Inevitably, the soft suspension doesn't lend itself to particularly precise, incisive handling, but the steering is at least hefty and predictably geared enough that you've got the confidence to make the most of the decent grip levels. So don't worry; there is still real satisfaction to be had in threading the S90 down a B-road. It's not a sloppy mess by any stretch, just a bit softer and more roly-poly than the likes of the keener-feeling BMW 520d. In among all this, it's worth clarifying that the S90 is a stand-out motorway cruiser. It tracks straight and true with little effort on your part, and between that directional stability, very decent overall refinement and even the standard 'Pilot Assist', which is in effect a very advanced combination of adaptive cruise and lane-keep assist, this will do the long-distance haul with serious style and serenity.
There's little to criticise in the S90's cabin. The driving position from the broad, cushy seat is very good and offers decent breadth of adjustment, visibility all-round is good, the dash is mostly easy to fathom, the screen easy to see and one of the easier systems to get used to and there's masses of space in the back seats and a really sizeable boot. You even get 60/40 split folding rear seats as standard, which many rivals don't offer.
Should I buy one?
Yes. The only reason you shouldn't is because you really want the better handling poise of one of the Volvo's rear-wheel drive rivals, or indeed the extra gumption and all-weather peace of mind that the four-wheel-drive S90 D5 and its competitors can offer. Honestly, this front-driver will so rarely be caught out in any way on UK roads, and is still such a satisfying thing in which to spend time, that the extra cost seems a bit hard to justify. Crucially, you also get really competitive emissions on the S90 D4, which means it'll work out splendidly for the huge swathes of company car buyers that shop in this class.
Volvo is back, then, and this time it's brought the 'want one' factor.
Volvo S90 D4 Inscription
Location: UK; On sale: Now; Price £35,555; Engine 4 cyls, 1969cc, twin-turbocharged, diesel; Power 188bhp at 4250rpm; Torque 295lb ft at 1750-2500rpm; Gearbox 8-spd automatic; Kerb weight 1680kg; 0 62mph 8.2sec; Top speed 140mph; Economy 64.2mpg (combined); CO2 rating & BIK tax band 116g/km, 23%