Longtime Volvo fans should rejoice over the all-new V90 Cross Country T6 AWD wagon, introduced for 2017 with a base price of $55,300 (plus $995 freight).
That includes such amenities as a 316-horsepower four-cylinder engine, all-wheel drive and a superbly designed interior with leather trim.
There is a possibility of sticker shock, though, especially with the test vehicle we were provided. It topped out at $69,440, including freight and a long list of options.
But now that some non-luxury-brand SUVs are pushing well over $50,000 these days, the price of the V90 Cross Country might not seem so steep – especially considering just how nice this vehicle is.
I’m one of those longtime Volvo fans, and have owned several of the brand’s signature wagons over the years. But none of them ever came close to the new V90 Cross Country in style or performance. This is an outstanding vehicle, with nothing to disappoint even those of us who aren’t diehard Volvo fans.
Volvo’s idea with the original Cross Country concept was to beef up one of its wagons to make it more SUV-like, at a time when sport utility vehicles were all the rage, and Volvo didn’t have one.
Adding all-wheel drive and giving the Cross Country slightly higher ground clearance than the wagon upon which it was based helped to differentiate it and make it appealing to those who might have been considering an SUV alternative.
Fast-forward to 2017, and you have in the new V90 the original Cross Country concept taken to a much higher level. It still has SUV-like ground clearance of 8.7 inches, too.
While performance was never emphasized in the Volvo wagons of the earlier years, it has been given prominence in the V90 Cross Country. Under the hood is a supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter direct-inject inline four-cylinder engine, which not only produces that 316 horsepower, but also cranks out up to 295 foot-pounds of torque.
It’s connected to an eight-speed Geartronic automatic transmission with manual-shift feature. The seamless all-wheel drive directs power exactly where it’s needed for maximum traction, with no driver input required.
EPA ratings are excellent for a car of this size: 22 mpg city/29 highway/25 combined. We averaged about 24.3 mpg during our weeklong test, which included about a 60-40 city/highway mix. Unleaded premium fuel (91 octane or more) is recommended for the best performance.
As with all Volvo products, the V90 is well built, well equipped, quite comfortable, full of safety features, and definitely fun to drive.
Even with the relatively heavy curb weight of about 4,300 pounds, the V90 Cross Country T6 can go from zero-60 mph in six seconds. Top speed is 130 mph (electronically limited).
The automatic transmission shifts smoothly and smartly. Its computer controller helps keep it from gear hunting on uphill and downhill slopes, and it downshifts quickly and accurately for quick bursts of speed to accommodate passing and freeway merges.
Our tester’s interior was almost limo-like, with roomy and comfortable seating for up to five people. There is ample knee and legroom in the back seat, and the panoramic laminated glass moon roof extends over the rear passengers. Adults can sit in the middle rear position, but it’s more comfortable with just two in the rear, and the center armrest pulled down from the seatback.
Among standard V90 Cross Country features are 19-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires. But our tester came with an upgrade to 20-inch alloy wheels ($800).
Other amenities, besides the leather seats, include dark walnut wood inlays in the cabin, illuminated door handles, leather-wrapped tilt/telescopic/heated steering wheel, dual-zone automatic climate control, a hands-free power tailgate, keyless entry and pushbutton start, and 10-way power-adjustable/heated front seats with driver’s side memory.
Standard technology features include Volvo’s City Safety system. It takes over control of the vehicle if the driver becomes distracted – perhaps while “texting” instead of driving – and automatically stops the car if it is about to run into the vehicle in front.
It will completely stop the car if it is going under 19 mph and the difference in speeds between it and the car in front (or a stationary object) is 9 mph or less. If the difference is more than 9 mpg, the car will brake itself, but won’t avert a collision completely.
While the City Safety system won’t compensate for all of the driver’s mistakes, it might help prevent a fender-bender. Volvo says studies show that 75 percent of traffic accidents occur at speeds of 19 mph or below.
