2018 Volvo S90

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MSRP: $48,100 - 68,150

2018 Volvo S90 Review

The 2018 Volvo S90 is an elegant, sophisticated luxury midsize sedan with an impressive set of standard features. However, its laid-back driving dynamics and below-average predicted reliability rating land it a low ranking in the class.

8.4

Overall

Scorecard

Critics' Rating: 8.8
Performance: 8.5
Interior: 8.8
Safety: 10.0
Reliability:
J.D. Power Ratings Logo

Pros & Cons

  • High-tech semiautonomous and infotainment features
  • Impressive list of standard features
  • First-class interior with comfortable seats

 

  • Small trunk by class standards
  • Driving dynamics aren't as engaging as some rivals
  • Below-average predicted reliability rating

 

New for 2018

  • Added standard features include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto
  • Standard long wheelbase adds almost 5 inches to length
  • New plug-in hybrid edition added

 

Is the Volvo S90 a Good Car?

The Volvo S90 is a good choice among luxury midsize sedans. The S90’s elegant cabin boasts first-class materials and elegant styling, along with plenty of seating space in the front and back. The infotainment interface – with its crisp, vertically oriented display – is one of the best in the class. Volvo's self-driving systems also garner lots of attention, and rightly so. A below-average predicted reliability rating is one of the S90’s few shortcomings. This Volvo also lacks the exciting driving dynamics that sportier rivals offer.

Should I Buy the Volvo S90?

There are many reasons to consider the S90. It’s an ideal choice if luxury, safety, and technology are at the top of your priorities list. Thanks to Volvo’s newly available plug-in hybrid powertrain, the S90 is also a good pick if you want an exceptionally fuel-efficient midsize car. However, the S90’s base price is on the high side, its trunk is comparatively small, and it has a lower predicted reliability rating than most rivals. While this Volvo brings a lot to the table, you may want to explore other options. Some good alternatives include the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, and Mercedes-Benz E-Class. There are also some good substitutes within the Volvo family, including the Volvo V90 (an all-new wagon) or the Volvo XC90, a luxury midsize SUV).

Compare the S90, A6, and 5 Series »

Should I Buy a New or Used Volvo S90?

The new Volvo S90 launched for 2017, replacing the S80. For 2018, the S90 gets a longer wheelbase and an optional plug-in hybrid powertrain that puts out 400 horsepower and can go about 21 miles on electric power alone. The 2018 also has more standard features, including Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, lane departure warning, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. Otherwise, models from these two years are very similar.

You can potentially save thousands of dollars by buying a used vehicle, but be aware that you may have a difficult time finding a used S90 because it was so recently introduced. If you're interested in a used model, be sure to visit our overview of the 2017 Volvo S90. Also, check out our Used Car Deals page to learn about savings and discounts on used vehicles.

Compare the 2017 and 2018 S90 »
We Did the Research for You: 22 Reviews Analyzed

Our Volvo S90 review includes far more than just one person's opinion. We collected professional evaluations from 22 professional car reviews and combined them with concrete data like fuel economy estimates, safety features, and performance specs to help you make an informed buying decision.

Our S90 overview incorporates reviews and research from each year of the car's existence, which includes the 2017 and 2018 model years.

Why You Can Trust Us

At U.S. News & World Report, we rank the Best Jobs, Best Hospitals, and Best Colleges to guide readers through some of life’s most complicated decisions. We've been ranking and reviewing the Best Cars since 2007, backed by a team with more than 75 years of combined automotive experience. To keep favoritism out of the picture, we maintain a separate advertising team and decline expensive gifts and trips from car companies..

How Much Does the Volvo S90 Cost?

When comparing base trim levels, Volvo S90 prices are among the highest in our ranking of the best luxury midsize cars. For 2018, expect to spend at least $48,100 for a new S90 T5 FWD Momentum and $58,600 for the T6 AWD Inscription ($58,600). Prices for the plug-in hybrid T8 start at $63,650 and $68,150, depending on trim.

When you're ready to buy, check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Volvo dealer.

Volvo S90 Versus the Competition

Which Is Better: Volvo S90 or BMW 5 Series?

The BMW 5 Series ranks higher in the luxury midsize car class and is unquestionably more fun to drive than the S90. The 5 Series offers a slew of powerful engines, including the 456-horsepower V8 in the M550i model. It rides smoothly and handles extremely well, but it also provides a premium, feature-laden interior.

