Volvo Applies Gentle Refresh to 2021 S90 Sedan, V90 Wagons

Matt Posky
by Matt Posky

Volvo’s released some attractive cars lately, with the full-size S90 and V90 arguably being the best of the bunch. Not wanting to beach its boat on the perilous shores of bad taste, the manufacturer has issued mild visual updates to both for the 2021 model year. Bumpers have been lowered slightly, with LED fog lamps, a new tail lamp design (V90 only), redesigned spoiler, and sequential turn signals polishing off the updated exterior.

The company also plans to make its 48-volt mild hybrid system standard in more models, though this may only pertain to Europe. Most other changes relate to customization, with Volvo offering new exterior colors (including two-tone options), additional wheel designs from which to choose, and some new interior materials — like wool and fancy “leather-free” upholstery.

While that hybrid system may not migrate to the United States as standard equipment, Volvo claims it lowers fuel use and emissions by 15 percent in a real-world scenario.

Sounds desirable, but North American customers may be satisfied with the base 2.0-liter being turbo/supercharged or hybridized into whatever output the automaker the manufacturer can manage. On the current S90, Volvo offers anywhere from 316 horsepower on the T6 trim to over 400 on the T8 Hybrid.

There’s also an upgraded available Bowers & Wilkins sound system that presumably replaces the old Harman Kardon rig, USB-C ports (instead of 12-volt outlets) in the rear, and wireless device charging coming next year. None of that is likely to be standard. But the new air filter with particulate sensor, which Volvo claims will drastically improve cabin air quality, might be.

When asked for clarification about market-specific changes, Volvo said that U.S. details will be announced closer to the summer months — adding that the items listed in its global release should provide a general sense of what we’ll get.

[Images: Volvo]

Matt Posky
Matt Posky

A staunch consumer advocate tracking industry trends and regulation. Before joining TTAC, Matt spent a decade working for marketing and research firms based in NYC. Clients included several of the world’s largest automakers, global tire brands, and aftermarket part suppliers. Dissatisfied with the corporate world and resentful of having to wear suits everyday, he pivoted to writing about cars. Since then, that man has become an ardent supporter of the right-to-repair movement, been interviewed on the auto industry by national radio broadcasts, driven more rental cars than anyone ever should, participated in amateur rallying events, and received the requisite minimum training as sanctioned by the SCCA. Handy with a wrench, Matt grew up surrounded by Detroit auto workers and managed to get a pizza delivery job before he was legally eligible. He later found himself driving box trucks through Manhattan, guaranteeing future sympathy for actual truckers. He continues to conduct research pertaining to the automotive sector as an independent contractor and has since moved back to his native Michigan, closer to where the cars are born. A contrarian, Matt claims to prefer understeer — stating that front and all-wheel drive vehicles cater best to his driving style.

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  • Dal20402 Dal20402 on Feb 22, 2020

    Damn, I love that V90. If only there were a T8 version of it I could probably even talk my wife into it.

  • Fleuger99 Fleuger99 on Feb 24, 2020

    I've owned four Volvo's in the past (XC90 V8, S80 V8, XC90 3.2 and XC70 T6) and used to love the brand but I guess I'm the only one who really dislikes the current designs (except S60). The S90 is the one of ugliest I've seen in a long time, just looks so disproportionate between front and rear. I'm also not a fan of the 2.0 litre engines they offer, even the 'T6'. I test drove a V90 T6 with my wife and getting onto the highway she stomped on it to merge and it was so noisy and hardly moved. My wife said what is that noise? Sales guy said its the turbo spooling up. I responded with, it a 4 cylinder engine struggling to move a 4700lb vehicle. Needless to say she never bought one.

  • Chiefmonkey Bet on it getting 5-10 MPG less than the advertised rating.
  • FreedMike Maybe they will be the Alpine distributors.
  • TheEndlessEnigma The Mitsubishi hate and snark in many of these comments is expected. I really do need to challenge anyone here who bristles at the mention of Mitsu and immediately begins a Tourette's inspired flow of vitriol. Before you rant on about how bad Mitsu's are, get into one and drive it. Surprise surprise, they are good vehicles, it's just kewl and hip to be a lemming and blindly follow the "Mitsubishi Sucks Because Doug DeMuro Told Me So" crowd.
  • EBFlex Remember when they introduced legislation to take natural gas stoves away? Now they want to charge electric trucks with it? If liberals didn’t have double standards they wouldn’t have any at all.
  • Glennbk First, Cadillac no longer has brand cache. And as such, the prices need to drop. Second, reliability. Cadillac doesn't have that either. Dedicate GM funds to re-design the High Value Engines. Third, interiors are too gimmicky. Take a step back and bring back more buttons and less black plasti-chrome. Forth, noise isolation. These are supposed to be luxury cars, but sound like a Malibu inside.