The Good: Pilot Assist. Volvo's semi-autonomous tech is quite possibly the best on the market, taking much of the stress out of commuting. The S90 is the most relaxing way to experience the afternoon rush hour. The steering intervention system for the lane-keeping assist removes all the small corrections that tend to tire drivers out, while the adaptive cruise control handles itself well, maintaining a safe distance to the car in front without causing other drivers to think you're lollygagging. I used Pilot Assist at every opportunity and it routinely made my commute easier and more enjoyable.
The Bad: Pilot Assist is not fully autonomous. While you can take your hands off the wheel on straights, Pilot Assist is quick to yell at the driver with visual and audio cues to resume control of the wheel. Fail to obey and the system just disengages. While I understand there needs to be a deterrent to people relying too heavily on semi-autonomous systems, shutting down abruptly feels unsafe. Beyond that, Pilot Assist suffers from many of the same problems as similar systems—lines leading to exit ramps regularly fool the technology, causing the S90 to suddenly pull to one side to follow wayward lines. Likewise, Detroit's apocalyptic roads and inconsistent line markings can confuse semi-autonomous systems. Still, these are the most minor of annoyances in a beautifully engineered system.
2017 Volvo S90Enlarge Photo
The Good: The optional Bowers and Wilkins stereo turns the S90 into a damn concert hall. Seriously, there's a sound setting for the stereo to simulate the acoustics of the Gothenburg Concert Hall. From rap, to classical, to electronic, to rock, the audio system can blast the tunes in crystal clear sound.
The Good and Bad: The Sensus infotainment presents information beautifully and clearly. While Tesla pioneered the tablet-like center display, Sensus feels more intuitive and better equipped for everyday use. However, its learning curve is steep. I say that as a tech-obsessed millennial. There are huge, deep menus that require more than a little bit of time to set up. The good news is that most of these systems are of the set-and-forget variety. I'd strongly recommend that anyone buying an S90 have their local dealer run through a basic tutorial and setup for the various systems buried in Sensus' menus, especially for older, less tech-savvy drivers.