Capable, practical, efficient, sumptuously luxurious and ever so Swedish, the Volvo V90 Cross Country is probably all the car you’ll ever need
What is it?
The Volvo V90 Cross Country is the high-riding all-wheel drive hiking boot wearing version of the Volvo V90, the wagon version of Volvo’s S90 luxury sedan. All models are based on Volvo’s new Scalable Product Architecture, which is also shared with the excellent XC90 and the upcoming second generation XC60.
The Volvo V90 Cross Country indirectly replaces the Volvo XC70 but is considerably more upmarket, and Volvo has aimed it against the likes of the Audi A6 All-Road and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain.
What’s it cost?
Volvo Australia have kept the Volvo V90 Cross Country range simple. There’s just one model, the V90 Cross Country D5 Inscription, which is priced from $99,000 plus options and on road costs. Our test car was equipped with a heads up display ($1,900), heated front seats ($650), Nappa leather with seat cooling ($1,200), heated wet arm windscreen wipers ($100), Technology Pack ($3,000), Surround View 360 camera system ($1,750) and power seat base cushion extension ($650).
What’s it go like?
Performance from the twin-turbo diesel 2.0 four-cylinder engine is strong. The engine produces 173kW @ 4000rpm and 480Nm @ 1750-2250rpm, the availability of maximum torque so low in the rev range means that acceleration is brisk, and the V90 Cross Country pulls away from standstill swiftly and cleanly.
Overtaking is quick and easy, too and Volvo claims a 0-100km/h sprint time of 7.5 seconds, impressive for a full-sized all-wheel drive wagon.
Perhaps the only drawback of the engine is noise. Diesel clatter is very apparent from outside the car, and we feel it could do with a touch more aural refinement. Inside, the cabin is free from any vibrations, but the engine is a little too vocal under acceleration. When cruising though, it’s almost impossible to tell what lies under the bonnet.
Volvo claims that the V90 will sip 5.7 litres of diesel per 100 kilometres on a combined cycle, but we found 8.5 litres more realistic. Far from Volvo’s claims, but not bad for a car of this size.
On the road the V90 Cross Country is the big, plush and polished. The V90’s size can certainly be felt, but it never feels ungainly, ponderous or cumbersome. There’s a little lean through corners, but it doesn’t wallow and the ride is excellent, effortlessly ironing out any road imperfections.
That raised ride height and all-wheel drive grip would be more than helpful in slippery conditions, and we suspect that the V90 Cross Country could traverse the same sort of snowy trails and soggy campsites as an XC90. Should things get a little steep, there’s also Hill Descent Control to help you brake safely down declines.
If long motor way drives are your thing, you’ll be please to know that the Pilot Assist system is excellent and sharing the workload, and we were impressed by the system’s accuracy in following lanes. We wouldn’t be using the Pilot Assist system in built up areas, though and the driver is required to have their hands on the steering wheel at all times while the system is in use.
The V90 Cross Country is big. Thankfully, it has an automated parking system and a crystal clear 360 degree camera system to take the sting out of tight manoeuvers.
Overall, the Volvo V90 Cross Country is a powerful and relaxing cruiser that makes any journey a pleasure.
What’s it like inside?
Gorgeous, yet plush and practical. Volvo’s latest generation of interiors are breathtakingly beautiful, and we think the S90/V90 interiors are the best of the lot. They’re simple, clean, elegant and very Swedish.
All materials are beautiful to the eye and to the touch. Volvo’s Sensus touchscreen infotainment system is easy enough to use after some familiarisation, but we felt it could be a little fiddly on the move. The buttons on the steering wheel can access just about all of Sensus’ main functions, although they are a little ambiguously marked at first, but become intuitive after a short while.
There’s also voice control at your disposal should you require.
The sound system is good too, and while Volvo’s optional Bowers & Wilkins systems are nice, the standard set up makes you wonder if the posh hi-fi is worth the extra cash.
Volvo has developed a reputation for making some of the best seats in the business, and the chairs in the V90 Cross Country do not disappoint. They’re soft, yet wonderfully supportive, and the optional front seat base extensions in our test car were a welcome addition.
There’s an abundance of space in all directions for front occupants and the rear bench is just as plush. While it has been designed to accentuate the outer two seats, all three passengers will have ample head, leg and knee room – actually, depending on how far forward the front seats are set, the rear passengers could find themselves indulging in limousine-like legroom.
The boot is also huge and has a flat load floor. An electric tailgate is standard and gesture control is available as an option.
What we like:
- All round capability
What we don’t:
- It’s not cheap
- Diesel can be noisy
- Sensus can take some adjustment
- Some interior squeaks and rattles
- Options such as heated seats should be standard
Sale or no sale?
Yes. The Volvo V90 Cross Country is a bit like a Swedish pocket knife – it seems to be able to do everything.