By on February 21, 2020

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]

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15 Comments on “Volvo Applies Gentle Refresh to 2021 S90 Sedan, V90 Wagons...”

  • avatar


    Volvo, just say CLOTH.

  • avatar

    If they’re still sourcing the sedan from China it’s a non-starter for me.

  • avatar

    I like the wool blend seat option, and I hope other manufacturers follow suit. I hate that they felt the need to switch to the goofy electronic shifter, however – especially since it saves no meaningful console space over a traditional mechanical shifter.

  • avatar

    I would rather have 2.5L 5cyl natural air engine. going back to QOTD about cutting power and price. Plus all this turbo/super tech on small engine and heavy Volvo. But definitely CC is something I like a lot. But their button-less dashes are not to my liking. Hey, you can get 7K off right now on V90CC. But still, too much $$ for a volvo

  • avatar

    Because gentlemen prefer Volvo.

  • avatar

    Volvo have become lease only vehicles. Too many things that can and probably will go wrong over time. Pity… they look really good.

    • 0 avatar
      Art Vandelay

      If one is completely honest with themselves, Volvos were lease only before even the Ford owned days. So much care and feeding as they age.

    • 0 avatar

      My boss (CEO) in my first company in US was a Swedish immigrant who owned Volvo sedan (something like S80). Frustrated with it he told us he will never buy Volvo again – imagine that from European who did not have problems with owning Volvo in Europe. My other boss also immigrant was Mercedes fan and recurring theme in our car talks were problems he had with his Mercedes, his and his wife’s. Naturally every time in conclusion he told us that he will never buy another Mercedes. And sure enough he bought one, scary one – used S-class.

      • 0 avatar

        I had a neighbor, he was born same place as me, he is same MT wacko as me, he played soccer with me, and the difference was – he was believing Euro-vin, I – J-Vin. One day, we were coming back from a soccer game and we switched cars. I drove his Jetta and he drove my Protege. Both cars were well over 100K and 10 years. When he came out, he was shocked how well Protege was still holding together, all-tight, etc. Because his Jetta felt really of and loose.
        But he also had that old RWD square Volvo wagon. I liked how honest that car was. Longitudinal inline-4. Changing timing belt was a heaven.

        Looks like he felt for Volvo totally and thanks to big discounts he replaced 2 cars of his with new Volvos in quick succession. For him, he;s got that nice new wagon with manual. For wife – nice big sedan with massage chair.

        • 0 avatar

          Volvo used to be well put together, simple and durable car esp for commercial use as a wagon. And it also was well suited for harsh winter condition. The problems started to show their ugly head when Volvo decided to start making over-complicated luxury cars.

  • avatar

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

  • avatar

    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.

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