start/Stop and Manual Change Functions
  • Keyless Drive with Remote Tag
  • Dynamic Chassis
  • Automatic LED Headlights with Active High Beam incorporating Day Running Lights
  • Rear Park Assist Camera with Front and Rear Park Assist
  • Handsfree boot opening
  • 18” Alloy wheels
  • 2-Zone Electronic Climate Control with 'CleanZone' Air Quality System and Pollen Filter
  • Heated front seats
  • Power Driver Seat with Multi-directional Lumbar Support and Memory for Seat and Exterior Mirrors
  • Satellite Navigation

R-Design Plus (In addition/replacement to Momentum Plus)

  • Contour Sports Seats with Leather/Nubuck Upholstery
  • Active Bending Headlights with Adaptive Shadow Technology
  • Front LED Foglights with Cornering Function (n/a T8 Twin Engine)
  • Sports steering wheel, Gear Knob, Sports floor mats, and sports pedals
  • Metal Mesh Inlays
  • Ambient Lighting
  • Dual Integrated Exhaust Pipes with High Gloss Black Surround
  • High Gloss Black Door Mirrors and Window Surround
  • High Gloss Black Deco Lower Front Bumper Dark Tinted Windows
  • Headlight Cleaning System
  • Integrated Sun Curtains
  • Head-Up Display
  • Lowered Sports Chassis
  • 19" 5 Spoke Alloy Wheels (Diamond Cut/Matt Black) with 255/40 Tyres

Inscription Plus (In addition/replacement to Momentum Plus)

  • Nappa Soft Leather Perforated and Ventilated Upholstery
  • Luxury Floor Mats
  • Power Passenger Seat with Memory
  • Front Seat Backrest Massage Power
  • Active Bending Headlights with Adaptive Shadow Technology
  • Linear Walnut Inlays Rear
  • High Gloss Black Front Grille with Chrome Inserts
  • Front LED Foglights with Cornering Function (n/a T8 Twin Engine)
  • Chrome Lower Side Mouldings with Inscription Logo
  • Dual Integrated Exhaust Pipes
  • Ambient Lighting
  • Head-Up Display
  • Chrome Deco Lower Front Bumper
  • Headlight Cleaning System
  • Integrated Sun Curtains - Rear Doors
  • 19" 10 Spoke Alloy Wheels (Diamond Cut/Silver) with 255/40 Tyres
  • Crystal Gear Lever Knob (T8 Twin Engine only)


Final Verdict


The S90 is no doubt a comfortable and premium saloon car. The spacious cabin makes for a relaxing driving experience for driver and all other passengers, plus the huge boot is a real selling point for those who often carry a number of large bags. As with any Volvo, the safety features speak for themselves and coupled with an impressive amount of standard kit, I think many a motorway driver would be happy with the S90 as their next lease vehicle.