Volvo S90 D4

R-Design

Volvo S90 R-Design, 2017, front, action
Volvo S90 R-Design, 2017, front
Volvo S90 R-Design, 2017, rear
Volvo S90, front
Volvo S90, front
Volvo S90, side
Volvo S90, interior
Volvo S90 R-Design, 2017, rear seats
Volvo S90 R-Design, 2017, boot

THE definition of a saloon has evolved somewhat over the years, referring variously to anything from a Wild West drink and gambling haunt to a comfortable room on a ship where passengers can relax and chat.

These days it is more commonly used when discussions turn to cars - and one that most certainly fits the latter category is the Volvo S90.

Along with its estate stablemate the V90, the S90 is Volvo's latest large premium model and reflects many of the styling cues introduced by the Swedish brand's XC90 SUV.

Low-slung and stylish, the saloon takes its inspiration from modern Scandinavian culture, in other words it's clean, minimalist and classy.

Step into the luxurious cabin with its soft perforated leather seats and natural materials and the car becomes a sanctuary of relaxation.

Central to the Volvo's simplicity is a nine-inch, vertical Sensus touchscreen - easy to use once you get used to it - which eliminates the need for the countless buttons that clutter many car interiors.

It controls most of the car's info and entertainment and because of its expanded smartphone shape it's more familiar for most folk to use - operated by pinch and zoom or swiped, even if you're wearing gloves.

Its clever voice control system can differentiate between regional accents and is also claimed to understand more than 300 instructions or popular phrases.

And you can also use Sensus to turn the car into a Wi-Fi hotspot via a built-in modem.

As for accommodation, it's spacious all round with ample space for three rear passengers despite a wide transmission tunnel while the boot is long if shallow.

All bar one of the S90 engine range are 2.0-litre four cylinder diesels - D4 and D5 PowerPulse - the version I drove having front-wheel drive and is mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

It was also an R-Design model, the newest and sportiest trim grade, giving the S90 a lower stance plus stand-out touches like a black mesh front grille, matt silver door mirrors and diamond cut black alloy wheels.

You fire up the engine by twisting an on-off switch on the centre console and the Volvo purrs away, offering a smooth, engaging and relaxing drive both around suburban roads or on the motorway.

Flicking a rolling rocker switch accesses the drive modes of Eco for efficient driving, Comfort for everyday use and Dynamic for high performance - the difference between Comfort and Dynamic being instantly noticeable, though the trade-off is less economy.

Stick to Eco and you should be looking at a realistic average 50-plus miles per gallon, though the official Combined return is 64.2mpg.

FAST FACTS

Volvo S90 D4 R-Design

Price: £35,455

Mechanical: 190bhp, 1,969cc 4-cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 140mph

0-62mph: 8.2 seconds

Combined MPG: 64.2

Insurance Group:28

C02 emissions: 116g/km

Bik rating: 25%

Warranty: 3yrs/unlimited miles

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