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Volvo S90 D4 road test

By Roger St Pierre with Hazel Kempster

It’s an offence under law to drive a car if you are not wearing a seat belt.

The latest gizmo-laden version of Volvo’s flagship S90 luxury saloon has the answer to ensure you will stay street legal – it keeps the parking brake fully engaged, and thus the vehicle immobile, until you clunk-click.

That’s just one neat touch among an exhaustive list of super clever devices aimed at making your motoring safer and more comfortable.

At a time when there’s little to tell one make and model from another – bar the badge on the bonnet and the positioning of the cup holders  – attention to detail is key. Little things, as they say, really do mean a lot.

Two trim levels are available – the fully loaded Inscription and the lower specced Momentum – which still provides exceptionally high volumes of ingenious kit.

Though it certainly does not feel big and unwieldy to drive, the S90 is generous in space for driver and passengers alike, excepting that the central tunnel impinges on foot room for whoever draws the straw to sit in the middle at the back. The boot space is flat and spacious, with wide and easy access, our car boasting the added convenience of an easy to reach button lid for electronic closing of the boot lid.

The Swedes are renowned for their good taste. Beautifully built, the S90 oozes class and prestige, as you would expect, and in stretched form makes an eye-catching limo to impress a sophisticated business audience.  Families will love it too, while there’s performance enough to satisfy the most dedicated petrol heads.

There’s a clear clean, sleek and uncluttered sense of style and quality in the plush interior, with leather upholstery as standard.

A big – 10-inch – touchscreen controls a raft of climate-control, infotainment and sat-nav functions.

Just two different engines are at present available in this market, both of them being 2.0-litre diesel units. The front-wheel drive 187-bhp D4 that we tested can sprint from a standing start to 62-mph in a brisk 8.2 seconds. Driven more frugally, fuel consumption figures of 58.9-mpg to 64.2-mpg are attainable.

The more expensively trimmed 232-bhp four-wheel drive D5 rendition boasts a 7.3-seconds 0-62-mph capability.

On its way is a plug-in petrol hybrid that will develop 402-bhp.

Both the D4 and the D5 come with an eight speed automatic gearbox, with no manual transmission option at present.

Prices ranging from £32,995 up to £42,455 make the S90 a serious competitor to comparable offerings from Germany’s Mercedes, BMW and Audi triumvirate.

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