11.13.2016

I Did Not Want What I Haven't Got...Until Now: The 2017 Volvo S90 T6 AWD Inscription

Front 3/4 view of the 2017 Volvo S90 T6 AWD Inscription
The 2017 Volvo S90 T6 AWD Inscription.
By anyone's standards, I am a blessed man.  A beautiful, loving wife,  a gifted son and daughter, two beautiful, bright and charming stepdaughters. My re-marriage this summer has given me some wonderful new relatives, who, after only three years of acquaintance, feel like they've been with me forever.

My day job is at a leader in the field I've wanted to be in since age eight and they seem to find my contributions valuable.  I'm healthy (apart from needing to drop a few pounds).  Every "great lost song" that I spent decades trying to identify and find back in the days of out-of-print vinyl is now in my pocket, along with some brilliant new music (thanks, Spotify!).

I wake up every day in Northern California.  That, alone, would qualify.

And I'm past the point of wanting stuff.  There's a 23-year-old CRT television in our family room.  If it keeps working the rest of my life, I'm fine with it.  My cell provider offered me an iPad for some low figure this spring.  Don't want one.  I have my smart phone and the laptop upon which these words are being written (which I bought this spring on a dirt-cheap employee discount only because my previous laptop...a factory-refurbished nine-year-old model that I'd had for seven years....finally gave up the ghost.

In the words of Sinead O'Connor (whom I have never quoted), I do not want what I haven't got.

Or didn't until I drove the 2017 Volvo S90 T6 AWD Inscription.



Rear 3/4 view of 2017 Volvo S90 T6 AWD Inscription
2017 Volvo S90 T6 AWD Inscription.
I mean, just look at it.  That is a car.  A beautiful car.  One that, by its design, on sight, telegraphs all its virtues...solidity, safety, performance and luxury. I drove it in the Bay Area (where all serious sedans are German or a Tesla and are either black or silver) and got compliments everytime I parked it. The Mussel Blue Metallic paint (a $560 option) is a shade you won't find on any other car...and makes the S90 just that much more distinctive.

And it only gets better when you get inside.

Interior view of 2017 Volvo S90 T6 AWD
2017 Volvo S90 T6 AWD Inscription interior.
It's like a private jet...a really nice private jet...in here.  Colors, textures, surfaces, all not only top-notch, but a complete step away from what you'll find in Benzes, Bimmers, Audis, Lexii and the like.

Interior view of 2017 Volvo S90 T6 AWD Inscription
2017 Volvo S90 T6 AWD Inscription interior.
And Volvo may be owned by a Chinese company now, but they haven't forgotten their Swedish roots, which have always included the most supportive and comfortable seats you can find inside an automobile.

And then, there's safety. Thirty-five years ago, the image of safety Volvo chose to project was the strength of the structure.  There were TV commercials showing a Volvo sedan being dropped off the side of a building nose-first and the doors still opening when the dust settled.

Today, the safety features are infinitely more sophisticated:


And, with a clean-sheet design, the Volvo S90 is able to incorporate advanced features that put it at or very near the front of the evolution to autonomy:


And the audio system....Dear Lord,the audio system!  It's an option, and a pricey one at that ($2,650), but the Bowers & Wilkins Premium Sound system is among the best I've ever heard.  Pure, clean sound, with the ability to create remarkable acoustic experiences:


The 2.0-liter four, both supercharged and turbocharged, makes 315 horsepower and feels like a much bigger engine.  It returns an impressive EPA estimate of 22 miles per gallon city/31 highway.

So now comes the hard part....affording it.

In the "is it worth it"? spectrum, especially when measured against the competition, my answer is an unqualified "yes".  In fact, compared to other luxury cars, it's a bargain.  But that's relative.

The base price for a Volvo S90 T6 AWD is $52,950.  And that is very reasonable indeed.  It's in the options, which, uncharacteristically for me, I would not be prepared to live without, that the price becomes significantly higher.

$3,300 for the Inscription model.  That gives you active bending lights added to the standard LED headlights with Thor's Hammer (not joking) daytime running lights and automatic highbeams. You also get high-pressure headlight cleaning, illuminated Volvo aluminum sill plates, high-level interior illumination, linear walnut wood inlays, Apple CarPlay and a USB hub, ventilated front seats, leather on the dashboard and upper door panels, power side support and power cushion extension for the front seats, rear side door sun curtains, a four-zone electric climate control and cooled glovebox, laminated side windows, Nappa soft leather upholstery, 19-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels in silver diamond cut, a color-coordinated Nappa leather key fob and an "Inscription" badge on the trunklid.

$1,950 for the Vision Package.  That's a 360-degree surround-view camera, retractable rear-view mirrors, automatically-dimmed interior and exterior mirrors, blind spot information system and cross traffic alert.

$1,950 for the Climate Package with HUD.  You get heated washer nozzles, a graphical head-up display, heated rear seats (except for the center), and a heated steering wheel.

$1,000 for the Convenience Package. That'd be a power-operated trunklid, HomeLink, a 12-volt power outlet, a compass in the inner rear-view mirror and Park Assist Pilot and Park Assist Front (the rear Park Assist comes standard).

$2,650 for the Bowers & Wilkins Premium Sound system.

$560 for the Mussel Blue Metallic paint.

$750 for an upgrade to 20-inch Inscription alloy wheels.

All that, with $995 destination charge, adds up to $66,105.   And another reason to get really, really motivated to improve my finances, because I'm still a firm believer in my dad's formula that you should never buy a car that costs more than half what you make in a year.  And that's assuming you're debt-free.  So, after clearing the decks, $132,210 would be the target.

For those of you hard-working and/or fortunate enough to already be in that bracket, this is the one to have.  It really is that good, that special.  And that's why it is now atop the TireKicker's Best Cars list on the right side of this page.

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