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2018 Volvo S90 T5 Momentum review: Californication
OWNER RATING 8 /10
  • Looks, Interior finish and style, Interior space, Comfort
  • Very slow Navigation system, Interface on steering wheel nonsensical, Tiny busy engine
PRICE N/A
ANCAP RATING
10

by Gordon Walker

At last a Volvo that looks great from any angle, gets stares from bemused drivers trying to figure out what this huge saloon really is, and elicits nodding approval from friends who get in the back seat to find a Grand Ballroom sized lounge area!

Firstly, I didn’t buy the car. It was an upgrade from SIXT after the brand new 3,000 mile Cadillac broke down (yawn!). I have had it 3 weeks in California and driven it for 1700 kms.

The Volvo S90 a beautiful car to look at, from any angle. Imposing, beautifully finished with amazing lights front and rear. It is built as you would expect a Volvo to be, like a tank. Deep lustrous paintwork with flawless paint, tight joints and great looking wheels to finish off the look.

Inside it’s a lovely story too with beautifully contoured and finished seats, firm but comfortable for long rides on California’s never-ending but ‘rough as guts’ freeways. Windows and sunroof worked flawlessly.

BUT – and there are buts. I hope Volvo realise their all electric dream soon because putting a teeny engine in a huge car just does not work. Way too revvy in Dynamic mode, it feels like the engine will wear out quickly hauling this limousine about. The engine is annoying. The Stop Start function jerks about and is ‘not right’. The gearbox, when underway operates smoothly, but can be caught out too easily.

In front of the passenger, the finish on the dashboard appears as if the team just ‘gave up’ trying to create a good-looking piece of dashboard. There are so many beautiful lines on and in this car, but this part doesn’t match the rest of the car.

The navigation system is painfully slow to load and ‘locks up’ far too often. It is frustrating to use and needs a 2.0 redesign. Similarly the controls on the steering wheel are confusing (I’m really technically minded and have owned Mercedes C63s, Volvo Polestar and other high performance cars) and I could not get them to work the way I wanted, despite reading the online owners manual. The driver’s display, however, is crystal clear and near perfect.

The lane departure warning and control and other active safety measures all worked brilliantly and made me feel very safe on Los Angeles’s crazy freeways. Speed Limit 65 mph. You have to do 80 mph or you’ll get run over! The Volvo S90 has more tech to keep you safe than the International Space Station!

Suspension needs work to bring it up the standard of the big 3 Germans.

The boot with auto opening is shallow but deep and wide. Plenty of space!

I was caught out when some crazy on the 405 Freeway, for no reason at all, decided to slam on their brakes. The City Safe autonomous emergency braking nearly sent me through the windscreen but stopped the big car short of the LA Nutter and saved me a huge bill and probably a larger ticket from the LAPD if I’d have hit him.

The air filtration worked hard to screen out the marijuana smoke, which is rife everywhere here since the Green was legalised in January.

Really interesting wiper blades with a well designed water spray system.

Did I mention great headlights, turn and intelligent beams – some of the brightest and long range headlights I have ever driven with, and on par with Mercedes brilliant Intelligent system.

Great looking but with some annoying design flaws and suspension that needs a revision. I enjoyed the drive but probably would not buy one until they go full electric. That 2 litre engine is just too small for the car.

NOTE: As a photo was not provided, we have used a CarAdvice photo for this story.

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2018 Volvo S90 T5 Momentum review: Californication Review
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