Also included are Pedestrian, Cyclist and Large Animal Detection; the Pilot Assist semi-autonomous drive system; Run-off Road Protection and Mitigation; rear park assist and rearview camera system; Lane Departure Warning and Driver Alert Control; and road sign information.
Other safety gear includes seat-mounted side air bags, roof-mounted side-curtain air bags for both rows, electronic stability control with traction control, four-wheel antilock disc brakes with electronic brake-force distribution, tire-pressure monitoring, the Volvo Whiplash Protection System, a high-strength steel safety cage, and side-impact protection.
Volvo’s Sensus audio/navigation system is standard, with a nine-inch touch screen, 380 watts, 10 speakers, HD and satellite radio, USB port, and Bluetooth connection.
Other features include electric power steering, adjustable drive-mode settings, LED headlights and fog lights with corner illumination, and dual integrated tailpipes.
So-called Cross Country features, listed separately but with no additional cost, included full LED headlights with Active Bending Light and automatic high beams; “Thor’s Hammer” daytime running lights; high-pressure headlight washers; high-gloss black window trim; integrated aluminum roof rails and roof spoiler; Cross Country embossed rear bumper; black wheel-arch extensions; laminated side windows; Blind Spot Information and Cross Traffic Alert; hill-descent control; smartphone integration and USB hub; and color-coordinated leather remote key.
Options on our test vehicle included the Luxury Package ($4,500), which brought Nappa ventilated leather upholstery, four-zone automatic climate control with rear-passenger controls at the back of the center console, a cooled glovebox, power-operated cargo cover, rear/side sun curtains, leather dashboard and upper door panels, backrest massage in the front seats, color-coordinated door sills and bumpers, heated outboard rear seating positions, and power cushion extensions up front.
We also had the Convenience Package ($1,950), which added heated windshield-washer nozzles, 360-degree surround-view camera system, grocery bag holder, universal garage opener, Park Assist Pilot, high-level interior illumination, and a compass.
Other extras included a Bowers and Wilkins Premium Sound system ($3,200), graphical heads-up display ($900), premium rear air suspension ($1,200), and Maple Brown Metallic exterior paint ($595).
The cargo area has up to 32.2 cubic feet of space with the rear seatback in place, including 2.7 cubic feet of hidden storage under the floor. With the rear seatback folded, space expands to as much as 69 cubic feet.
The automotive columns of G. Chambers Williams III have appeared regularly in the Star-Telegram since 1994. Contact him at email@example.com or on Twitter @gchambers3.
2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD
The package: Midsize, premium, five-door, five-passenger, supercharged and turbocharged inline four-cylinder, gasoline-powered, all-wheel-drive wagon.
Highlights: Introduced for 2017, this is Volvo’s new signature station wagon, aimed at women, young families and empty nesters. It has a long list of high-tech safety features and options, and a powerful four-cylinder engine.
Negatives: Can get pricey with all the options.
Engines: 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder gasoline, supercharged and turbocharged.
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic/all-wheel drive.
Power/torque: 316 HP./295 foot-pounds.
Length: 194.4 inches.
Curb weight: 4,334 pounds.
Brakes, front/rear: Disc/disc, antilock.
Cargo volume: 32.2 cubic feet (behind rear seat, including under-floor storage of 2.7 cubic feet); 69.0 cubic feet (rear seat folded).
Towing capacity: 3,400 pounds (braked trailer).
Side air bags: Front seat-mounted, roof-mounted side-curtain for both rows, standard.
Electronic stability control: Standard.
Fuel capacity/type: 13.2 gallons/unleaded premium recommended, not required.
EPA fuel economy: 22 mpg city/29 highway/25 combined.
Base price: $55,300, plus $995 freight.
Price as tested: $69,440, including freight and options (2017 V90 T6 AWD).
On the Road rating: 8.5 (of a possible 10).
Prices shown are manufacturer’s suggested retail; actual selling price may vary.