Sales of the XC60 are on fire, with a million sold globally and sales up in its last year. So its replacement, which makes its North American debut at the New York auto show, needs more production space. Production of the smaller-selling S90 sedan is therefore being ousted from the Torslanda (greater Gothenburg), Sweden, plant to the one in Daqing, China. Fun fact: The average Chinese adult measures 6 inches shorter than the average Swedish adult, yet Chinese adults insist on riding in the back seats of sedans with stretched wheelbases. In the case of the S90, the Chinese stretch measures 4.7 inches. Daqing builds both wheelbases, but the U.S. marketing department has decided to upgrade all stateside-bound S90s to the big one starting in 2018.
The stretch boosts rear legroom by 4.5 inches to 40.5 inches, a claimed best-in-class dimension. And because this stretch was conceived from the beginning, the window openings, door cutlines, and so forth all work with the added length. There’s no wiener-dog, bachelor-party-stretch-limo look going on here at all.
The stretch brings no nomenclature change but adds $1,150 to the price of both the T5 front-drive and T6 all-wheel-drive 2017 prices. (This also includes a new standard panoramic moonroof.) The lineup is expanding to include the option of all-wheel drive on T5 models ($2,200), though the T5 Inscription grade is no longer offered. There’s also a new T8 twin-engine plug-in hybrid model, priced at $64,645 in Momentum trim and $69,145 in Inscription trim. (All T8 Volvos get upgraded battery chemistry that increases capacity from 9.2 to 10.4 kW-hr within the same package envelope for 2018.) Sadly, the most opulent Excellence trim grade will not be making the transpacific passage.
The price of upgrading to Inscription grade increases by $2,000, but it includes a bunch of niceties that were not offered before, such as power sunshades for the backlite and rear-seat side windows, four-zone climate controls, and 19-inch wheels. Further lily gilding is available via a new Luxury package ($3,450), which adds front seat massaging, heated and ventilated rear seats, leather-covered grab handles and visors, a deluxe rear armrest, and a Nubuck faux suede headliner.
One more upgrade of note is to the user-interface screen, which gets software that improves response time and simplifies some menus (especially on the nav system, where they move from the bottom to the side of the screen, leaving more space for the map). There are also changes to the fonts and colors—and most of these enhancements can be applied to older Volvos with the same center screen. A software upgrade to the steering assist and lane keeping assist systems is also applied to the 2018 models, and it is backward compatible with earlier S90s.
Look for the longer S90s to start arriving this fall.