It’s 2019. Three years have passed since I first drove the Volvo S90 and yet very little has changed about how the car makes me feel. The model I most recently took for a spin was a locally assembled T5 variant with the ‘Momentum’ trim. For those of you who struggle with terms like ‘S90’ ‘T5’ or ‘Momentum’, might I suggest consulting our Nomenclature guide for Volvo.
In short, Momentum is a somewhat mid-range trim level. Given most Malaysians remember the low-key Volvos of old, this is perhaps the trim most suited to the S90.
There’s very little fluff around a Momentum-spec Volvo. There’s no Oreffors crystal gear selector, no open pore wood inlays, no Bowers & Wilkins overkill sound system, and no air suspension. But it gives you the opportunity to evaluate the essence of these cars.
So here’s what the S90 boils down to.
In terms of design, we see how the car is longer and wider than its closest competitors. It’s great how bold, wide and eye-catching the exterior is. Almost as if Volvo is offering a car that’s halfway in a larger segment.
There’s a respect for Volvo’s lineage here. The front grille harkens back to the P1800. But a look at the intricacy of its components shows the work they’ve put in.
There’s an emphasis on restraint. Few lines are unnecessary, fewer still are too muscular or out of place.
Clean as it is, there are still little instances where Volvo shows its flair. The way the company name is tucked and emblazoned across a pocket of sheet metal. That’s bold.
On the inside, Volvo is still the only premium European car brand that has embraced the vertically-oriented infotainment screen. It’s still as simple and intuitive as ever.
The interior is pleasing and welcoming to occupants. It doesn’t sacrifice legroom or comfort in the pursuit of its design goals, nor does it look like something that was tweaked from a previous generation of cars.
Our only complaint in this Momentum spec is some questionable use of plastic around the centre storage. It seemed to already bear scratch marks, not something we saw on the Inscription trim models which use wood trim here.
A large digital instrument cluster, power boot and full LED headlights show Volvo’s willingness to embrace technology as part of their core instead of holding these technologies off at a premium.
These were all there from the start of the S90’s journey and forced competitors to move their game up too.
Of course, being a Volvo, safety is paramount. In this regard, Volvo have also excelled. For under RM340,000, you get Active Cruise Control, Full Auto Braking with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection.
Just like the XC60, at its core, the S90 T5 Momentum is a great, lovable package.
Volvo S90 T5 Momentum Specifications
Engine: Inline 4, Turbocharged, Direct Injection
Gearbox: 8-speed Conventional Automatic
Max power: 254hp @ 5500rpm
Max torque: 350Nm @ 1500rpm
Top Speed: 230 km/h
0-100 km/h: 6.8 seconds