Driven: Volvo S90 D5 AWD Geartronic Inscription

Usually a week spent with a Volvo is a blissful affair. And in a diesel powered S90 saloon, it is even more so.

What is it?
The S90 is Volvo’s take on the Teutonic executive limo. In dimensions it sits between a 5-Series and 7-Series BMW but with the price tag of the smaller car. So therefore also competes with the Mercedes-Benz E-Class and Audi A6. Besides being the marque’s flagship sedan, it’s also a techno powerhouse and wears the Swedish brand’s design language.

How does it look?
Ours is resplendent in crystal white metallic paint and look, white has a bad habit of turning sexy cars into fleet metal. A car that looks special white is special indeed, but I reckon the slab-like S90 loses some of its magic thanks to its appliance white metal. Well, that’s my incredibly humble opinion on what is otherwise a breathtaking form. Brightwork includes a large chrome grille flanked by organic lamps, sitting above the aerodams and diffusion of the front bumper. It’s no longer a new design of course, and is starting to age (gracefully), but boasts a planted stance with massive alloy hoops tucked into each arch so remains a handsome thing. Good. It looks good.

What about living with it?
The cabin is luxurious and well appointed, as is the case with most Volvos. Plenty of toys and multimedia too. Safety? Well let me rattle off some acronyms such as IA aka Intellisafe Assist (includes City Safety with pedestrian, cyclist and large animal detection and front collision warning with full auto brake), Driver Alert Control (DAC) with Lane Keeping Aid (LKA) and Intelligent Driver Information System (loIS). Pauses to breathe. Road Sign Information display (RSI), Full active bending LED headlights with Active High Beam, Power driver and passenger seats, Adaptive Cruise Control with Pilot Assist Navigation Pro system with lifetime free map updates. So lots. And also laminated side windows.

How does it go?
This is the D5 so you have a two litre turbodiesel upfront with 173kW and 480Nm. It sends the full brunt of this to all four wheels, but economically like, so burns fuel at a modest rate of 4.8l/100km and tickles the ozone with a 127g per kilometre carbon footprint. It’s quick enough, firm enough, a real Goldilocks diesel saloon. It has a flavourful helm and an engaging ride, good enough to forget about upon arriving at your destination. Sports car enthusiasts need not apply.

Should you buy one?
This white example has a sticker price of R1.060mil as tested, but then that comes including the premium pack and luxury pack plus several individual options. Bog standard it’s a R900k saloon and if I’m honest, it feels like it. Volvos make excellent alternatives to the German Trio.
Just as stylish, just as luxurious – and none of the resentment from the other drivers on the road. If that kind of thing matters to you.

Quick Stats: Volvo S90 D5 AWD Geartronic Inscription
Price: R898,800
Spec: 2.0l 4-cyl turbodiesel awd,  173kW, 480Nm, 8-speed Geartronic auto, 4.8l/100km fuel consumption, 127g/km CO2

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