DETROIT — Last spring it had been warm for days and then the snow came. It was plentiful, up to eight inches in some locales, there were huge flakes and it was heavy. There was snow and slush and frustration all over the place.
But I was secure in the 2018 Volvo S90 Inscription that I was test-driving. All-wheel-drive was standard and there were no slips, no slides, no sideway glides. The car drove as though the pavement was dry.
And when it was really dry, I got the chance to experience a top-flight luxury sedan. For 2018, the S90 had a longer wheelbase that provided 4.5 inches more leg room.
To the basics, I had the S90 T6. Translated that means the car was powered by a 2.0 liter, four-cylinder engine that had both supercharger and turbocharger under the hood. As disconcerting as this sounds, the engine made 316 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque at a relatively low 2,200 rpm. The engine was mated to an eight-speed transmission and it had start-stop capability.
This combination made the sedan super quick and fuel efficient too. It had an EPA rating of 31 mpg on the highway and 22 mpg in the city. That’s impressive for a full size sedan with more than 300 horsepower.
It had three drive modes: comfort, eco and dynamic. No matter which one we put the S90 in the ride was smooth, cornering was good and acceleration was effortless. Much of that drivability attitude can be attributed to the double wishbone front suspension and the rear air suspension.
The car was quiet and the interior ambience was pierced by a 10-speaker 330 watt premium sound system. The car had a 9-inch touchscreen with navigation system. It operated much like the screen on a smartphone or iPad. It also had its own Wi-Fi hotspot.
That was only the beginning of the creature comforts. I had the Inscription which is the top trim line. The 2018 Volvo S90 had a collision avoidance system, run off road mitigation and protection and a pilot assist semi-autonomous drive system. None of which we either needed or opted to use.
Among the standard equipment was a panoramic sun roof. Again we didn’t use it because we didn’t want to let the snow in. As with most luxury sedans of this ilk, the rear seat was a control center.
The 2018 Volvo S90 Inscription had rear side privacy screens and one for the rear window. All were power. The front passenger seat could also be controlled from a panel on the rear right side door and so could the panoramic roof and screen. The car was set up to be chauffeur-driven with the boss in control in the rear; there were climate controls for the back seats as well as two USB jacks and a 12V plug.
The Inscription package included adaptive bending LED headlights with automatic high beams and Thor’s Hammer DRLs. Heated and cooled front seats, 4-zone climate controls and laminated side windows.
Individual optional equipment included the premium sound system, a heated steering wheel, and a heads up display and 20-inch Inscription alloy wheels. About the only thing I quibbled about was that the manual tilt telescoping steering wheel should have been power.
Volvo has taken interior design to another level. The inside of the S90 rivaled what you might find in a concept car. Like in Sweden, the wood dominated. It was simple, plentiful and porous. Napa leather abounded.
I think Volvo fashions one of the most stylish interiors in the industry. And it is the inside of a vehicle that retains customers. Only time will tell. Meanwhile, for $69,140 as tested, the 2018 Volvo S90 is nicely priced for what it offers.
Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com.