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The massive investment that Volvo's new owners have made in this Swedish automaker is paying off in appealing new cars such as the 2017 Volvo S90. Last year brought the introduction of the award-winning XC90 SUV, and now we have the second of the new Volvos, the S90, which replaces the stodgy S80 as the brand's flagship sedan.
One glance tells you how much has changed with both the brand and the car. The S90's sleek, coupelike shape is the polar opposite of the outgoing S80's, and the design theme continues inside. Volvo refers to it as a "Swedish sanctuary," and we can indeed see the visual relationship to Scandinavian interior design.
The styling isn't the only thing that has changed; the Volvo S90 also has an updated powertrain. All S90s get a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, which is available in two versions: the T5, which delivers 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels, and the T6, which offers 316 hp and 295 lb-ft and all-wheel drive. We tested an S90 with the T6 powertrain, and we were impressed by the engine's quick response and generous power.
Both engines feature an eight-speed automatic transmission and return good fuel economy for a car of this size. EPA fuel economy estimates are 27 mpg combined (23 city/34 highway) for the T5 and 25 mpg combined (22 city/31 highway) for the T6.
The electronics are also new, and the S90 features the same tablet-style infotainment and climate control system as in the Volvo XC90, with physical buttons reduced to the absolute minimum required by U.S. law. Volvo's seats remain among the best in the business; they are comfortable, supportive and offer a great range of adjustments. Even the upholstery is superior. Rear seat legroom is excellent, and the 17.7-cubic-foot trunk is among the largest in the segment.
This being a Volvo, safety looms large: The S90 includes collision mitigation with automatic braking; pedestrian, animal and cyclist detection; lane departure warning; a drowsy-driver warning system; and a telematics system that calls for help if the car is involved in a crash. There's even a system that helps to mitigate damage if the car is forced off the road. Blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert systems are optional extras.
Volvo offers the S90 in two trim levels, Momentum and Inscription, with a long list of standard features and, compared to most luxury cars, a relatively short list of stand-alone options and bundles. Edmunds can help find the perfect 2017 Volvo S90 for you.
Edmunds attended a manufacturer-sponsored event, to which selected members of the press were invited, to facilitate this report.