Which Is Better: Volvo S90 or Audi A6?

The Audi A6 and Volvo S90 have similar price tags but not similar class rankings. The S90 comes with more standard features and offers more safety technology. Still, the A6 has the advantage in virtually every other area, which is why it finishes near the top of the class rankings.

Which Is Better: Volvo S90 or Volvo XC90?

If you want to stick within the Volvo family but aren't sure about the S90, you might consider the Volvo XC90, which is a luxury midsize SUV. It offers many of the same attributes of the S90, including spacious passenger seats, lots of cargo space, and an abundance of safety features. The XC90's performance is comparable to the S90 in that it's smooth and refined but not athletic.

Compare the S90, 5 Series, and XC90 »

S90 Interior

How Many People Does the S90 Seat?

The S90's outstanding front seats are inviting, and the back seat is welcoming as well. Because the five-passenger S90 now comes in only the long-wheelbase configuration, there's more legroom for rear-seat passengers than in most other midsize sedans, and three people can comfortably ride together in the back.

S90 and Car Seats

The S90 comes with three tether anchors and two sets of lower anchors. This LATCH hardware is easy to find and mostly easy to use, though connecting a seat to the lower anchors is somewhat difficult.

S90 Interior Quality

The S90 cabin is elegant and airy. Materials such as birch wood inlays with a dark flame finish and soft leather seats create a high-class, sophisticated ambiance, and the standard panoramic moonroof brightens the interior with lots of natural light.

S90 Cargo Space

The S90's trunk measures 13.5 cubic feet. That's small for the class and smaller than those of the BMW 5 Series and Jaguar XF. For extra-large items, the S90's rear seats have a pass-through for skis and fold with a 60/40 split.

S90 Infotainment, Bluetooth, and Navigation

The S90 contains one of the better infotainment systems around. Its large iPad-like screen features brilliant graphics and straightforward menus, and though you have to give the Sensus Connect interface time to wake up when you start the car, the system is quite responsive when it's ready. Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and navigation are standard.

For more information, read What Is Apple CarPlay? and What Is Android Auto? Then, see the Best Cars With Apple CarPlay and Best Cars With Android Auto.

Read more about interior »

S90 Performance

S90 Engine: 3 Lively Options

No matter which powertrain you select, the Volvo S90 sedan has plenty of power on tap for your daily commute. Each option combines a four-cylinder engine and a polished eight-speed automatic transmission. Choices include the base T5 (a 250-horspower, turbocharged engine), the all-wheel-drive-only T6 (a 316-horsepower engine that's both turbo- and supercharged), and the 400-horsepower plug-in hybrid T8.

S90 Gas Mileage: Above-Average Rating

The gasoline-powered S90 T5 gets 24 mpg in the city and 34 mpg on the highway, making it one of the most fuel-efficient vehicles in the class. The plug-in hybrid S90 T8 can shave around $400 from your annual fuel costs compared to the nonhybrid S90. It gets an EPA-estimated 71 mpg-equivalent and can drive about 21 miles on all-electric power. With a 240-volt charger, the S90 T8's battery can be fully recharged in roughly three hours.

S90 Ride and Handling: Complacent Cruiser

The S90 is a tranquil luxury sedan. Its ride is comfortable (but never floaty) and nimble (though not quite sporty). The base trim is front-wheel drive, and all-wheel drive is standard in all other trims and optional in the base S90.

Read more about performance »

S90 Reliability

Is the Volvo S90 Reliable?

The 2018 S90 has a slightly below-average predicted reliability rating of 2.5 out of five from J.D. Power.  

Volvo S90 Warranty

The 2018 S90 comes with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty.

Read more about reliability »

S90 Safety

S90 Crash Test Results

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety conducted only a portion of its crash tests on this car, and the S90 aced every single one. The S90’s standard safety equipment earned the highest grade of Superior for front crash prevention, according to the IIHS. The S90 has not undergone testing by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration.

S90 Safety Features

The 2018 S90 comes with a remarkable amount of safety features. Standard technologies include the Pilot Assist semiautonomous driving system (which includes adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist), a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, forward and rear collision warning, automatic emergency braking, a driver attention monitor, road sign information, automatic high beams, lane departure warning, run-off road assist, blind spot monitoring, and rear cross traffic alert. Optional safety features include front parking sensors, adaptive bending headlights, a 360-degree camera, active park assist, and a head-up display.

