Ever since Volvo first teased the 2017 S90 sedan, we have been awaiting the day that we could see it in person. We wondered if it had what it took to stand out in a crowded market segment and we were curious to see just how it exactly looks when viewed in person. After spending a few fleeting minutes inside the S90, as well as admiring its exterior styling. We think that Volvo may indeed be on to something here with this sleek four door.
The S90 also got an unexpected assist from its brand sibling the Volvo XC90, which won the coveted North American Truck Of The Year award at NAIAS earlier today. Achievements like this help get more people into dealerships, and in the case of the S90 buyers that want to experience a new Volvo, but would rather prefer to do so in a traditional sedan versus a crossover vehicle. The exterior styling of the S90 also helps in this regard albeit with one exception, (more on that later.) The front fascia carries over much of the traits that made their debut on the current generation XC90 including the “Thors Hammer” LED lighting accents as well as the clean looking front grille with its center mounted Volvo emblem. The side profile is more elegant, but still retains a subtle hint of aggression that the old S80 was sorely lacking during its time in production. Our lone gripe centers around the unusual taillights which are exaggerated in size and look completely out of place, especially when viewed against the slick front fascia. This also has the effect of making the design look slightly unbalanced but as with most things, it depends on the buyers tastes.
The interior however doesn’t have an issue with design balance, and could be the key attribute that helps the S90 succeed in the marketplace. The detail here is much higher than the S80, and when one looks around the cabin, its easy to see the extreme levels of effort that Volvo undertook in creating this lavish space. The center piece is the all new Sensus infotainment system which features a 7-inch high definition color touch screen, and does an excellent job cleaning up much of the clutter and button overload that dogged the old S80. The seats are also very comfortable and provide healthy amounts of support along with the ability for occupants to make them either heated or cooled depending on the weather conditions. The rear seats also feature good amounts of leg room, an attribute that will especially be crucial with the planned long-wheelbase variant when it hits the market in China where long-wheelbase cars are popular with young Chinese buyers especially those in business.
With the car embracing the XC90’s Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) its no surprise that the engine choices are largely carried over from the XC90. Unlike many of its rivals, Volvo will not field distinctly different engines, and instead offer buyers different variants of its familiar 2.0 liter turbocharged four cylinder. Each variant receives differentiating levels of enhancement with the base engine using a turbocharger to produce 240 horsepower and the higher grade engine in the T6 producing 302 horsepower. Lastly the top of the line T8 Hybrid makes 400 horsepower and also serves as the fuel efficiency leader of the S90 family. These figures are slightly lower than many of its rivals, but the company thinks that it will be enough to allow the S90 to enjoy a larger slice of sales in a segment that is saturated with rivals including the Cadillac CTS, Maserati Ghibli, Acura RLX, Lexus GS, as well as the Infiniti Q70.
When the S90 eventually makes its appearance on dealer lots later this year, look for it to feature an aggressive pricing ladder that will be on par with many of its rivals. Volvo did not release any official numbers at its conference in Detroit, but look for the base model to possibly start in the low $50,000 range with higher trim levels going up accordingly. The long wheelbase model will command a slight premium, but look for it to join the Kia K900 and the Cadillac CT6 in offering a more cost effective alternative to established contenders from Germany and Japan. It will be interesting to see whether the S90 will be able to sustain the impressive momentum that was first generated with the XC90 especially with how saturated its target market is. We look forward to perhaps test driving one for ourselves to see what its like on the road, but stay tuned to Autoinfoquest for more product unveilings and first hand looks from the 2016 North American International Auto Show.