2023 Volvo S90 L B6 Inscription AWD Review Philippines
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2023 Volvo S90 L B6 Inscription AWD Review

The 2023 Volvo S90 L comes in with a refreshed look, a longer wheelbase, and a new mild-hybrid drivetrain, but is it worth considering?

It’s hard to believe but the Volvo S90 has been with us for more than half a decade already. And yet for this model year, it managed to find the fountain of youth. A mid-cycle facelift not only made it looks even dapper than it already is, but it also managed to grow a tiny bit more. This is the 2023 Volvo S90 L in B6 Inscription AWD variant, and if you want a midsize luxury sedan that’s brimming with luxury and safety, then you probably want to stick around for a bit.


2023 Volvo S90 L B6 Inscription AWD Philippines Review

2023 Volvo S90 L B6 Inscription AWD Philippines Review

Giving the Volvo S90 a facelift has made this luxury sedan look even more elegant, and this is further emphasized with its longer wheelbase. Yes, what you’re seeing here is the long wheelbase S90 L, and because this is also the Inscription variant, it’s been dressed up in just the right amount of tasteful chrome. Despite being more than half a decade old, the S90 in general still looks great, which is a testament to how good Volvo’s current design language is. The signature “Thor’s Hammer” LED daytime running lights are ever present in those adaptive LED headlights, and so are the vertical C-shaped taillights. The upright bodywork also contributes to the S90 L’s long and beautiful proportions.


2023 Volvo S90 L B6 Inscription AWD Philippines Interior

2023 Volvo S90 L B6 Inscription AWD Philippines Interior

Inside is where changes are less prevalent but it’s not exactly a bad thing. This is probably one of the best interiors in its segment from a material perspective. The supply brown Nappa Leather on the seats and door panels is great for the eyes and the butt, while the rest of the interior is either finished in soft-touch plastics or grained leather like the top of the doors and dash. What’s also pleasing are the large expanses of open-pore wood, which you can see in the dash, doors, and center console. Perhaps the biggest highlight is the Orrefors branded crystal gear shifter, because not only does it look great, but it also is lovely to touch. This is what your hands will interact with frequently, so it’s a nice touch for Volvo to make a rudimentary shifter feel like a work of art.

Features and Infotainment

2023 Volvo S90 L B6 Inscription AWD Philippines Interior

2023 Volvo S90 L B6 Inscription AWD Philippines Interior

Another area where the S90 L excels is in terms of features. Being the loaded Inscription variant, you practically have every single bell and whistle available, from heating and cooling on all seats, a panoramic sunroof, the most highly-adjustable front seats in the segment, and two screens for the car’s electronics interface, just to name a few. The heart of it all is controlled through the Volvo Sensus infotainment, but this time around, it’s now running on Android Automotive. Not the Android Auto smartphone mirroring feature (which it also has) but the operating system itself is running on Google’s software made for in-car use.

2023 Volvo S90 L B6 Inscription AWD Philippines Interior

Unfortunately, all of its Google services such as its voice assistance and Google Maps are locked out in the Philippines, which means half of the infotainment is unusable. On the upside, the operating system is user-friendly and intuitive, though the climate controls are once again on the touch screen, and we all know how I dislike these. At least there’s a 1400-watt Bowers & Wilkins surround sound system, which is one of the absolute best sound systems I’ve experienced in a car.

Space and Practicality

2023 Volvo S90 L B6 Inscription AWD Philippines Interior

As mentioned, the 2023 Volvo S90 L gained a few inches during its facelift, hence the “L” designation. As a result, there’s copious amounts of space not just at the front, but more so at the rear. Yes, this is still a midsize luxury sedan, but its dimensions are already pushing past the full-size segment already. Combine that with Volvo’s excellence in making absolutely comfortable seats, and you’ve got an executive express that’s comfortable whatever the situation and the distance of your travels. The rear seats are especially a treat since you can slide the front passenger seat forward if no one’s sitting there, and you also have electronic sunshades for all rear windows.

Moving towards the trunk, you’ve got 461 liters of available space to play with. If you’re doing the math, that’s around 30 liters less than a smaller Honda Civic. That’s partly due to the electronically-adjustable rear seats eating up space. Either way, no one buys a mainly chauffeur-driven sedan to haul cargo, right?

Driving Experience

With its “B6” designation, the S90 L we have here comes with a 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder that’s mated to a 48-volt mild-hybrid (MHEV) system. Marketed as “Boost Hybrid”, it’s the smoothest MHEV drivetrain we’ve ever experienced. There’s no cranking noise at start-up, and that’s likewise the case when the engine start/stop is operating.

Smoothness is the keyword here because everything in the S90 L has been tuned to offer such a driving experience. The drivetrain, while powerful at 313 horsepower and 460 Nm of torque, is tuned for a linear and transparent experience. Ditto the eight-speed automatic, which has been improved now with less lag, but that’s partly due to the electric motor of the mild hybrid system providing assistance and filling in the deficiencies of the gasoline engine.

The engine sound is also pretty good under hard acceleration, but that’s not to say that it’s a sporty car. Yes, it’s fast, but with its cossetting ride plus the light and numb steering, this Volvo makes no pretense of being sporty. The soft suspension brings in a controlled amount of body roll when pushed through corners, and while the grip from the all-wheel drive (AWD) system is great, it enters understeer much easier compared to even the E-Class. This is not a sedan for carving corners.

Where it excels is how it isolates the occupants from the outside world. The S90 L blocks unwanted noise excellently, with barely any road, wind, or even engine noise entering the cabin. The solid structure and quietness make the S90 L way too refined and stable for our country’s 100-kph speed limit, and this is a car that would feel at home cruising at 200 kph at the German Autobahn. That soft suspension means a very pillowy ride, and while that’s all good, the softness can sometimes introduce a lot of vertical movements when going over undulations such as in NLEX or TPLEX.

Despite the power that the S90 L provides, its fuel economy is very good for a car with more than 300 horses, achieving more than 11 km/l under mixed driving conditions. However, while a BMW 530i M Sport is less powerful, it does have a similar 0-100 kph as the Volvo and surprisingly, similar fuel economy despite the Volvo having a more complex 48-volt mild-hybrid system.


2023 Volvo S90 L B6 Inscription AWD Philippines Review

With all of these things mentioned, you’d expect the 2023 Volvo S90 L B6 Inscription AWD to be more expensive than its rivals, right? Well, you’d be absolutely wrong. This car retails for P4,490,000, which is half a million less than the 530i M Sport despite the Volvo packing a full suite of advanced driver-assistance tech such as automatic emergency braking, Pilot Assist adaptive cruise control, blind spot warning, just to name a few.

Objectively speaking, this actually makes the S90 L the objectively better luxury car, and in fact, we also think it’s the current best-in-class due to its value proposition. The question is, would I pick it over the 530i M Sport? For me, my subjective desire for a sporty car would persuade me to visit a BMW dealer instead, but if a comfortable midsize luxury sedan is what you’re after, then the S90 L is the one to get.

More Photos

2023 Volvo S90 L B6 Inscription AWD Philippines Review

2023 Volvo S90 L B6 Inscription AWD Philippines Interior

Pricing and Rating

Exterior Design: ★★★★☆
Interior Design: ★★★★★
Space and Practicality: ★★★★★
Features: ★★★★★
Safety and Driver Assistance: ★★★★★
Acceleration: ★★★★★
Handling: ★★★★☆
Comfort: ★★★★★
Fuel Efficiency: ★★★★☆
Value For Money: ★★★★★

Price: P1,250,000*

Overall: 4.7 out of 5

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