It's rare that a car manufacturer would introduce a brand new model and then, effectively, discontinue it less than 12 months later. But there are some compelling reasons why the 2018 Volvo S90, just unveiled at the New York International Auto Show, is supplanting the 2017 Volvo S90, a car that has been for sale in Canada only since September.
The primary difference between the new version and the old comes down to space and time. The 2018 model has a wheelbase that's longer by 12 mm, giving the S90 the most rear-seat passenger room in its segment.
Car buyers in China love long wheelbases and Volvo, owned by Chinese company Geely, was inevitably going to accommodate the demand.
Volvo focuses exclusively on developing cars for the global market rather than creating different variations according to different regional tastes. Thus, the new long-wheelbase version is not named an "S90L"; it's known simply as the S90 and it will be sold in all countries starting later this year.
In addition to offering more room to stretch out, the new S90 comes equipped with another standard feature that was previously unavailable: a panoramic sunroof. The extra length of the sedan now allows for some impressive Vitamin-D supplementation for all passengers.
From a mechanical standpoint, there is news here as well.
The 2017 Volvo S90 was offered with only one of the manufacturer's three four-cylinder based powertrains, the T6. This version features the supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder that develops 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Starting with the 2018 version, the other two powertrains, the T5 and T8, will also be available.
The S90 T5 engine incorporates a turbocharger but no supercharger, producing 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder in the T8 features turbocharging, supercharging and electrification to generate a total of 400 horsepower and 472 lb-ft of torque. In Canada, all three versions of the Volvo S90 will come fitted with all-wheel drive as standard equipment.
With the introduction of the new S90 and XC60, Volvo is making yet more strides towards stability after hovering on the brink of financial disaster less than a decade ago. These two new models, along with the V90 and V90 Cross Country introduced recently, are just the beginning of a major product onslaught for the Swedish-based manufacturer. By the end of 2018, the Volvo fleet will be so fresh, the current XC90, introduced in 2015, will be the oldest vehicle on the lot.