Look out, Germany……company’s comin’!


Yes…..Germany’s “Big Three” is becoming Europe’s Big Four.


Who’s the new guy crashing this premium party?


Volvo….a name that might leave a few of you confused.     Older readers might think “Yeah….I remember Volvo.   Where did they go?”    And those a bit closer to millennial status might simply wonder, “What’s a Volvo?”


Back in the ‘70’s and ‘80’s….before station wagons grew a couple inches taller, had an identity crisis, and  became SUVs….Volvo was the iconic family hauler.   Either in wagon or 4-door form, the Volvo came on like a brick on four wheels…with a well-earned image of safety, reliability, and longevity….if not style.


So after a few tough years back in the last slowdown, Volvo was bought by Ford…sold by Ford…and then bought by Geely…a Chinese auto manufacturer that we are going to hear much more from in the coming years.


The vehicles, tho’, are still made in Sweden…..and now they look like they’re made in Sweden.


If it’s possible for a car to look tall and blonde, Volvo’s new ’17 S90 looks tall and blonde.   The brick on wheels is gone.   Volvo is moving up to “Division 1” and playing with the big boys now….and the S90 is their flagship offering.


The S90 is a full-sized four-door that’s actually a little longer and wider than its’  German 5, 6 and “E” series competitors….but priced a little lower than them.


And in top-trim “Inscription” form, the S90 has an elegant Scandinavian look.

Open the door and you’re greeted with a lighter look than Germany usually offers.  The white leather with light-hued wood and chrome gave Volvo’s S90 a contemporary look all of it’s own.


In the “Go” department, the S90 can get you there with either a 2.0 liter turbo four rated at 250 HP, or a turbo AND supercharged 2.0 putting out a strong 316 HP.

Either engine will be delivering its’ power via an 8-speed automatic.


The entry-level T5 S90’s will come with the 250 HP engine….and are available with or without all-wheel-drive.   Pricing will start in the low to mid $40’s.


The top of the line 316 HP T6 models all come with AWD and will run from the mid $50’s to mid $60’s….with every electronic aid that you’d expect…along with the expected Scandinavian touches like heated steering wheels.


Mileage with the stronger engine still tops 31 MPG on the highway…and you’ll get a rated 34 with the 250 HP 2-wheel drive T5.


If you want to put an elegant vehicle like this to work, you can tow up to 4,600 lbs with the 316 HP setup.   And as for “fast”, Volvo rates the S90’s 0-60 time at a rather rapid 5.7 seconds.


My only challenge with the S90 came from a rather complex center screen, with almost every vehicle function being controlled by one touch-screen.    Millennials  may love it, tho’.    Just get familiar with the controls before hitting “start”, or you’ll be guilty of distracted driving until you master this system.


But if all your friends are driving something from Germany, and you’d like to go your own way, Volvo’s new S90 generated quite a few well-deserved thumbs-up” during my week-long  test drive.

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