Currently reading: Nearly new buying guide: Volvo S90
If you like value for money edged with Scandi cool, we have some good news
John Evans
News
4 mins read
6 October 2021

Now she’s old enough to drive, at least in the UK, would Swedish environmental activist Greta Thunberg be seen behind the wheel of a Volvo? Perhaps if it was an S90 T8 Twin Engine. The plug-in hybrid can travel for up to 35 miles on electric power alone.

It’s the quickest S90 in the range, being able to dispatch 0-62mph in 5.1sec yet, with a lighter foot and sufficient charging, can return 108mpg, although around 40mpg is more realistic. New, it costs £58,405 but it’s possible to find used ones from £34,000. The example we have in mind is a 2018-reg with 10,000 miles. However, that’s still £6000 more than a BMW 530e iPerformance M Sport Nav of the same age and mileage. The BMW is much less powerful (249bhp compared with 385bhp) and less well equipped but is better to drive.

Being a 5 Series, it also has a stronger image than the S90. It’s where the Volvo – for all its cool Scandi styling, quality and high equipment levels, including some advanced safety tech – struggles a little. But we don’t mind that because it just means a regular, used S90 is great value for money.

Click here to buy your next used S90 from Autocar

Prices start a shade under £14,000 for a 2017-reg D4 Momentum with reasonable mileage. It may be the entry spec but Momentum is packed with kit, such as semi-autonomous driving functions, leather-faced seats and a 9.0in infotainment screen with another screen in the instrument binnacle. There’s bags of interior space and fit and finish are excellent.

Look beyond 100,000 miles and you can get into a D4 Inscription, the next trim in the range, from £11,500, and that’s a car with one owner and a full Volvo service history. Inscription is good, too – nappa leather, a more comprehensive binnacle screen, ambient lighting and larger alloys.

The highlight of R-Design, the third trim, is sports suspension. We found a 2017-reg D4 R-Design with 35,000 miles for £16,800. All S90s are eight-speed automatics, by the way. ‘D4’ refers to the engine, a 2.0-litre diesel producing 187bhp. It’s a little noisy and slow from low revs but, through the gears, it leaves some premium rivals standing. There’s a more powerful D5 but the D4 is more plentiful.

There are also three petrol choices: a 187bhp T4, 248bhp T5 and that 385bhp T8. As well as being quicker than their diesel counterparts, the T4 and T5 are lighter, which sharpens the S90’s handling. However, they’re rarer and the cheapest we found was a 2018-reg T4 R-Design with 15,000 miles for £19,900.

The S90 is a reliable car and, if it’s not too great a generalisation, they tend to have been owned from new by the more responsible and caring drivers among us. Add that value for money we spoke of and it makes a great used buy.

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BUYER BEWARE

Interior Software glitches have been reported by owners (they include sat nav, Wi-Fi, lumbar inflation and head-up display positioning) so check everything works. Fortunately, the same owners report that many have been addressed by their dealer. 

Need to know

Check if that early S90 you’re looking at has the optional red key that arrived a few months after launch. When used, it sets the car to its safest state – useful if a younger driver borrows it.

Look out for cars with the optional Xenium pack that brings a powered sunroof, 360deg surround view system and Park Assist Pilot.

If your regular driving route takes you past deer colonies, you’ll be pleased to know that the S90 has large-animal detection as standard to spot the beasts emerging into your path.

The S90 ranks fourth out of 22 other executive cars in the What Car? Reliability Survey.

Our pick

D4 Momentum Auto: The best balance of price, power and equipment, with prices starting as low as £13,700 for a 2017-reg with 80,000 miles. It’s better still if you can find one with the Apple CarPlay and 12.3in screen upgrades.

Wild card

T8 Inscription Pro AWD: The T8 has a 2.0-litre petrol engine and an electric motor, together producing 385bhp. So it’s mightily quick but offers electric-only travel, too.

Ones we found

2017 2.0 D4 Momentum, 55,000 miles, £14,995

2017 2.0 D4 Inscription, 19,000 miles, £20,000

2018 2.0 D5 PowerPulse AWD R-Design, 25,000 miles, £22,650

2019 2.0 T8 Twin Engine R-Design Pro, 29,000 miles, £36,500

READ MORE

Volvo ditches petrol and diesel engines on S90, goes hybrid-only 

Why Volvo is redefining autonomous driving 

From dependable to disruptive: The reinvention of Volvo

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