REVIEW: 2018 Volvo S90 Inscription – Understated Luxury, Refined Ride

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The Volvo S90 was all-new last year bringing a Scandinavian player to the luxury sedan market. It replaced the old S80, but it was more than a name change. It was an entirely new sedan with premium details, several powertrain choices, and smooth ride befitting a luxury car. This year it expands the lineup to include a new hybrid powertrain and even expands the car, which is now available only as a long-wheelbase with an expansive backseat.

Our test car, the S90 T6 AWD Inscription, was powered by a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder supercharged and turbocharged direct-injected engine with 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. That’s an impressive amount of go and it’s wonderful to sit behind the wheel.

Looking for a Volvo S90? Check out BestRide’s listings search here

Whether you’re on a leisurely weekend drive or making your way through heavy highway traffic, the engine is powerful and responsive. The 8-speed automatic transmission is smooth with shifts you’ll neither hear nor feel in keeping with its luxury-car design. The Volvo S90 delivers all of its power without being brash or aggressive. Instead, it’s well-mannered and elegant, doing its job without the need for attention.

Handling is equally smooth with steering that responds to the slightest input so the driver won’t easily tire. Rough roads and broken pavement are not an issue. The S90 remains composed and handles it without complaint. It is an effortless yet engaging drive.

Usually, you want to be the one driving a car like the S90 and we thoroughly enjoyed our time behind the wheel. Unlike most cars, however, its equally as nice to be the one sitting in that expansive back seat. There is enough legroom and headroom to accommodate even the tallest passengers with seats that received attention equal to those up front. They weren’t an afterthought. They were clearly a priority.

The interior of the S90 is quite simply made for lounging. Materials are of the highest quality with a muted sense of luxury everywhere you look. There’s nothing brash or loud about the S90. It is understated luxury from the finishes on the dashboard to the power rear seats.

The centerpiece of that dashboard is a 9-inch infotainment screen that looks like a tablet. This might seem like a bit much at first, but the touchscreen functions beautifully, rarely missing an input, and the menus are logically organized so it takes no time at all to become comfortable with how it all works.

Volvo’s reputation for safety is ever-present with a long list of standard features including pilot assist semi-autonomous drive with adaptive cruise control, collision mitigation support, lane keeping aid, and rear park assist. Additional safety features include blind spot information with cross-traffic alert, hill start assist, rear park assist camera, and road sign information.

Looking for a Volvo S90? Check out BestRide’s listings search here

The T6 AWD Inscription we drove sits at the top of the trim lineup with a base price of $55,450 and options that brought that price up to $69,140. That puts it firmly in luxury car territory and out of reach for many buyers. If, however, you’re in the market for a luxury sedan with a responsive engine, strong safety and infotainment offerings, and a beautiful and well-appointed interior, then the 2018 Volvo S90 is worth your time.