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2021 Volvo S90 Review

The 2021 Volvo S90 offers two good engine choices, an elegant interior, and a spacious back seat, but it’s relegated to the bottom half of our luxury midsize car rankings because of an abysmal predicted reliability rating.

Pros & Cons

  • High-end cabin
  • Spacious and comfortable seats
  • Enviable acceleration
  • Long list of features
  • Poor predicted reliability rating
  • Below-average trunk space
  • Ride quality can be stiff

New for 2021

  • Refreshed exterior design
  • Adaptive headlights and wireless device charging now standard
  • Plug-in-hybrid model renamed

Rankings & Research

The 2021 Volvo S90's #8 ranking is based on its score within the Luxury Midsize Cars category. Currently the Volvo S90 has a score of 7.8 out of 10, which is based on our evaluation of 25 pieces of research and data elements using various sources.

7.8

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.6
Performance: 7.3
Interior: 7.8
Safety:
This model has never been fully tested for safety. Its overall score is being calculated without safety.
N/A
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Thinking of leasing a Volvo S90?

The U.S. News Best Price Program saves users an average of $3,206 off the MSRP, and a lower price equals lower monthly lease payments. That means you could see a savings of $90 a month on a 36-month lease.

Is the Volvo S90 a Good Car?

The 2021 Volvo S90 may not reach the upper ranks of the luxury midsize car class, but it's still a good car. This Volvo's interior quality is top-notch, and it backs that up with comfortable front seats, ample rear-seat room, and an extensive list of technology features. Furthermore, the S90 accelerates quickly and has a decent balance of ride and handling.

Why You Can Trust Us: 25 Reviews Analyzed

We analyzed 25 Volvo S90 reviews – along with reliability ratings, fuel economy estimates, and more – to help you decide if the 2021 S90 is the right new car for you.

This 2021 S90 review incorporates applicable research for all models in this generation, which launched for 2017.

U.S. News Best Cars has been ranking and reviewing vehicles since 2007, and our staff has more than 75 years of combined experience in the auto industry. To ensure our objectivity, we never accept expensive gifts from carmakers, and an outside firm manages the ads on our site.

Should I Buy the Volvo S90?

The S90 certainly merits consideration if you're looking for a well-appointed and comfortable luxury sedan. It also has appeal if you want something outside of standard mainstream fare like the BMW 5 Series and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. However, those rivals rank higher than the S90, and you may like them a little more.

Find a 2021 Volvo S90 for sale near you »

2020 vs. 2021 Volvo S90: What's the Difference?

There are only minor differences between the 2021 and 2020 Volvo S90. For 2021, Volvo gives the car a minor exterior design refresh, and adaptive headlights and wireless device charging are now standard. Additionally, the T8 plug-in-hybrid model is now named Recharge, like the other alternative-fuel vehicles in Volvo's lineup.

Compare the 2020 and 2021 S90 »

Here are the key changes for the Volvo S90 over its lifetime:

  • 2017: all-new model
  • 2018: plug-in-hybrid model introduced; extended overall length and rear-seat legroom; added standard Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, and blind spot monitoring
  • 2019: leather upholstery no longer standard; features shuffled between trims
  • 2020: T5 base engine and front-wheel drive discontinued; genuine leather upholstery and heated front seats added to standard features list; R-Design trim debuted
  • 2021: slight exterior refresh; adaptive headlights and wireless device charging now standard; plug-in-hybrid model renamed

If you're considering an older model, be sure to read our 2018 S90, 2019 S90, and 2020 S90 reviews to help make your decision. Also, check out our Best New Car Deals and Best New Car Lease Deals pages to learn about savings and discounts you can find on new vehicles.

How Much Does the Volvo S90 Cost?

The 2021 Volvo S90 retails for $51,550, which is a little above average for the luxury midsize car class. The S90 plug-in-hybrid model starts at $60,050. This car has a much lower price ceiling than many class rivals, as a fully loaded model comes in under $69,000.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Volvo dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives for new Volvo models on our Volvo deals page.

Volvo S90 Versus the Competition

Volvo S90 vs. BMW 5 Series

The BMW 5 Series is one of the most agile cars in the class and drives with the character of a smaller car. This BMW offers a lineup of a half-dozen powertrains that range from a fuel-efficient plug-in hybrid to engines with 600 horsepower and beyond. Though both of these cars have an elegant interior and welcoming seating, the 5 Series has a much larger trunk and a more intuitive infotainment system than the S90. An above-average predicted reliability rating helps propel this BMW to a very high ranking. The S90 isn’t bad, but the 5 Series is better.

