Sunday, July 31, 2016

Volvo S90 and V90

Continuing on Volvo's path to revitalization and modernization that started it all with the new XC90, with safety is its top-priority, the Scandinavian carmaker continues to revive itself from its dreariness and blandness from its current lineup in a more technological manner with the brand new flagship saloon, the S90.

2017 Volvo S90

The S90 name sounds hardly familiar to any Volvo historians many because that was once used back in 1996 as a minor change version of the 960 saloon. It was known to be the last Volvo in history to be rear-wheel drive, just like its wagon derivative, the V90. Of course, with the S90 and V90 names brought back as the company's flagship, don't expect they'll behave as the ones from the last century, though, because they are basically offered with front-wheel drive or four-wheel drive configurations.

2017 Volvo S90
2017 Volvo V90

What matters about the new S90 and V90 is the technology that serves as the driving force of these new flagship models and sticking true to its "zero casualty" promise that Volvo delivers within the next decade, the new S90 and V90 are packed with autonomous driving technology.

Sure, Tesla has that Autopilot shindig going on with their Model S but for Volvo, Tesla's Autopilot is nothing but a serious wannabe in the autonomous driving stakes so Volvo's kind of autonomous tech is something beyond reach from Tesla's hands. Called Pilot Assist, it is the most advanced standard safety package on the market today, and apart from doing most kinds of stuff that Tesla's Autopilot do most of the time such as making good use of its sensors, camera, front radar, and autonomous emergency braking for collision prevention, this tech comes with large animal detection and run-off road mitigation, something that Tesla should put in the first place, huh?

Autonomous driving can be good news and bad news for us but as a word of warning, drivers who are solely relying on autonomous driving tech should need to be aware on the road at all times because autonomous driving isn't all fun and games or rest and relaxation because having learned from Tesla's mistakes, it's imperative that drivers need to be active on the road, even when they engage the car's autonomous driving features for the benefit of themselves. One more thing though, while these cars are born to be autonomous, they're just semi-autonomous ones and you need to be extra clever to study its merits and demerits while on the road.

2017 Volvo S90 interior

What about design? Having learned from its large crossover derivative, the XC90, the new S90 and V90 features Volvo's new design language packed with "Thor's hammer" headlamps that looks strikingly impressive even after hours. Although squarish to look at from back and front, the sidelines are all dynamically proportioned to deliver that luxury mandarin that you expect from the German saloons. As for the interior, it's surprisingly very nice to be accommodated and very high tech. You could spend hundreds of minutes trying to toy around the inside of the car but once you have it, it means a very serious business proposal for you to get behind the wheel of one of Volvo's most technologically advanced vehicles ever made.

2017 Volvo S90
2017 Volvo V90

If the S90 and V90's main paradigm shift is safety, has they completely forgotten about performance? Not quite because even it its front-wheel drive powertrain, driving one of these can be broadly similar to the Audi A6 but in a very Scandinavian kind of way thanks to its new platform that was used on the XC90 but if you try to opt in for an optional AWD powertrain, it can be a proper multirole that can take on any weather it sees at the cost of being too much grip and prone to understeering when you corner it hard on the bends. Most models do come with different two-litre engine configurations, be it petrol or diesel, but the most powerful is the T8 Twin Engine, which combines this with an electric motor, resulting to 407PS of power and 640Nm of torque. Believe it or not, diesel models now come with a brand new PowerPulse technology that eliminates the turbo lag, which makes it wonderful on the go, and the new i-Art injection system which keeps these engines smooth while running. Depending on the variant, these models can be mated with either a 6-speed manual or an 8-speed automatic.

Should you buy it? The new Volvo S90 starts at 364,900 krona while the V90 starts at 374,900 krona so on paper, they're somewhat more costly to own than the Audi A6, in sedan and Avant derivatives, but if you didn't mind about the price differences, the S90 and V90 deserved a lot more respect than the Germans because of its unparalleled tech it offers for the drivers on today. It maybe here today, but these cars are ready for tomorrow thanks to the science that Volvo promises within the next decade.

Photo: Volvo Cars

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