by Larry Lark, Herald Special Sections Writer
You don’t have to be Scandinavian to be drawn to the 2017 Volvo S90 T6 AWD Inscription.
My DNA inexplicably draws me to all things Nordic – with the exception of lutefisk. You gotta draw the line somewhere. This Volvo serves up a rich, delectable ride that hasn’t been soaked in lye.
S90 is Volvo’s luxury, four-door, five-passenger flagship sedan. It is the first car in the U.S. to offer semi-autonomous driving technology as standard operating equipment. Long known for its safety features, the Swedish automaker also includes large-animal detection and run-off-road mitigation as standard.
Reindeer and Aquavit are apparently a bad combination, but not to be feared when driving this sleigh. S90 features minimalist, sculpted exterior and driver-oriented interior with a clear Scandinavian design influence and natural materials. It is loaded with cloud-based applications and services.
Powered by an award-winning 2.0-liter, four-cylinder, inline, direct-inject, supercharged and turbocharged engine, the S90 flies. Combined with an eight-speed Geartronic automatic transmission, the combination generates 316-horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque at 2,200 rpm. It gets 25 miles per gallon in a mix of city/highway driving.
I must admit, I struggled to behave myself. Fortunately, self-discipline prevailed, and mostly it was just quick starts to the speed limit that allowed me to enjoy the S90 safely and sanely.
My tester, the top-of-the-line model, was long on luxury and convenience features. The Inscription model ($3,300) adds Nappa soft-leather upholstery with heated and ventilated front seats, walnut wood inlays, four-zone climate control included a cooled glove box, leather dash and upper door panels, Apple CarPlay and USB hub, 20-inch, 10-spoke alloy wheels and more.
It also included additional option packages including vision ($1,950), climate ($1,950) and convenience ($1,000). Vision features a 360-degree surround-view camera and blind-spot monitoring system. Climate adds heated washer nozzles, heated rear seats, heated steering wheel and a graphical heads up display. Convenience is highlighted by a power trunk lid, 12v power outlet and parking assist (front and rear).
The navigation system, with its nine-inch display, was exceptional. And the 330-watt, high-performance, Bowers and Wilkins sound system with 19 speakers – was even better. The Concert Hall mode reproduces the sound experience from the Gothenberg Concert Hall, Volvo’s hometown.
All-wheel drive with instant traction control instills driver confidence in all weather conditions. But that’s just the beginning with the S90. There are adjustable drive-mode settings, anti-lock brakes with hill-start assist, advanced electronic stability, side-impact protection and a boron steel safety cage. Almost 35 percent of the S90’s body weight is hot-formed boron steel, the strongest steel currently used in the automotive industry.
Frankly, everything about the S90 was impressive. If I wasn’t such a cheapskate, this one would be parked in my driveway permanently.
2017 VOLVO S90 T6
BASE PRICE: $52,950
AS TESTED: $66,105
Base price includes destination charge. Vehicles are provided by the manufacturer. Prices may vary at local dealerships.