We’ve had the Volvo V90 D4 AWD Cross Country in for Review and Test, Volvo’s cross between the V90 and XC90. A compromise or a star?
We’ve had both the regular V90 and the V90 R-Design in for review recently, and they are exceptionally good big estate cars, although we’d have liked a V90 with the looks of the R-Design and the suspension and interior of the Inscription.
But when Volvo launched the new 90 Series of cars they also ended the life of the XC70, effectively a Volvo V70 Cross Country but with the SUV XC badge.
Volvo weren’t going to miss a sales trick by losing customers who bought an XC70 to the likes of Audi’s Allroad, or even the new Mercedes All Terrain, so we get this, the 2017 Volvo V90 D4 AWD Cross Country.
On paper, despite a chunky price differential between it and the regular V90, the V90 Cross Country is a perfect halfway house between the V90 and XC90, ideal for families who don’t want to lug a big SUV around but still want a bit of off-road nous.
Available as a D4 or D5 diesel – and with a single ‘Cross Country’ spec – the car we have in this week is the entry-level V90 Cross Country complete with the less powerful D4 2.0 litre engine, but still with four-wheel drive as standard.
So, is the Volvo V90 Cross Country a star, or just a compromise?
V90 D4 Cross Country Inside and out
It’s no surprise to find that the interior of the Cross Country version of Volvo’s V90 Estate is an absolute delight to be in; every modern Volvo has that hugely appealing blend of Nordic simplicity, elegance and understated luxury.
Just like the rest of the range, the materials are high quality, there’s oodles of room in the front, in the back and in the boot, although the traditional cavernous Volvo estate boot is a little compromised by the roofline. But it’s still big, and it’s easy to load.
Sitting front and centre is Volvo’s upright tablet infotainment screen, reducing the button count to just a handful and very easy and intuitive to use. If anyone tells you different, just tell them to live with it for a day or two.
Outside it’s the same appealing V90 shape – one up, in our eyes, on the S90 saloon – but with added butch as befits an ‘Allroad’ version.
That means ‘Cross Country’ lettering across the rear bumper, protective plastic cladding round vulnerable areas and a raised ride height.
It all conspires to give the V90 Cross Country an air of invincibility, more than a hint of the SUV and a promise that this is a car which will go exactly where you want it to.
Delightfully, the cool styling of the V90 shines through the butch adornments, and the Cross Country doesn’t look remotely OTT, just very able and appealing.
It’s a very clever Cross Country makeover.
V90 D4 Cross Country Performance
We love the on-road manners of the V90 Inscription, with its partiality to cosset and soothe rather than send you off to line the pockets of your chiropractor. And actually, the Cross Country offers the same – only more so.
After a couple of days with the V90 Cross Country we had to conclude that this is the most convincing of Volvo’s V90 estates, conspiring more than the regular V90 and V90 R-design to deliver a car which perfectly combines all that is best of new Volvo with all that was good about old Volvo.
The 2.0 litre diesel D4 isn’t going to make the V90 the quickest estate car on the road, but its 187bhp and 295lb/ft of torque are enough to make good progress, never feel like you have to struggle to make an overtake and, despite a bit of noise if you push really hard, it’s a refined and able lump.
But actually, you do find yourself wafting around with a light throttle most of the time, seduced by the V90’s compliant suspension and cocooned in one of the best cabins in the business. And it’s a delight.
But don’t think that doesn’t mean the Cross Country can’t pick up its skirts and hustle a bit without falling over. Because it’s much better at doing that than its appealingly comfortable ride might suggest.
It actually handles very well, albeit with more body roll than you’d get in most ‘Premium’ estates, with good turn in and very good grip. In fact, if you ever need to make a quick journey home on back roads in miserable weather, the V90 Cross Country should be near the top of your list. It’s that good.
V90 D4 Cross Country Verdict
Having already spent a chunk of time with various iterations of the V90 and XC90, we did wonder if the V90 Cross Country would be just a compromise between the two, rather than a stand-out car in its own right. We’re pleased to say it’s very much the latter.
All the 90 Series desirables are very much in evidence, from the hugely appealing interior with its elegant simplicity to a design which shouts ‘Premium’ but doesn’t shout ‘Flash’.
The engine, despite its lowly four-cylinders and no real surfeit of power, conspires to deliver a hushed delivery almost all the time, performance which is adequate if not exciting and economy which, in the real world, will be comfortably in the mid-30s mpg.
But the real pièce de résistance of the V90 Cross Country is its sublime ride, a ride which conspires – with very few exceptions – to waft you along without float, and yet still delivers reassuring handling and very good grip when you want to get a shake on.
That it also swallows enough people and ‘stuff’ to make the only sensible alternative a Transit Custom, that it comes bristling with Volvo’s extensive safety gubbins, that it has a stunning cabin, looks cool and is a car other road users smile at and let out of junctions, is all a bonus.
We’d be surprised if Volvo don’t end up selling more Cross Country versions than regular V90s.
Volvo V90 D4 Cross Country Review Photos
2017 Volvo V90 D4 Cross Country Review Quick Specs
- Engine: 1969cc, 188bhp
- Performance: 0-62mph 8.8 seconds / Top Speed 130mph
- Economy: 54.3mpg – Official / 38.1mpg – Test
- Emissions: 138g/km
- Price: £39,785 / Price as tested £45,660
- Test car supplied by Volvo UK
Test car options
Xenium – £2,000
- Power Glass Tilt & Slide Sunroof
- Parking Camera 360º Surround View
- Park Assist Pilot – Automatic Parallel and 90º Parking (includes Front and Rear Park Assist)
- 12.3″ Active TFT Crystal Driver’s Information Display £400
- Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert (CTA) and Rear Collision Mitigation plus Autodimming Exterior Mirrors £600
- Keyless Drive (Includes keyless entry and keyless start) with remote tag plus handsfree tailgate Opening/closing £575
- Nappa Soft Leather £1,050
- Volvo on Call with app £550