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2017 Volvo S90 T6 AWD Hits and Misses


A near identical twin of this gorgeous Volvo won a comparison test last November based on the strength of its bold, unique design, Scandinavian minimalist luxury interior, and impressive value proposition and on the robust performance of its twin-charged 2.0-liter engine. That car was also a strong contender to take home our Car of the Year calipers, but it came it up a little short in a few areas-one biggie being the tire noise emanating from the optionally upsized 255/35R20 Pirelli P Zero tires. Well, five months on we borrowed another S90 T6, again in Mussel Blue Metallic, and burned a tank of gas crisscrossing lower Michigan on a variety of different types of roads to see how those initial impressions are holding up.

To make this drive more interesting, we managed to wrangle a test car fitted with one of Volvo's alternative all-season tire offerings: Michelin Pilot Sport A/S 3+ in the same 20-inch size. It's hard to generalize about tire brands, but we often find Michelins to deliver a slightly better ride and lower noise than their direct competitors. Not here. Perhaps Volvo's performance specs are so stringent that every OE fitment tire is destined to roar on aggregate asphalt surfaces. The aggressive tread pattern is probably partly responsible, but the folks who signed off on the level of sound deadening on the wheelhouses deserve plenty of blame here, too. We recommend test driving the standard 19-inch tires to see if cushier sidewalls reduce the din at all. (The 19s will also save $800.)

One of our favorite things about the S90 is how un-German it is, how fresh and original so many aspects of its design are. Even the key and the start and drive-mode buttons are unique. Buy a T6, and the key is swathed in leather matching the interior upholstery. (This one is “keyed” to the “linear walnut” wood-an accessory item that costs about $50 per key.) The fob not only looks cool, but it also features buttons placed on the skinny edges, not the broad flat front or back. This makes it vastly less likely that crouching or maneuvering with the key in a pants pocket will set the alarm blaring or lock/unlock the car inadvertently. It's also cool to twist the start/stop button and roll and press the barrel-shaped mode switch.

These beautifully sculpted knobs control the flow from all the dash vents. Twist them 90 degrees clockwise to shut off flow; slide them left, right, up, or down to direct their flow. They're highly intuitive, attractive, and pleasant to the touch.

It should come as no surprise that the Scandinavians are exceptionally adept at producing effective seat heaters. We knew the front seats were speedy to heat up (the folks up there are the ones making the payments), but on this trip our rear-seat passengers also reported very quick response to the request for full-strength heat. After all, most of Sweden enjoys a subarctic climate (five to seven months of below-freezing average temperatures).

What the Scandinavians are less accustomed to is bright light-much of the country is dark most of the day in the dead of winter. And maybe Swedish paparazzi are also less aggressive. In any case, the S90 Inscription trim grade includes rear sun curtains for the main side door glass (which don't cover the windows thoroughly) but not for the rear quarter windows or for the main rear window where a lot of the sun comes in to bake an interior in the summer.

The 2018 Volvo S90's biggest update is that the car will only be offered in a new-to-the-U.S. long-wheelbase form. The car will be built in China, just as the S60 Inscription long-wheelbase model is, but whereas the S60's 3.1-inch wheelbase stretch improves legroom from 33.5 to 36.9 inches, the 2017 S90's legroom starts out at a mighty generous 35.9 inches-sufficient for our 6-foot-plus-tall rear-seat occupants. This begs the question, how tall are these Chinese plutocrats?

Text Source: Motor Trend
Nice write up!

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