Fleet News

First drive: Volvo S90 R Design D4 company car review

"Despite having larger dimensions than all its key rivals, the S90 is exceptionally easy to live with and once you join a motorway or A road, the Pilot Assist system can be engaged."

7 Volvo S90 R Design
BIK List Price
Volvo S90 BIK list price
BIK Percentage
Volvo S90 BIK Percent
Volvo S90 CO2
Combined MPG
Volvo S90 MPG


When the S90 was launched last year it finally opened the door for Volvo to steal executive saloon drivers from BMW, Mercedes-Benz and Audi. However, it was missing the sporty option many customers look for in popular M Sport, AMG line and S Line derivatives.

Volvo has responded with the R Design. This trim already accounts for around half of all its fleet sales on other models and the manufacturer expects it to make up more than a third of S90 sales. To keep running costs at a minimum the engine is unchanged. It’s a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel with a choice of 190PS D4 or 230PS D5 outputs.

We opted to test the D4. With CO2 emissions of 116g/km and a P11D value of £35,400 it is the most popular choice with fleets. Company car tax will cost around £295 per month for a 40% taxpayer.

Performance is plentiful and I would question whether the extra power of the D5 is really needed. With more than two tonnes to haul, the D4 still hits 60mph in less than eight seconds and delivers plenty of torque in the mid-range.

All S90s get a nine-inch Sensus Connect touchscreen infotainment system with sat-nav and connected services. LED headlights, heated seats and Volvo’s semi-autonomous Pilot Assist also come as standard.

R Design models stand out thanks to redesigned bumpers which give a more aggressive appearance. There are also 18-inch alloy wheels, half-leather sports seats and a 12.3-inch digital instrument cluster. Inside, a black headliner and perforated leather trim give a much more Germanic feel than the light, wood-clad, cabins of regular Volvos. 

To improve the S90’s driving experience, Volvo has lowered the suspension by 15mm with new springs and new dampers, giving a firmer ride and better body control. It’s still not a match for the 5 Series when it comes to outright driver appeal – but strikes a fair balance between comfort and handling, which should suit most fleet drivers.

There are three driving modes: Eco Drive, Comfort and Dynamic. Without the optional adaptive dampers, the modes only affect the steering and powertrain response. Nonetheless, in the efficiency setting we were able to achieve 61mpg on a motorway run, with mixed driving returning 52mpg.

Despite having larger dimensions than all its key rivals, the S90 is exceptionally easy to live with and once you join a motorway or A road, the Pilot Assist system can be engaged. It’s not a hands-off solution but is useful to reduce fatigue on long trips. In traffic it can bring the car to a complete stop then set off again without driver input.

Against rivals, the S90 falls short on CO2 emissions but makes up for it with a lower list price, making it the cheapest for company car tax by around £150 per year. With a few options added, the S90 R Design is, realistically, a £40,000 car but with excellent rear legroom, great intuitive technology and top marks for safety, it merits serious consideration.

Top Speed
Volvo S90 Top Speed
VED band
Volvo S90 Ved
Fuel Type
Volvo S90 Fuel Type
Residual Value
3 Year 60k : N/A
4 Year 80k : N/A
Running Cost (ppm)
3 Year 60k : N/A
4 Year 80k : N/A

CO2 emissions and fuel consumption data correct at time of writing. The latest figures are available in the Fleet News fuel cost calculator and the company car tax calculator.

Volvo XC40 T4 R Design plug-in hybrid joins our fleet | long-term test

We're testing the plug-in hybrid Volvo XC40 T4 R Design for six months.

BMW 530e long-term test | do driving modes make a difference?

Hybrid or electric: which driving mode offers lower fuel consumption and, therefore, fewest CO2 emissions on the 530e plug-in hybrid?

Search Car Reviews