There seems to be a ‘’New Dawn’’ at Volvo as they launch the superb looking Volvo S90 in South Africa. It is the second model, with the new look, new feel , new luxury since the Wesbank Coty 2016 car of the year, Volvo XC 90, was launched on our shores.
Making its debut in the premium large sedan segment, it certainly has a tough job ahead competing with the entrenched German models. But as with the Volvo XC 90, it looks like it will make an impact indeed. It has stunning looks and styling, is luxurious inside the cabin as you would expect, has Drive-E efficiency & semi-autonomous driving as standard on all new models. Covering a fairly wide spectrum, it comes with a mix of diesel & petrol engines in three trim levels, so should appeal across the board, to this demanding segment buyer.
The Volvo S90 has a number of standard features, and the optional extras, which always boost the ultimate price of the car, appear to be well priced, and should be sought after. The new Volvo S90 launches in South Africa initially with two engines – the D5 and T6, both with all-wheel drive – in Momentum or Inscription guise. Later in 2017, the D4 and T5 derivatives will follow, with front-wheel drive, and the range-topping T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid (PHEV) will make its way to South Africa at a later date.
Exterior/ Interior Styling.
Standing at Cape Town International Airport, waiting to be ferried to our launch destination in Franschhoek, the S90 arrived and made an immediate impact. Sleek and well sculpted, much like a toned athlete, is what I thought right off the bat. It has a definite presence about it, and with the new Volvo face, which includes the radiator grille, with its 23 concave ribs, new Volvo iron mark, and the signature LED headlights with Thor daytime signature, it cuts an impressive figure.
The rear end also looks good, as the large tail-light clusters give it a determined presence. It has a large boot and the car is wide, showing off its premium look. The wheels range from 18 inches to a sporty 21 inches, depending on model. The Volvo S90 certainly attracted its fair share of admiring glances, as well as bald faced stares, driving up Franschhoek pass, as well through this historic town.
Inside the cabin, its premium all the way. Space is abundant, and comfort is foremost with the comfortable seating in the front and rear( we were chauffeured to the venue) It has a natural feel with the textures of wood, aluminium, glass & soft leather, and this enhances the luxury experience.
An attractive dash features 9-inch HD Sensus touch screen interface, and I loved the air-blade type air vents, which had a modern look. Also loved the diamond-cut roller knobs for the audio system and Drive –mode selector. All S90 derivatives feature satellite navigation as standard, with pinch zoom and real-time traffic updates. Available also with free map upgrades for life, the system is easy to use and can be effortlessly programmed with searchable points of interest, favourites and full itinerary logging.
Apple CarPlay and Android Auto1 are both available in the optional Smartphone Integration package, which enables owners of Apple iPhones or Android-based smartphones to connect their devices directly to the Sensus Connect interface, which then provides a direct link to the device via a dedicated, secondary USB port.
The Volvo S90 has drive characteristics up to a speed of 130km/h, and with Adaptive cruise control & Pilot assist, can be a huge help to a driver on the road. The Adaptive cruise control uses radar and camera to manage the speed of the S90 inrelation to the car ahead to the 200 km/h mark. As long as there are clear lane markers on both sides of the car, Pilot assist will ensure that if the driver drifts in his lane without indicating, it will gently steer back into the correct path. This can always be over-ridden.
Coming with both diesel and petrol derivatives and with a smooth 8-speed auto transmission. The engines are all 2.0-litres in capacity.
The diesel engines come in either D4 or D5 variants. The D4 is twin-turbocharged to produce 140 kW at 4 250 rpm, with 400 Nm of torque on hand between 1 750 and 2 500 rpm. The quiet and smooth-running engine is mated to the front wheels only and brings excellent efficiency to the table, right from the get-go.
Average fuel economy is 4.4-litres per 100 km on the combined cycle, with corresponding carbon emissions of 116 g/km coming in below the national taxation threshold. Performance figures are respectable, with a 0-100 km/h time of 8.2 seconds and a top speed of 230 km/h.
The D5 engine alternately powers all four wheels and generates 173 kW at 4 000 rpm, while a meaty 480 Nm of torque is on hand from 1 750 to 2 250 rpm. The fuel economy is good at a claimed 4.8-litres per 100 km and carbon emissions are as low as 127 g/km. The 0-100 km/h sprint achievable in just 7.0 seconds, and top speed is 240 km/h. The drive up the pass outside of Franschhoek was done in the D5 variant and it handled the twisty & steep bends with aplomb.
Two options on the petrol engines- the T5 which drives the front two wheels only and produces 187 kW (at 5 500 rpm) and 350 Nm (between 1 500 and 4 800 rpm) average combined fuel consumption is 6.5-litres per 100 km and carbon emissions are 149 g/km. 0-100 km/h takes 6.8 seconds, and top speed is 230 km/h.
The T6 engine, mated to all-wheel drive, is the cream of the crop. Featuring a turbocharger and a supercharger, which supplements the turbo and takes care of low-down grunt until 3 500 rpm, power and torque is effectively available on demand – the T6 engine produces 235 kW at 5 700 rpm and 400 Nm between 2 200 and 5 400 rpm. The resulting performance is gutsy, with the 0-100 dash completed in 5.9 seconds, with top speed limited to 250 km/h. This derivative was driven out of Franschhoek on a flat road, and it certainly can shift pretty rapidly, but with superb handling. The 3 drive modes of comfort, eco & dynamic give you options of driving pleasure.
As can be expected, the new S90 picks up on the high precedent set by the XC90 and as such features all of Volvo’s latest safety systems as standard. This naturally includes ABS, EBD, EBA, stability and traction control, hill start assistance and six airbags, and Volvo’s Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) and Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS). Volvo’s patented safety cage is also employed in the S90’s body construction, with high-tensile Boron steel (35%) and a mix of other metals ensuring that the passenger compartment remains intact and that other parts of the car can absorb energy effectively, in the event of a collision.
A full list of safety features would be difficult to add here, but rest assured that the Volvo S90 is a superbly safe car. An interesting safety feature is the full-LED automatic headlights with Active Bending and Active High Beam technology. The lights not only offer energy-efficient and long-lasting lighting technology as standard, but have been designed to provide maximum effective illumination at all times.
The Volvo S90 is a modern car with a host of standard equipment that cements its premium status, the car handles beautifully, has power and fuel economy throughout the range, and will be a worthy contender in the premium luxury segment.
Volvo S90 D4 Geartronic Momentum R698 500
Volvo S90 D4 Geartronic Inscription R742 000
Volvo S90 D4 Geartronic R-Design R727 500
Volvo S90 D5 Geartronic AWD Momentum R777 700
Volvo S90 D5 Geartronic AWD Inscription R821 200
Volvo S90 D5 Geartronic AWD R-Design R806 700
Volvo S90 T5 Geartronic Momentum R675 200
Volvo S90 T5 Geartronic Inscription R718 700
Volvo S90 T5 Geartronic R-Design R704 200
Volvo S90 T6 Geartronic AWD Momentum R828 400
Volvo S90 T6 Geartronic AWD Inscription R871 900
Volvo S90 T6 Geartronic AWD R-Design R857 400
All models come standard with a 5-year/ 100 000 km full vehicle warranty, full maintenance plan and roadside assistance, as well as laminated glass and Tracker Connect as standard.