Compare the S90 and 5 Series »

Volvo S90 vs. Mercedes-Benz E-Class

The Mercedes-Benz E-Class impresses with its lavish cabin and forgiving ride quality. And while it costs several thousand dollars more than the S90, it's a better pick. The E-Class is available in sedan, coupe, convertible, and wagon body styles, as well as some high-performance AMG models, and its list of standard and optional equipment is longer than a giraffe's neck. No matter what you prioritize in a luxury midsize car, you can probably find it in an E-Class.

Compare the S90 and E-Class »

Compare the S90, 5 Series, and E-Class »

S90 Interior: Swanky and Spacious

S90 Cargo Space

The Volvo S90's trunk measures 13.5 cubic feet. That's not a terribly impressive amount of space for a luxury midsize car, but it's decent. There’s enough space for several suitcases, three sets of golf clubs, or a dozen shopping bags. Utility is enhanced by standard hands-free access, which lets you swipe your foot under the rear bumper to pop the lid. You'll also get power-folding rear seats that go down at the push of a button, allowing you to haul longer, skinny items.

The top Inscription trim is available with a rear-seat upgrade package that adds power adjustments but removes the folding capability entirely. You can also opt for a fully power-opening trunk lid.

How Many People Does the S90 Seat?

The S90 sedan seats five people. The driver and front passenger seats have plush cushions and a good amount of support. R-Design models boast upgraded front sport seats with extra side bolstering.

This Volvo offers more than 40 inches of rear legroom, which is among the best in the class. Taller back-seat occupants will have no problem stretching their legs, but headroom comes up merely average for a car this size.

S90 and Child Car Seats

There are two complete sets of LATCH connectors for the S90’s rear outboard seats and a tether anchor for the rear middle seat. The lower anchors aren't set too deeply in the seats, and it requires little force to attach the car-seat straps, but it can be difficult to maneuver your hands around the anchors.

S90 Interior Quality

The S90 has an opulent cabin with high-end materials and trim pieces such as wood and aluminum.

S90 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

Volvo's Sensus infotainment system is housed in a vertically oriented 9-inch touch screen. It controls most functions of the car, including seating and climate adjustments. Because of this, you'll probably endure a bit of a learning curve, but the interface is fairly user-friendly.

  • Standard infotainment features: a 9-inch touch screen, Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, wireless device charging, navigation, a 10-speaker stereo, and Bluetooth
  • Available infotainment features: a 14-speaker Harman Kardon premium stereo and a 19-speaker Bowers & Wilkins premium stereo
  • Additional standard features: a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a universal garage door opener, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, a panoramic sunroof, and proximity keyless entry
  • Other available features: quad-zone automatic climate control, power rear sunshades, and ambient interior lighting

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto?

Read more about interior »

S90 Performance: Charged-Up Engines

S90 Engine

The Volvo S90 comes standard with a 316-horsepower turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder engine. Not only is that the highest horsepower rating for a base engine in the class, but it gives the S90 spry acceleration in nearly all situations. Volvo calls this base engine T6. A standard eight-speed automatic transmission delivers sharp and timely shifts.

The S90 Recharge is a plug-in-hybrid model that pairs the standard T6 powertrain with an electric motor to produce 400 horsepower. The instant added torque from the hybrid components result in the car feeling even quicker from a stop.

S90 Gas Mileage

The 2021 Volvo S90 T6 gets an EPA-estimated 21 mpg in the city and 32 mpg on the highway. Those estimates are about average for the luxury midsize car class.

The S90 Recharge gets 60 MPG-equivalent in combined city/highway driving. Compared to all other new plug-in hybrids, the Recharge's fuel economy is about average. This alternative-fuel S90 has an all-electric driving range of 21 miles.

For more information, read What Is MPGe?

S90 Ride and Handling

This Volvo takes corners with composure and has good road grip thanks to standard all-wheel drive. While the steering has a good amount of weight to it, there's not a lot of feedback. Many rival rear-wheel-drive sports sedans feel more athletic. The S90 rides comfortably over smoother pavement, but larger bumps are felt in the cabin.

Read more about performance »

S90 Reliability

Is the Volvo S90 Reliable?

The 2021 Volvo S90 has the lowest-possible predicted reliability rating of two out of five.

Volvo S90 Warranty

Volvo covers the S90 with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty. Models with the plug-in powertrain have an additional eight-year/100,000-mile warranty for their special hybrid components.

