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The writing was on the wall a year ago when Volvo unveiled the 2016 version of the S80, its luxury sedan. Volvo decided to do nothing with the aging design and only minor updates were included in the overall package. The Volvo S80 was essentially “Dead Man Walking.”

Don’t look around for this year’s S80, because there is none. However, in its place is the new, rather cool 2017 Volvo S90, which becomes the Swedish automaker’s flagship sedan. The S90 has little in common with the S80 and is newly designed from the ground up.

A year ago, Volvo debuted the second-generation XC90, a sharp-looking sport utility vehicle with lots of technology. It followed up this year with the S90, an attractive midsize sedan that shares XC90’s powertrain, platform and technology. The opinion here is the S90 will receive lots of praise, just like the XC90.

2017 Volvo S90

  • Performance: turbocharged 2.0-liter, inline-4, 250 horsepower; turbocharged 2.0-liter, inline-4, 316 horsepower
  • Mileage estimate: 23-34 mpg; 22-31 mpg
  • Price estimate: $49,950 to $55,450
  • Warranty: four years/50,000 miles; drivetrain: four years/50,000 miles; roadside assistance: four years/unlimited; corrosion: 12 years/unlimited

The XC90 was the first Volvo to use the manufacturer’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) and the S90 is the second. The SPA is a modular platform that adjusts in any dimension or direction except the distance between the front axle and dash crossbeam.

The S90 certainly dispels the notion that Volvo can’t design an attractive vehicle. It’s a handsome sedan that features a bold grille and stylish LED headlights. The S90 is low-slung with a rounded, sloping roofline and makes the S80 look stodgy in comparison.

There are two engines available with the S90. They each have an eight-speed automatic transmission and provide good performance. The T5 is a front-wheel drive turbocharged 2.0-liter, inline-4 that generates 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. Although not as powerful, it’s the better of the two engines on gas mileage (23-34 mpg).

Test driven here, the T6 is a supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter, inline-4 that produces 316 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. The T6 comes standard with all-wheel drive and gets an estimated 22-31 mpg.

Although it was a little too scary for this driver to utilize, the S90 is equipped with Pilot Assist, Volvo’s latest technology – semi-autonomous motoring. The S90 doesn’t have autopilot, but does employ the next best thing. The technology keeps the vehicle in its lane as long as the driver has their hands on the wheel.

The S90 has many of the qualities one expects in a luxury sedan and the safety features that common with every Volvo vehicle. The steering and handling is precise in all situations, providing a real confidence for anyone behind the wheel. The S90 performs well on all road surfaces.

Inside, the S90 is a well mapped-out cabin that has wood inlays and metal and chrome accents. The touchscreen is tablet-like and controls climate, audio, navigation and phone functions. Buttons are almost completely devoid in the S90, although the ignition switch remains a button. Seating is comfortable for all five occupants, thanks in part to 36 inches of legroom in the back. Trunk room is a spacious 17.7 cubic feet.

The strikingly attractive 2017 Volvo S90 will definitely turn some heads. It will merit a look among luxury midsize sedans like the Mercedes-Benz E-Class, Acura TLX, Audi A6, BMW 5 Series, Cadillac XTS, and the new Genesis G80.

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