1997 Volvo S90


The best car Volvo ever made


Heater core needed replacement (fixed at dealer, R12000).

Electric seat wires chafed through (fixed at dealer, no charge).

Various little bulbs needed replacement (fixed at dealer, no charge).

General Comments:

I own several cars, and this one is by far my favorite. It's fast, roomy, supremely comfortable and handles really well. It was very cheap to buy (R28000), and apart from fairly heavy fuel consumption, it is no more expensive to run than any of my previous cars.

The ride is really smooth. Long distance cruising is an absolute pleasure. The seats are also the most comfortable I have ever sat in. It is very spacious. Enough room for 5 and all their luggage. The HVAC system is exceptionally capable. No matter if it's below freezing or searing hot outside, the selected interior temperature is always maintained. I tend to leave the climate control in full auto mode and on 22 degrees all year round, with no need to fiddle with the controls like in some of my other cars. (2 x Mercedes, a BMW and an Isuzu)

Performance from the 2.9L straight 6 is very good. It even sounds rather inspiring as you approach the red line. Fuel consumption around town is rather heavy, as is to be expected. On the open road it is far more economical.

For such a large heavy car, the agility and handling and grip may come as a shock to some. You can really fling it into corners, and apart from some roll it hangs on very well. It will ultimately understeer, but on wet or slippery roads, some lovely power on oversteer can be had. Quick steering makes slides easy to correct.

By far my favorite part is the rarity of the car on South African roads. I have not seen one other S90 to date. There are hardly any 960's here. (The S90's older cousin.) On the freeway everybody gets out of your way as they assume you are some foreign diplomat. Haha.

I also like that this car is totally unpretentious. I have all the space, power, comfort and features of cars costing many times more, yet nobody looks at me with disapproving stares as they do when I drive my BMW with the roof down...

My least favorite bit about the car? Well it could be quieter. Some wind noise at high speed can get annoying. Must be because it's shaped like a brick. Otherwise, nothing really.

I wish Volvo still built these cars. Truly the best Volvo of all time in my opinion.

Would you buy another car from this manufacturer? Yes

Review Date: 24th March, 2011