I’m one of those New York City citizens who owns a car. I like driving and don’t mind the slight hassles necessary to avoid parking tickets for the convenience of jumping into my car and bolting into the city for an event. And while Uber, Lyft, and all the yellow and green taxis work almost 99% of the time, spending time behind the wheel is a mundane meditation of mind. Driving relaxes me from the stresses of New York living.
Malaga, Spain is a world away from Manhattan, but also an exceptional place to drive. The coastal roadways of Southern Spain are well known for their views of the Mediterranean and their terrain, which explains why Volvo landed journalists into this city to experience the all-new Volvo S90 sedan, the latest offering from the Swedish automaker that’s had a helluva a year with their XC90 SUV – itself Motor Trend 2016 SUV of the Year, 2016 North American Truck of the Year in Detroit.
The Volvo S90 is the second vehicle from what is truly an all-new, reimagined Volvo – the first being the aforementioned XC90. With new innovation and capital, Volvo is refreshing every vehicle in its fleet at a pace that will make the XC90 their oldest fleet vehicle in under five years. Not many makers can innovate that quickly, but with Volvo’s new under-the-hood Volvo SPA (scalable product architecture) platform, they can simply build and run, hence, the Volvo S90.
Before driving, let me dig into the interior of the S90, which follows the XC90’s “Scandinavian Sanctuary,” an idea that commits to ensuring not only safety in ride, but also comfort. The interior feels warm in tone, with Napa leather-wrapped dashboard and thin-profile seating that adds a sense of space to the vehicle. Volvo’s laundry list of safety systems are all here in the S90 alongside a new Road Edge Mitigation that builds a digital wall to keep your car on the road by applying slight steering pressure, Large Animal Detection, Distance Alert and much more. These cars cut no corners to keep people safe.
Some of the more fun stuff in the interior: a 19-speaker Bower & Wilkins sound system and cooling glove box that keeps water bottles and chocolate proper. The proprietary four-panel dash display, first shown in the XC90, keep information like maps and music right there. Finally, the heads-up display keeps your eyes on the road.
The driving experience is right there with the interior. The weighted power steering feels right and the drive is as expected. Braking and cornering is fantastic. But for commuters, the real innovation is Volvo’s Pilot Assist, a semi-autonomous driving experience that’s hands-on and optimized for the highway. Pilot Assist maintains the S90’s placement between road lines for a pre-determined time; a soft alert reminds the driver to get their hands back on the wheel. It’s a nice touch, and one found in very few vehicles today.
The 2017 Volvo S90 features two engines options (specs on them over at Volvo.com) and will be available through dealers this month. Take one out for a test drive.