Words: Calvin Chan
Photography: Calvin Chan
Published: May 16, 2017
“Whoa. Is this really the new Volvo V90? It’s gorgeous, fashion-model gorgeous,” a fellow stranger at the parking lot commented.
And I wholeheartedly agree. It baffles me how the Swedish automaker went from their once blandly styled safety boxes into a set of stunning and handsome pieces of art. And it’s not just the V90 that is graced with this design language. The XC90, S90, and recently unveiled XC60 are all sporting this alluring charm.
We’ve tested the XC90 (their most popular model) and S90 before, and have nothing but fond memories of their styling, simplistic cabin, and cocooning seats. But the newest vehicle to their lineup is the Volvo V90 Cross Country, a premium five-passenger V90 wagon with a bit of extra ground clearance, 60 mm to be exact. Think of it as the bridge between sedan and SUV.
The front and rear bumpers have been redesigned from the standard V90 to accommodate rugged terrain, and body cladding is found around the wheel arches and lower body. The front grill also gets a slight revision with chrome studs flanked by vertical black bars. There are also model-specific 19-inch wheels, larger side mirrors, and a rear skid plate.
In all, the V90 Cross Country is one of the best looking wagons on the market (which is a small niche to begin with in Canada), next to the Audi A4 Allroad, Subaru Outback, Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon, and Volkswagen Golf Alltrack. The V90 CC appears long, sleek, and arguably old-school American. And even though the V90 shares the same wheelbase as the S90, it’s actually a few millimetres shorter in length.
Get a load of that interior too. It’s identical to the S90 Sedan (but different from the XC90), and offers a clean, clutter-free, vertical dashboard layout with a tablet-style center touchscreen and physical buttons and knobs for the important controls. The screen is very responsive to inputs as well, and the menus are organized in an intuitive fashion with swiping available in all directions.
For us Canadians, the V90 Cross Country only comes in one trim, T6 AWD, and starts at $61,900, just $2,000 more than the regular V90 wagon. The Cross Country is equipped with all-wheel drive, hill-descent control, and a 2.0-litre supercharged and turbocharged four-cylinder engine that produces a 316 hp and 295 lb-ft. The only transmission choice is an 8-speed automatic, and it will go from 0-100 km/h in a swift 6.3 seconds.
How does it drive? The V90 CC is quite the boulevard cruiser. The interior is quiet, well insulated from tire noise, and the ride isn’t bad either for a wagon on stilts. It’s not as supple or as collected around corners as the standard V90, but we can attribute that to the added height. It dips and wallows a little during braking and accelerating.
The V90 CC won’t crash or dive into potholes, and levels out fairly well on city roads thanks to an optional rear air suspension, but it won’t absorb them up as fluidly as the standard V90. In fact, the Cross Country rode similarly to the XC90 we last drove, which was on the stiff-side of the spectrum.
The dual-charged engine is plenty powerful. The supercharger does a stellar job masking the faults of turbo lag, creating a seamless powerband from start to finish. Mid-range torque is where the power really digs in, allowing for breezy overtakes and quick sprints off the highway ramp. We never found ourselves wanting for more power.
The engine sounds pretty good. It’s less raspy than the S90 and XC90 we last tested with the same powerplant. This one has more bass. It even emits a BMW-like pitch when changing gears during heavy acceleration.
The steering was similar to every other Volvo we've tested: electric and overboosted. There’s hardly any feel to it, and even though you can customize the amount of steering effort and weight required to turn the wheel, it’s not very pleasant. Be that as it may, I’m sure most people won’t mind it’s effortless and light steering, just don’t ask too much of it when driving spiritedly.
Rather, the V90 CC is moreso about the adventure, the experience, and the practicality of driving a jacked up wagon. The added height allows for easier entry and exit out of the vehicle, and also makes loading heavy cargo into the trunk less of a bending exercise for taller folks. It also provides a sense of safety for those worried about dinging the curb and overestimating the length of the car when making tight turns.
Interior space is excellent. Standing six-feet tall, I had no problem fitting my slender frame into any one of the five available seats. Headroom is especially impressive in the rear seats, though the seating position and tight C-pillar make for a very cramped view out the rear windows. The rear liftgate is power-operated and motion-operated by waving your foot under the rear bumper, and trunk space is just a few “grocery bags” shy of the full-size XC90.
Though I doubt many of these V90 Cross Countrys will ever see any off-road terrain, it’s an excellent choice for anyone looking to hit up the dirt path, countryside, or snow-burdened lands up near the cottage. It’s also quite appealing to novice drivers who fear curbing the wheels and appreciate a higher seating position - best not to underestimate how much a few extra millimetres of ground clearance can do for your vehicle.
The V90 Cross Country is one of the best SUV alternatives away from the mainstream market. It’s minor faults of a harsh ride, noticeable body roll, and painfully slow power windows are largely overshadowed by its stellar build quality, seductive styling, great infotainment unit, and impressive suite of safety technologies. Few things I would fix: make Apple CarPlay standard fare and cushion up the ride.
If you don’t need the size of the XC90, and want a vehicle with just as much storage capability, go-anywhere street cred, and with a sleeker profile than the mid-size XC60, then the V90 Cross Country just might be for you.
型号 Model: 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country
顏色 Paint Type: Osmium Gray Metallic ($900)
廠方建議售價 Base Price: $61,900
試車售價 Price as Tested: $68,075
軸距 Wheelbase(mm): 2,941
長闊 Length/Width/Height (mm): 4,939 / 2,052 / 1,543
車重 Curb weight (kg): 1,834
引擎 Engine: 2.0-litre turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder
最大馬力 Horsepower: 316 hp @ 5,700 rpm
最高扭力 Torque: 295 lb-ft
波箱 Transmission: 8-speed automatic
擺佈 Engine & Drive Configuration: Front engine, AWD
油耗 Fuel Consumption ( City / Highway / Combined ) L/100km: 10.2 / 6.6 / 7.9
油耗 Observed Fuel Consumption (L/100km): 10.3