Used 1997 Volvo S90 Sedan Review
Don't expect the 960 to hang around forever. (Ha...how prophetic. New names arrived midyear, so the sedan is now the S90 and the wagon is now the V90.) Next year, Volvo's product line expands with the addition of the sporty C70 Coupe, the new S70 sedan and V70 wagon, and an Outback-like V70 T-5 Wagon sporting all-wheel drive. When these new image models arrive, the 960 will become even more redundant than it already is.
S90/V90 styling is attractive, and cuts wind drag at speed. Under the clean lines are a strong chassis and competent suspension. The 2.9L inline six produces its power and torque peaks at low rpm for better driveability. The business-like interior contains a few oddly placed controls, but is a nice place to spend time. Seats are supremely comfortable front and rear. Still, the fact remains that this car is smaller inside, heavier, and more expensive than the S70/V70. Worse, it's less powerful than all but the base S70/V70, and gets worse gas mileage.
What's the S90/V90 got going for it? A full load of standard equipment, for starters. Leather interior, alloy wheels, power sunroof, anti-lock brakes, automatic climate control, premium sound system, heated exterior mirrors, dual power seats, and a multitude of power accouterments are all included in the base price. Rear-wheel drive for better balance and dry-weather handling is a plus. Wagons add an integrated child safety seat. Standard side-impact airbags are nice, and the creased sheetmetal stands out in a class of look-alike blob-mobiles.
The S90/V90 competes in the overcrowded near-luxury segment, and is a good choice for folks looking for something a little different. Fully optioned, an S90 runs about $36,000. But does it offer value? We don't think so, particularly with the larger, more powerful S70 GLT sitting next to it in the showroom.
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This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.
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