Read more about safety »

Which Volvo S90 Model Is Right for Me?

Volvo offers two trim levels for the 2018 S90: the Momentum trim and the up-level Inscription trim. Every S90 sedan comes with a four-cylinder engine and forced induction, with three powertrain options to pick from. The base turbocharged T5 engine is the only iteration that comes standard with front-wheel drive (all-wheel drive is available). The T6 engine adds a supercharger and increases the horsepower rating from 250 to 316. The T8 is a plug-in hybrid powertrain with a 400-horsepower rating.

Of all the S90 configurations, your best value is the S90 T5 Momentum. Its interior is richly appointed with high-grade materials and a plethora of infotainment goodies, and the suite of standard safety features is impressive. You can add a handful of upgrades without spending as much as you would on the Inscription. These upgrades include all-wheel drive ($2,200) and the $2,550 Convenience package, which contains a 360-degree surround-view camera, active park assist, front parking sensors, and a power trunk lid.

Volvo S90 Momentum

The interior of the base S90 Momentum is outfitted with leather seats, a panoramic moonroof, dual-zone automatic climate control, a 10-way power-adjustable driver's seat, and a leather-wrapped steering wheel. Standard features of the infotainment system include a 9-inch touch-screen display, a 10-speaker audio system, navigation, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto. The S90 also comes with an impressive amount of safety features. The Pilot Assist semiautonomous driving system (which includes adaptive cruise control and lane keep assist) is standard, as is a rearview camera, front and rear collision warning, automatic emergency braking, a driver attention monitor, road sign information, and automatic high beams.

For $48,100, the Momentum trim level comes standard with a 250-horspower, turbocharged four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive. This trim is also available with all-wheel drive ($50,300) or with both all-wheel drive and a 316-horsepower, supercharged and turbocharged four-cylinder engine ($54,100).

Volvo S90 Inscription

The gas-only S90 Inscription ($58,600) comes with the 316-horsepower T6 engine and all-wheel drive. Its standard features include Nappa leather upholstery, four-zone automatic climate control, sunshades for all rear windows, a 12.3-inch driver display, adaptive headlights, and upgraded front seats with heat, ventilation, and power cushion extenders.

Volvo S90 Plug-in Hybrid

The S90 Plug-in Hybrid features Volvo's T8 hybrid powertrain. This combines a supercharged, turbocharged four-cylinder engine with an electric motor and has a combined 400 horsepower rating. The S90 Plug-in Hybrid is available in Momentum ($63,650) and Inscription ($68,150) trims, with features mirroring the gas-only Momentum and Inscription trim levels.

Check out our U.S. News Best Price Program for great savings at your local Volvo dealer.

See 2018 Volvo S90 specs and trims »

The Final Call

When the Volvo S90 launched for 2017, it emerged as a worthy contender to top-ranking German sedans. The 2018 model is even more appealing, thanks to the addition of desirable standard features and extra legroom for rear-seat passengers. It isn't a sporty sedan, and it will feel too laid-back for some drivers, but if an ultra-lux cabin, outstanding safety features and ratings, and polished highway driving are your cup of tea, you won't go wrong with an S90.

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

  • "The S90 also rides high on Volvo's reputation for safety and comes with all of the latest advanced features found in other cars, as well as a few that are unique to the brand. The sedan's appeal is further bolstered by some of the most comfortable seats in the industry and a large, ultra-modern central touchscreen that reminds us of the massive screen in Tesla vehicles." -- Edmunds
  • "If you're looking for a luxurious and quiet midsize-premium sedan with state-of-the-art safety features, semi-autonomous capability and class-leading rear-seat legroom, you'll like the 2018 Volvo S90. Its 13.5-cubic-foot trunk is also sizable for the class, and with 400 horsepower, the S90 Plug-in Hybrid is significantly more powerful than BMW 530e iPerformance." -- Kelley Blue Book
  • "The S90, on the other hand, feels roomier inside, more substantial, maybe more solid, even though it's a bit lighter than the E300. It also feels meatier when you gas it. Dynamically, the S90 could please as many drivers as the E-Class, and some will no doubt find it better looking inside and … out." -- Autoweek (2017)
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