My 2015 non-Volvo lease was coming up for turn-in and I spent a non-trivial amount of time shopping for its replacement. I have a somewhat unique situation in that my daily commute is either 6 or 180 miles round trip. This lines me up perfectly for a plug-in hybrid electric car (PHEV) and as luck would have it I have a 40 amp charger at home and free charging both of my offices. When it came time to test drive the XC60 T8 and the S90 T8 I was well excited by the fit and finish of both. My wife drives a full-size SUV so I wasn’t interested in the XC90 and only moderately interested in the XC60, so I was really coming to check out the S90. Now … I wasn’t blown away, but I was thoroughly impressed. There were major annoyances (no buttons and everything buried in a laggy touchscreen), some minor inconveniences (manual steering wheel adjustments in the flagship of a European brand, the shifting situation), but mostly there was a lot to like. The car itself is gorgeous, the interior is utilitarian but well appointed, and the ride and handling are fantastic.
I decided my next vehicle would be a Volvo S90 T8.
And then everything went wrong. First, the dealer I was trying to work with had a truly awful sales experience. The advisor I somehow was paired with was, at best, completely incompetent. I’m under the impression he had no experience with customer service but that shouldn’t reflect poorly on Volvo. What should reflect poorly on Volvo are three major issues -
Pricing. It’s damn near impossible to option out a Volvo S90 and do an apples-to-apples comparison with the competition. I’m a 30-something male with zero children, no one will ever be in the back seat. So why should I have to add $3500 option designed around rear passenger comfort to get a massaging driver’s seat? This is just one example. Couple the options pricing with the fact that there are very few T8s sitting on dealer lots means that there’s very little room for negotiation. If you want your Volvo built your way, you have to order it and you pay sticker minus current incentives - end of discussion.
Size. In 2017 the US market got a short wheelbase S90 and the LWB was reserved for a couple Asian markets. In 2018, the US market didn’t receive and option - all S90s sold are now LWB, adding 5" to the wheelbase and 5" to the overall length of the sedan. ALL OF THIS SPACE goes to the rear seat passenger area, none of it to the trunk and none of it to the front seats. And it’s only 5", but it’s a noticeably longer sedan overall; the rear doors are comically large. Furthermore, the size of the sedan with the LWB makes it difficult to place in line with the competition; it’s larger than a 5 Series / A6 / E Class, but smaller than the 7 / A8 / S (and BMW makes a PHEV 530e and 740e, MB makes a PHEV S560e, Cadillac has the new CT6) and priced accordingly.
Residual. An industry low 51%. Not only does this leave the lessee shouldering more of the financial burden, but it also tells me Volvo doesn’t feel strongly about their vehicles’ overall value in the long term.
And thus ended my short-lived attempt at leasing a Volvo. I know the LH forums go ga-ga over some of the A Plan incentives on the base model S90s, but even at bargain basement prices those aren’t something I’m shopping for.
I took delivery of my new car two weeks ago and every time I pass an S90 around town the thought crosses my mind, but then I keep driving happily past knowing that I made the right decision to pass up on the opportunity.