2017 Volvo S90 T6 AWD Inscription Test Drive [Review]


The 2017 Volvo S90 T6 AWD Inscription is an all-new 4-door luxury sedan that seats 5 adults comfortably. It is a stellar example of Scandinavian design that draws several cues and inspiration from Volvo’s award-winning XC90 SUV. The interior execution provides sumptuous surroundings that blend harmoniously with the exterior.


Power for the new S90 T6 is delivered by a powerful four-cylinder Drive-E engine – a 2.0-liter DOHC, 16-valve Supercharged and Turbocharged inline four-cylinder with direct fuel injection that pumps out an impressive 316 horsepower at 5,700 rpm, while also developing 295 pound feet of torque in a range from 2,200 to 5,400 rpm. The transversely mounted front engine routs its motive force to all four wheels via an 8-speed Geartronic automatic transmission with auto start/stop.


The S90 is the first car in the United States to offer semi-autonomous driving technology as standard fare. Large animal detection and run-off road mitigation are two world-first safety technologies that will also come standard. The S90 is the second vehicle to be based on the Volvo’s all-new Scalable Product Architecture SPA featuring an elegantly sculpted exterior design with luxury proportions on a long wheelbase; a driver-oriented interior featuring natural materials with a distinctive Scandinavian design influence; Volvo’s Sensus infotainment technology with an available 12.3-inch touchscreen and patented user interface; semi-autonomous and driver assistance systems like Pilot Assist; active and passive safety systems with an optional air suspension system.

Visually, the Volvo S90 displays a stately elegant form with its long sculpted hood, short rear deck and minimal overhangs, unusual for a front-wheel-drive platform. Starting up front is an upright chrome waterfall grille inspired by the legendary Volvo P1800 coupe featuring a prominent Iron Mark logo. In profile, a long dash-to-axle ratio presents a lower, wider and longer silhouette than its competitive set. The belt line is high and straight, delivering a consistent front to rear flow. The greenhouse showcases a graceful arc from the hood base, through the C-pillar or sail panel into the abbreviated rear deck.


Models offered will be a T5 FWD and a T6 AWD, both of which are available in a base Momentum trim or upscale Inscription trim. Base model pricing begins at $40,950. While a T6 AWD Inscription starts at $50,250. A $995 Destination charge applies to all models and trims.

My test Volvo S90 T6 AWD was in Inscription trim with package features that cost an extra $3,300. The exterior was sprayed Mussel Blue metallic, while the interior was done in Ivory and Charcoal tones with linear Walnut open pore wood inlay accents. Other options included the Vision Package, a Climate Package with HUD, the Convenience Package, Bowers & Wilkins Premium Sound System, metallic paint and 20-inch Inscription alloy wheels. The final price tag came to $66,105.


From the “Thor’s Hammer” front lighting flanking the chrome waterfall grille to the twin rectangular chrome exhaust tips, the 2017 Volvo S90 T6 AWD Inscription is a thing of beauty. The Swedish design of this Chinese-owned Scandinavian delivers an emotional aura that literally shouts luxury.

The power delivery from the 2.0-liter supercharged and turbocharged, direct injected four-cylinder belies its small displacement. The 316 horses and 295 pound feet of torque are indeed impressive with their instantaneous response and output, while yielding EPA estimates of 22 mpg city and 31 mpg highway, with the capability of moving from 0-60 mph in 5.7 seconds – not bad for a vehicle weighing in at just over two tons.

The Volvo S90 T6 handles superbly in virtually every driving scenario from narrow, two-lane twisting country roads to freeway travel and urban jaunts. The ride quality is both comfortable and stable under throttle.

Safety technology features, something that Volvo is famous for, abound, as does connectivity and infotainment technology. Volvo’s Sensus Connect system comes with a 9.3-inch touchscreen that works via infrared technology. Its patent four-tile homepage keeps navigation, phone, media and applications always available.

Key features include 4G LTE connectivity with in-car Wi-Fi hotspot; patented 4-tile layout featuring navigation, audio, phone and apps with tiles that expand when selected; Bluetooth audio streaming; tethering via Wi-Fi or Bluetooth; USB and AUX inputs; Voice Control; and Sensus Navigation.

Volvo’s goal is to obviously present a threat to its German competitors in terms of luxury and technological content. As far as performance attributes go, the existing S90 is capable of hauling the mail with gusto, but for heightened thrill-seeking potential, a Polestar version is scheduled for the future, and a scheduled plug-in-hybrid should satisfy the ecologically conscious.

In the final analysis, the 2017 Volvo S90 T6 AWD Inscription is certainly a worthy adversary for the comparative German set, and at a cost that is lower, generally speaking.

SPECIFICATIONS: Volvo S90 T6 AWD Inscription
Base Price: $52,950.
Price as Tested: $66,105.
Engine Type and Size: 2.0-liter DOHC, 16-valve Supercharged and Turbocharged inline four-cylinder with Direct Fuel Injection.

Horsepower (bhp): 316 @ 5,700 rpm

Torque (ft./ lbs.): 295 @ 2,200-5,400 rpm Transmission: 8-speed Geartronic automatic with auto start/stop.

Drive Train: Transversely mounted front engine / AWD.

Suspension: Front – Double wishbone, coil springs, hydraulic shock absorbers and stabilizer bar.
Rear – Integral axle with transverse composite leaf spring, hydraulic shock absorbers and rear air suspension system.

Brakes: Power-assisted four-wheel discs with ABS, EBD, and EBA.

Tires: Pirelli P-Zero 235/35 R20 97W mounted on 8 grooved spoke alloy wheels.

Wheelbase: 115.8 inches
Length Overall: 195.4 inches
Width: 79.5 inches with mirrors out.
Height: 56.8 inches with sharkfin antenna
Curb Weight: 4,080 lbs.
Turning Circle: 38.7 ft.
Fuel Capacity: 15.9 gallons
EPA Mileage Estimates: 22 mpg city / 31 mpg highway
Drag Coefficient: 0.28-.30
0 – 60 mph: 5.7 seconds