Volvo S90 T8

Style

The Volvo S90 is an elegant, midsize luxury sedan. Its long profile, coupe-like roofline, and sculpted hood create a sense of simplicity and balance. The flowing lines are contrasted with upright front and rear ends. The Volvo sedan is less about performance and more about comfort. Visual features, like the concave grille and so-called Thor’s Hammer LED headlamp design, provide striking Scandinavian accents. It’s immediately recognizable as a Volvo.

The cabin is also refined. The wood trim, high-end touch controls, and cushy seats will satisfy the most discriminating luxury buyers. The 12.3-inch instrument cluster—while somewhat busy with menus—is state-of-the-art. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto come standard. The Inscription trim level swaps in a crystal-trimmed, gear-shift knob that twists to start up the gas-electric system. Metallic speaker grilles adorn the optional, first-rate Bowers & Wilkins audio system. You might also consider adding electric rear and side window shades.

The S90’s standout interior feature is its generous, rear-seat legroom. The list of options includes four-zone climate control with heated and vented seats front and back. The ambiance is relaxed yet modern.

Performance

The S90 T8 delivers 400-horsepower performance with 472 pound-feet of torque. Zero-to-60-mph acceleration occurs in 4.5 seconds—faster than Volvo’s other less efficient sedans. That acceleration also beats the BMW 530e and Cadillac CT6 plug-in hybrids.

As with other T8 models, the gasoline engine powers the front wheels while the electric motor motivates the rear wheels. The engine is a turbocharged and supercharged two-liter, four-cylinder mill providing 316 ponies and 295 pound-feet of torque. Electric propulsion is supplied via two motors—one rated at 87 horsepower in the rear, and a 46-hp motor that starts the engine.

When operating in all-electric mode, you’re piloting a smooth, nearly silent rear-wheel-drive Volvo. The engineers configured the system to always have electric power on demand. In that way, when power and grip are necessary, the Volvo S90 can always utilize its all-wheel-drive capability.

Volvo S90 T8

Drive-selected modes allow you to maximize electric propulsion, save battery power for later, or use the gasoline engine to generate electrons to increase the state-of-charge. Most drivers can and should leave the S90 T8 in Hybrid mode—allowing the vehicle’s computer to decide the optimal balance of power and efficiency based on driving conditions.

Auto reviewers are divided on the S90’s transitions from electric to gas. Some believe that it’s seamless, while others say the engine cycles on and off too loudly. The opinion is also split on the transition from regenerative to friction braking. (The latest XC90 made the switch to hydraulic brakes to quiet any concerns. Expect the same for the S90 T8.)

The S90’s stretched dimension not only provide more legroom but a more composed ride. The drive gets calmer still with the optional air suspension.

Efficiency/Range

The 2020 S90 T8 ups the size of the battery pack to 11.6 kilowatt-hours. The increase helps the S90 plug-in hybrid obtain an EPA rating for 21 miles of gas-free driving—and a combined EPA highway/city efficiency rating of 71 MPGe. After the plug-in power is depleted, the S90 delivers 29 miles per gallon.

Total combined range is 490 miles.

Charging

The Volvo S90 T8’s battery can be fully charged from a 240-volt source in about three hours. Using a standard 110-volt wall plug takes about 4.5 hours to recharge the S90 T8 fully.

Passenger/Cargo Room

The S90 has a long wheelbase, providing best-in-class legroom. The cabin feels open and comfortable, a vibe enhanced by the panoramic sunroof that comes standard. A high window line makes the car feel upright.

To maximize comfort, go with the Inscription trim that offers 14-way power-adjustable front seats. The add-on $3,450 Luxury package includes heating, ventilation for all seats. The front seats have a massage function and a larger center armrest with more storage. The $2,550 Convenience package brings a power trunk lid, a 360-degree camera system, and park assist.

Volvo placed the vehicle’s lithium-ion battery in the central tunnel. The company believes the central location is the safest place to package the battery. It also allows the S90 to maintain 13.5 cubic feet of trunk space—which is not quite as generous as what’s found in other S90 versions. There’s no spare tire.

The S90 comes standard with a 9.3-inch Sensus Connect infotainment system. Its homepage organizes navigation, phone, media, and other dashboard applications. Other standard features include 4G LTE, an in-car Wi-Fi hotspot, and navigation.

Safety

Volvo goes to great lengths to enhance the safety of its vehicles. Volvo’s Vision 2020 sets the goal that no one should be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo. The S90’s SPA platform, as one example of a safety enhancement, uses seats with special, small crumple zones to mitigate injury in crashes.

Standard driver-assistance features include collision-mitigation braking, lane-keep assist, automatic high-beams, and blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert. The S90 also features adaptive cruise control with steering support, which Volvo calls Pilot Assist. It works up to 80 miles per hour. Another system called City Safety detects pedestrians, cyclists, and large animals such as moose and deer.

Volvo S90 T8

Price

The Volvo S90 T8 has a base price of $64,840, including destination charges. The Volvo website offers two trim levels for the S90 T8—the R-Design and Inscription. The base price for the Inscription S90 T8 is $69,100.

The R-Design offers bespoke exterior design details and colors. The cabin has more of a cockpit-like feel, with exclusive leather upholstery, metal inlays, and sports seats. These special packages—such as the Convenience and Luxury packages mentioned above—can push the price to about $72,000.

The S90 Inscription comes standard with keyless access, a panoramic sunroof, embedded navigation, satellite radio, and four-zone automatic climate control, plus heated and ventilated front seats. Adding a full assortment of packages could bring the price close to $80,000.

Other enhancements include Polestar-Engineered optimized software for a $1,295; a rear spoiler for $450; and a diffusor with end pipes for $705.

The federal government offers S90 T8 buyers a tax credit of $5,002. Local and state agencies provide additional incentives.

Volvo S90 T8 specifications

Availability: Now
Base MSRP: $65000
Est. tax credit: $5000
Technology: Plug-in Hybrid
Body type: Sedan
Seats: 5
EPA Range: 21 miles electric + gasoline
Battery size: 12 kWh
Charging rate: 3.7 kW

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