This week we were sporting the Volvo S90 Recharge, a sleek looking city vehicle with a polished black exterior, coupled with a luxe brown caramel cream interior. There was no sleeker looking car to cruise around downtown Vancouver in, as we went around the city hopping from one Italian restaurant to the other, trying their specialty dishes and collecting stamps. (More on than in a separate post.)
There is something about brown on black leather contrast with faux wood detailing that appeals to me. You can see and feel the creamy finish of the supple leather, as it hugs you firm and the road beneath becomes inconsequential.
Similar to the last Volvo, the infotainment screen is set vertically instead of the standard horizontal landscape. Everything is at your fingertips with a crank dial ignition start, and a very unique gear shift. Short and clear, the latter looks more like art, than something you grip at the ready. As I was not familiar with it, it was not a selling point for me.
The least expensive item in the cabin is the simple and standard mirror and sun visor, and the material used for the ceiling felt cheap in comparison to the overall aesthetic of the car.
Although when you look up, you only notice the sunroof anyways. A large surface to stream in the most amount of light. Even the plastic separator between the two panes of glass is kept minimal and discrete. For this it is a slide open and close. You glide your finger on the track and the first motion reveals the glass sunroof, the next ones opens it for fresh light and air. This window and the other four in each door, guides slowly and smoothly. The windows travel 0.25 of a second slower than in any other vehicle I have sat in. A tight and flush fit to add to the prestige of the Volvo S90 and their well-built and sturdy doors. Little aesthetic details you can make out and appreciate when caught in traffic.
The only hiccup was in the audio system, where we were able to plug in and sync up our devices, but no audio would play from the car’s speakers. And this is a shame, as the higher end Volvo models are well known for the audio quality. Music matters to Volvo craftsmanship. They have chosen to work with some of the best audio brands in the world and have employed three depending on the model. At the top of the tier is Bowers & Wilkins, and they have made it into the S90 Recharge. The system was designed in close collaboration between Bowers & Wilkins engineers and Volvo Cars’ own audio experts. Where sound and the art of music is an integral part of the cabin design with precisely positioned state-of-the-art loudspeakers. As taken from Volvo’s website: “Bowers & Wilkins represents the highest level of automotive audio quality currently available, delivering a full musical experience. A passion for technology, innovation, and engineering, coupled with an intense attention to detail, is what makes Bowers & Wilkins so special”. Given my review thus far, both companies’ detail-oriented finesse seems to line up perfectly, and the results are obvious.
Thankfully, the miss in audio only occurred for one afternoon, and the issue resolved itself later in the evening.
But the best feature of the Recharge is its ability to charge the vehicle to save you on gas; a very important consideration, given Vancouver’s gas prices this summer. The more you drive the more its battery charges and the more it helps to run the car. A whole day of driving around downtown, parking and stopping, taking a break in Burnaby, traversing the highways to North Vancouver, then ending back at downtown Vancouver Waterfront, and not even a 1/4 of the gas tank was drained.
You feel the electric components when you turn on the vehicle. There is no rumble from the starting of an engine or any motion to indicate movement. The car is as smooth to launch as it is to drive. Much like the very intuitive driver assist system that ensures you don’t get too close to the curb or any other parked obstacles.
I cannot speak more to the luxury and the feeling of ease you get from the Volvo S90. This was designed with the driver in mind, and it shows. Every serene and intricate motion is an enjoyable one to when in the Recharge. Gone is my stereotypical belief that Volvo is for an aging demographic. This was every day, affordable elegance I would be more than happy to helm.