The 2017 Volvo S90 Sedan Is Just The Ticket For A Summer Drive

Recently, I received a marriage proposal in Italy on the basis that “it is impossible to find a girl who eats as much as you.” This, I admit, was probably a fair calculation on his part. I love to eat, and there is no place I love more than a European petrol station stocked with the latest array of Milka chocolate bars.

Wandering one such station during a road trip throughSouthern SO +0.23% Spain’s Costa del Sol this week, a purple-packaged Milka boasting a union with Chips Ahoy immediately caught my eye. Twenty seconds later, the bar was unwrapped, and I stood on the hot sidewalk, faced with the very real dilemma of how to finish it before it disintegrated under the 95-degree Spanish sun.

Fortunately, my Volvo S90 was parked at the curb. Inside, the air-cooled glove box compartment would keep it cold for me. There would be no need to make a choice after all between letting the Milka go to waste or stuffing it down my gullet.

To be sure, the Volvo S90 is more than an icebox on wheels, and the heat is on for the Swedish automaker to deliver a legitimate successor to its 2016 sleeper hit, the XC90 crossover that captured 140 awards worldwide. But during our drive through Malaga, Spain, the S90 proved to be a credible luxury sedan with a powerful, fuel-efficient four-cylinder engine that drives more like a V6.

The XC90 has already helped reinvigorate Volvo’s sales, which rose 20% for the first five months of the year against overall industry growth of 1.2%. Granted, Volvo sold only 28,000 vehicles through May, compared with sales of 147,000 for Mercedes and 125,000 for BMW. Still, critics agree Volvo is on a roll, underpinned by a durable new platform and upheld with swank Scandinavian design. That fledgling pedigree should help the S90 hold its own against other luxury mid-size sedans, including the BMW 5-series, Mercedes E-class, Audi A6, Lexus GS, Acura RLX and Infiniti Q70 and assist Volvo in capturing new customers as 150,000 premium sedan leases mature this year.

Aspiring Volvo customers won’t have to wait long. The all-wheel drive, 316-horsepower S90 with Volvo’s turbocharged and supercharged T6 engine, which takes 0 to 60 in 5.7 seconds, goes on sale in July starting at $53,000. The 250-horsepower turbocharged variant with front-wheel drive and Volvo’s smaller T5 engine, capable of traveling from 0 to 60 m.p.h. in 6.5 seconds, goes on sale in September starting at $47,000.

“It’s actually not a refrigerator,” Volvo spokesman Jim Nichols explained after the drive. “It’s an air-cooled compartment. Especially in Europe, a lot of people like to carry fruit with them and keep it in the glove compartment. From an engineering standpoint, it’s just another vent.”

I should note here that we also spent some time behind the wheel of the S90’s chic station wagon version, the V90, which is coming to the U.S. at an undisclosed time for an undisclosed price. What I can tell you, however, is that its glove box worked just as well.