Drive Notes: 2024 Volvo S90 Recharge AWD Ultimate

Tim Healey
by Tim Healey

Some of Volvo's newer EVs are a bit strange, design-wise, so it was nice to pilot a Volvo PHEV that remind me of the company I grew up with.

Boxy(ish) design, luxurious without being ostentatious, just sporty enough to be engaging. This is the Volvo I remember.


This one is a plug-in hybrid that mates a 2.0-liter turbo four with an electric motor, and there's an 18.8 kWh battery. The electric-only range is up to 38 miles, and the transmission is an eight-speed automatic. It is, as the name implies, all-wheel drive.

Horsepower is listed at 455 and torque at 523 lb-ft. Charging time for the battery is listed at 13 hours on a 110V, and 5-7 hours (it was unclear which) on a 220V.

It's not cheap, with a $71,200 base price. A $1,500 Loung Package of options included cooled rear seats and massaging front seats. Bowers and Wilkins audio costs an eye-popping $3,200 and an active chassis with rear air suspension costs $1,200.

All told this car based just shy of $80K.

Let's get into the pros and cons.

Pros

  • It's sporty, to a point. It feels engaging at lower speeds, though when I pushed a bit hard through a curve, still at a relatively low speed, I got a bit of body roll. And maybe a bit of understeer, which is surprising since I was going way too slow to be near any limit, though the pavement was wet. Perhaps the tires just didn't like rain. I guess this one is both a pro and con.
  • The interior is well designed and attractive to the eye.
  • The rear seat area is shockingly spacious, in terms of both head- and legroom.
  • Trunk space is ample.
  • Acceleration is swift.
  • The ride is supple.
  • Outside noise stays outside.
  • The large, vertical infotainment system is easy to read.
  • That sound system is almost worth more than three grand. Almost. Music sounded unbelievable.
  • I appreciated the range -- it was 460 miles on gas after the battery drained. If you were to depart on a road trip with a full battery, you'd be able to pass a lot of gas stations before you needed to put gas in, and that's assuming no opportunity to charge.

Cons

  • As noted above, there's body roll when the car is pushed. And perhaps a bit of wet-pavement understeer.
  • If there's a Sport mode, I never found the switch.
  • The infotainment-system controls take some getting used to, though I suspect Android phone owners will learn it more quickly.
  • Apple CarPlay required plugging in. It should be wireless at this price.
  • It's probably because of the massagers, but the front seat felt a tad uncomfortable.
  • This is one of those electrified vehicles that doesn't have AM radio. Not everyone will care, but I do -- not having AM is a deal breaker for me.
  • The center console isn't very deep.
  • While rear headroom is nice, there is a bit too much slope for taller people. If you're over six-foot-four or so, lookout.
  • The shifter could occasionally be clunky.
  • The cream colors on the interior looked classy, but the driver's door sill too easily collected dirt from shoes if you weren't careful on exit.

I like this Volvo a lot -- but I miss AM radio, I don't get why Apple CarPlay isn't wireless, and the chassis could use a bit of tightening.

With a few tweaks, the S90 Recharge could really be a solid choice for a luxury PHEV sedan.

[Images © 2024 Tim Healey/TTAC.com]

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Tim Healey
Tim Healey

Tim Healey grew up around the auto-parts business and has always had a love for cars — his parents joke his first word was “‘Vette”. Despite this, he wanted to pursue a career in sports writing but he ended up falling semi-accidentally into the automotive-journalism industry, first at Consumer Guide Automotive and later at Web2Carz.com. He also worked as an industry analyst at Mintel Group and freelanced for About.com, CarFax, Vehix.com, High Gear Media, Torque News, FutureCar.com, Cars.com, among others, and of course Vertical Scope sites such as AutoGuide.com, Off-Road.com, and HybridCars.com. He’s an urbanite and as such, doesn’t need a daily driver, but if he had one, it would be compact, sporty, and have a manual transmission.

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  • 28-Cars-Later 28-Cars-Later Yesterday
    "This is one of those electrified vehicles that doesn't have AM radio. Not everyone will care, but I do -- not having AM is a deal breaker for me." Seems to be lacking a CD player as well. So is there no aux jack or usb?
  • Jkross22 Jkross22 Yesterday
    Tim, Have you had a chance to drive this car without the air suspension? Have heard it's actually a better balance between comfort and sport, but have no experience in either. Regarding AM radio, were you not able to stream from I Heart Radio to the car's stereo? AM receivers in the cars we've driven in the last 12 years have all been awful, and the improvement using I Heart was impressive.
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