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It's time for you to consider a Volvo sedan again

  • The Volvo S90 offers a gorgeous cabin you won't find in its class.
  • It's safe and has autonomous driving features.
  • We have a few qualms you should know about, though.
The 2017 Volvo S90.
Volvo
The 2017 Volvo S90.

It's time for you to consider a Volvo sedan.

I know, I know, Volvo sedans aren't exactly cool. But hear me out. I just finished test driving the Volvo S90 during a review period and it's a gorgeous car that outclasses the competition in several areas.

Buckle up.

Exterior: Nailing the follow-up

S90
Volvo

Our "mussel blue" metallic-painted review car featured beautiful eight-spoke diamond-cut alloy wheels, a color-wheel combo that looks elegant.

The brand's new signature "Thor's Hammer" headlights are a great brand-identifying feature, and help to distinguish the car, particularly on the roads at night. You can't miss these new headlights.

Handout: Volvo S90 7
Volvo

The grille and most of the front fascia is a slightly smaller replica of the XC90, but the designers went a completely different direction with the rear.

It garnered bystander praise everywhere I took it. "Wow, I can't believe that's a Volvo," one guy told me as I filled up at a local gas station. He's right, this ain't your granddad's box-on-wheels 750.

It's the inside where the designers truly earn their pay.

The best interior you can get under $100,000

Interior cockpit Volvo S90/V90
Volvo

Creamy light leather and open-pore walnut wood frame a cutting-edge, iPad-style center screen. Metal grilles cover the Bowers & Wilkins stereo. Volvo says the system was tuned to replicate the Gothenburg Concert Hall. Sure, it sounds like a gimmick, but I can confirm the speakers are pretty darn good.

Essential controls like the starter, drive mode selector and volume knob are all wrapped in gorgeous metal trim. The entire interior is old-school luxury — think East Coast country club — playing in harmony with new-age technology.

Volvo's well-known for making some of the best seats in the industry, and I can confirm that the thrones in the S90 are fit for even the most sore-backed king. They hug kidneys without squeezing too tight and offer comfortable lumbar support that's not too hard.

Interior Bowers and Wilkins Door Speakers Volvo S90 1
Volvo

Given the safety-obsessed tendencies of Volvo, it should come as no surprise that the seats are also set on high-load springs that will compress to save you from a back injury if you were to send the S90 into a ditch.

It's the best interior you can get under $100,000.

Handout: Volvo S90 3
Volvo

Speaking of pricing, the days of Volvo pitching luxury on a budget are gone. The $66,105 sticker price on my tester puts it in line the Audi A6, BMW 5 Series and Mercedes E-Class.

Safe in a car that almost drives itself

The 2017 Volvo S90
Volvo
The 2017 Volvo S90

Under the hood you'll find a turbo and supercharged, "T6" 2.0-liter, four-cylinder engine. If you opt for the $48,000 "T5" base model, you'll get a turbo-only four-banger that drives the front wheels.

A four-cylinder engine is a tough sell against competitors that offer buyers twin-turbo V-8's, but Volvo's mill cranks out a more-than-adequate 316 horsepower.

You won't be embarrassing sports cars, but with a 5.7-second 0-60 jaunt, you won't be stressing out about highway merges, either. The car is much more comfortable than it is fun to drive.

Handout: Volvo S90 2
Volvo

All S90s come with Volvo's Pilot Assist II, which can drive the car in certain circumstances with driver supervision. On a 150-mile drive, Pilot Assist handled the steering about 90 percent of the time and the speed 99 percent of the time.

At one point, however, it piloted the S90 onto the rumble strip as we went around a corner. After it messed up, it said that I was the one who seemed drowsy and should grab a coffee. The nerve.

Volvo says this is why Pilot Assist should only be used with driver supervision. It's not designed to negotiate tight bends alone.

That technology, along with a full suite of collision avoidance tech, helps to ensure you won't crash. If you do happen to catch the business end of a semitruck, there aren't many cars you'd rather be in given Volvo's obsessive approach to safety. Volvo is aiming for no deaths or major injuries in a Volvo by 2020.

Handout: Volvo S90 6
Volvo

Of course, with new technology comes new problems. The touch-screen command center crashed on me four times in a row. When I restarted the car to fix it, the headlights didn't come on.

Volvo said this is the first report of that issue, and it swapped out my tester the next day so it could have its technicians inspect the car. Fine by me, as the first car had a loud brake squeal, too.

The S90 is a solid buy if you crave what Volvo's serving

Handout: Volvo S90 4
Volvo

If you just look at similarly equipped models, pound for pound, the $66,105 Volvo will edge out any of its German foes in terms of value.

Volvo's competitors offer hundreds of configurations with a handful of engine options each, however, and even features like panoramic sunroofs and massaging seats, which Volvo doesn't offer.

The finish line

Handout: Volvo S90
Volvo

If you want a drop-dead gorgeous car that's more focused on quiet luxury than shouting about a badge, you'd have a hell of a time finding a better value than the Volvo S90. German automakers: take note.

Scorecard:
Interior: 5 stars
Exterior: 4.5 stars
Drive Experience: 2.5 stars
Value: 4.5 stars
Rating: 4.5 stars

Price as configured: $66,105