2018 S90 Hybrid New Car Test Drive
The Volvo S90 was an all-new model for 2017, the first Volvo to be built by its new Chinese owner, Geely Holding. It was built in Sweden. But the 2018 S90 is built in China. Not only that, in only its second year, it has grown by several inches.
Another thing is at play: although the S90 is a global car, in China, people who own such cars have chauffeurs. And the extra length in the 2018 S90 all goes to rear seat legroom; with the addition of 4.5 inches, the S90 now has more legroom than all rivals, including its targets, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and BMW 5 Series. Other carmakers have available extended-wheelbase models, but the 2018 S90 comes standard with that extra length.
More news for 2018 includes the addition of a 400-horsepower plug-in hybrid model called the T8, which gets a completely redesigned back seat. Also, all-wheel drive is now available on the T5 model.
The base engine is a 2.0-liter four cylinder, offered three ways for North America. In the front-wheel-drive S90 T5, the turbocharged engine makes 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The S90 T6 with all-wheel drive uses a supercharged and turbocharged version of that engine, making 316 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The S90 T8 plug-in hybrid uses a version of that engine combined with an electric powerplant, to make its total 400 horsepower.
Each S90 gets a first-rate Aisin 8-speed automatic transmission. An optional air suspension promises a calmer ride, along with improved handling. Even in S90 T6 guise, with the air suspension and firmer Dynamic setting, it feels softly sprung. The optional air suspension is essential for owners who intend to make use of the S90's 4,600-pound towing rating.
The S90 offers world-leading active safety features. Standard large-animal detection can automatically reduce speed or brake to a halt, if a deer (or dog, coyote, cougar, elk, moose, bear or maybe even a python) is in the path. Road-edge detection depends only partially on the presence of a painted shoulder line. Front seats are designed to help curtail high vertical forces that might result in back injury if the S90 leaves the road.
Semi-autonomous driving features are standard. The Pilot Assist system blends active cruise control with forward collision warning and lane-keep assist. Enabled by flicking a switch, the system lets the driver remove hands from the steering wheel sporadically, for up to 15 seconds each time. Blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert systems are optional.
The 2018 S90 also has the updated Sensus Connect Touchscreen interface, as well as Oncoming Lane Mitigation, BLIS with steering assist and updated City Safety.
The EPA has rated the all-wheel-drive T6 at 22 City, 31 Highway, and 25 Combined miles per gallon, on premium fuel. The front-drive T5 is rated at 23/34 mpg City/Highway, or 27 mpg Combined. All models include engine stop-start technology.
About 35 percent of the S90 body weight is high-strength steel.
Both the S90 T5 and T6 come as Momentum or Inscription models. The T5 Momentum costs $48,100 plus a $995 destination fee. The T6 starts at $54,100 and the T8 Twin Engine Plug-In Electric Hybrid starts at $63,650, plus destination fees.
The Momentum comes with the 250-horsepower engine, leather upholstery, birch wood inlays, a leather-wrapped steering wheel, power sunroof, LED headlights with corner illumination, keyless entry, rear park assist, rearview camera, power-folding rear headrests, Sensus Connect touchscreen, 8-inch instrument-cluster display, 10-speaker 330-watt audio, and satellite radio.
The T5 Inscription steps up to softer Nappa leather, four-zone climate control, a cooled glovebox, Apple CarPlay, USB media hub, leather dashboard panels, rear sunshades, walnut wood inlays, 12.3-inch display, 19-inch alloy wheels, and ventilated front seats with power side support and cushion extension.
The T6 Momentum gets the 316-horsepower, turbocharged-and-supercharged version of the 2.0-liter engine. T6 Inscription is equipped similar to the T5 Inscription.
The T8 Twin Engine Plug-In Electric Hybrid gets a standard panoramic sunroof and its own back seat, presumably to accommodate the battery pack.