Thursday, July 27, 2017

Complex Volvo S90 has straightforward performance

A menu of Mark Glover’s AutoGlo car reviews can be seen on the Business page of The Sacramento Bee’s website

Sacramento, California – Volvo has been sending me some exceedingly complex cars of late.  The technology-laden transporters sometimes make my head swim.

But there are more basic delights that give me instant clarity … like a 2-liter, four-cylinder engine with a supercharger AND a turbo churning out 316 horsepower in the most enthusiastic way.

All this is wrapped up in the 2017 Volvo S90 T6 Inscription sedan.  That’s a mouthful, but relax and know that it translates to a technology lab rolling along with a high-performance package.  Oh, it’s luxurious as well.

The audio system blasts out concert hall-quality sound to all interior corners.  The safety/security systems are state of the art (including a whiplash-protection system).  It has a cooled glovebox.  It has walnut wood inlays.  It has more leather surfaces than a big-box furniture store.  The car-control systems are so advanced that you could pilot it home with one finger on the steering wheel.  Connectivity devices were numerous, making the tester a veritable rolling command center.

Impressed?  I was.

However, the lane departure-warning/alert system was so sensitive that I opted to drive without it.  And the automatic engine on/off feature was not seamless, so again, I nixed it.

What I did like was the color navigation display centered behind the steering wheel.  No need to avert your eyes to the right, because it's all right there.

My tester looked nice as well, riding on those 19-inch alloy wheels.  The distinctive Volvo grille made it easy to spot in crowded parking lots.

But above all this, there was the performance.

The tested S90 dished up power in smooth, yet firm style.  Combined with a perfect-pitch steering feel, the sedan was a joy to drive in dicey freeway commutes.  It moved out of harm’s way cleanly, but quietly.  Good engineering shows, believe me.

So, you’re likely wondering about that turbo/supercharger combo under the hood, right?  Here’s the short answer for you:  The supercharger helps deliver low-end torque and response.  Below 3,500 revolutions per minute, the turbo and supercharger work in tandem.  Above 3,500 rpm, the turbo takes over the horsepower-delivery chores, and it does that quite well.

Even so, fuel mileage is pretty fair at 22 miles per gallon in the city and 31 mpg on the highway.

Be advised: This kind of transportation does not come cheap.  The tester started at a few bucks less than $53,000, and extras kicked up the bottom line to $66,105.

I can’t argue with that.  This is a primo luxo sedan. If you are fortunate enough to drive it off the dealer lot, be sure to spend as much time behind the wheel as you can.

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