Read more about reliability »

S90 Safety

S90 Crash Test Results

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has not evaluated the 2021 Volvo S90, but the very similar 2020 S90 received the highest rating of Good in all six crash tests.

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration has not crash tested the Volvo S90 since the car's inception.

S90 Safety Features

Standard advanced safety features:

  • Forward collision warning
  • Automatic emergency braking
  • Adaptive headlights
  • Adaptive cruise control
  • Pilot Assist active driving system
  • Oncoming collision detection
  • Lane departure warning
  • Lane keep assist
  • Blind spot monitoring
  • Rear cross traffic alert
  • Traffic sign recognition
  • Rearview camera
  • Front and rear parking sensors
  • Rain-sensing windshield wipers

Available advanced safety features:

  • Head-up display
  • Surround-view parking camera system
  • Automatic parking assist

Read more about safety »

S90 Dimensions and Weight

The S90 is 16.7 feet long, and its curb weight ranges from 4,190 to 4,673 pounds.

Where Is the 2021 Volvo S90 Built?

Volvo builds the 2021 S90 in China.

Which Volvo S90 Model Is Right for Me?

The 2021 Volvo S90 comes in three trims: Momentum, R-Design, and Inscription. A 316-horsepower turbo- and supercharged engine (T6), an eight-speed automatic transmission, and all-wheel drive are standard. R-Design and Inscription models are available with a 400-horsepower plug-in-hybrid powertrain (Recharge).

If you don't want the plug-in hybrid, stick with the base Momentum trim. It has a long list of standard features and offers some attractive options. However, to get amenities such as a Bowers & Wilkins stereo or an air suspension, you'll have to spring for the R-Design or Inscription model and then spend some additional money.

Volvo S90 Momentum

The 2021 Volvo S90 Momentum starts at $51,550. Standard features include leather upholstery, power-adjustable and heated front seats, driver's seat memory settings, a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster, a universal garage door opener, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, dual-zone automatic climate control, a panoramic sunroof, power-folding rear seats, proximity keyless entry, and a hands-free trunk lid. The standard 9-inch touch-screen infotainment system includes Android Auto, Apple CarPlay, satellite radio, wireless device charging, navigation, a 10-speaker stereo, and Bluetooth.

The S90's standard driver assistance features include forward collision warning, automatic emergency braking, adaptive headlights, adaptive cruise control, the Pilot Assist active driving system, oncoming collision detection, lane departure warning, lane keep assist, blind spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, traffic sign recognition, a rearview camera, front and rear parking sensors, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.

The Climate package costs $750 and adds heated rear seats, heated windshield washers, and a heated steering wheel. For $1,900, the Advanced package includes a head-up display, a surround-view parking camera system, a power trunk lid, and ambient interior lighting. A 14-speaker Harman Kardon premium stereo is optional for $800.

Volvo S90 R-Design

The Volvo S90 R-Design retails for $54,650 with the standard powertrain, while the S90 Recharge R-Design starts at $60,050. Additional standard features include Nappa leather upholstery, front sport seats, passenger-seat memory settings, quad-zone automatic climate control, power rear sunshades, R-Design styling, and a 14-speaker Harman Kardon premium stereo.

A 19-speaker Bowers & Wilkins premium stereo is available for $3,200, automatic parking assist costs $200, and an adaptive air suspension is optional for $1,200.

Volvo S90 Inscription

The Volvo S90 T6 Inscription and Recharge models have the same MSRPs as their R-Design companions, but they come with ventilated front seats and power-adjustable front-seat side bolsters. The $1,300 Lounge package adds ventilated rear seats and massaging front seats.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Volvo dealer. You can also find excellent manufacturer incentives on our Volvo deals page.

See 2021 Volvo S90 specs and trims »

The Final Call

There's a lot to like about the 2021 Volvo S90. An expansive rear seat, a luxurious interior, and formidable engine power create a pretty well-rounded offering. However, other luxury midsize cars afford livelier handling, better predicted reliability, more trunk space, and a more comfortable ride.

Don’t just take our word for it. Check out comments from some of the reviews that drive our rankings and analysis.

  • "The 2021 Volvo S90 … is almost as spacious as a full-size sedan, with an expansive rear passenger seat. The quality of materials is of a suitably lofty standard and equipment levels are generous, especially in terms of safety features." -- Autotrader
  • "Volvo’s luxury sedan has a pleasant personality and a beautiful design, both of which help make up for its minor refinement shortcomings." -- Car and Driver
  • "If you're in the market for a luxury sedan that's different from the go-to options, the S90 is well worth consideration." -- Motor Trend (2020)
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