Used 1998 Volvo S90 Review
The Volvo S90, the luxury car formerly known as 960, is nearing the end of its life span. Volvo is concentrating on the popular 70-series models (C, S, and V) until more new product reaches the United States. Certainly a replacement is imminent for the rapidly aging 90-series models.
S90/V90 styling is attractive, and cuts wind drag at speed. Under the clean lines are a strong chassis and competent suspension. The 2.9-liter 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, antilock 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 conservative 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.
edmunds expert review process
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.
We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.