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Driven: Volvo V90 Cross Country. Image by Volvo.

Driven: Volvo V90 Cross Country
Volvo’s smooth crossover estate is our pick of the superb V90 range.

 



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Volvo V90 Cross Country

5 5 5 5 5

Good points: Exterior appearance, magnificent interior, peerless ride, general refinement

Not so good: Not massively cheap, a bit inert to drive

Key Facts

Model tested: Volvo V90 Cross Country D5 AWD
Price: V90 range starts from £34,955; V90 Cross Country from £43,585
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbocharged diesel
Transmission: all-wheel drive, eight-speed automatic
Body style: five-door crossover estate
CO2 emissions: 139g/km (£200 VED first 12 months, then £450 per annum next five years, then £140 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 53.3mpg
Top speed: 140mph
0-62mph: 7.5 seconds
Power: 235hp at 4,000rpm
Torque: 480Nm at 1,750- to 2,250rpm

Our view:

If we accept that the Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) revolution that is sweeping through Volvo is at its finest when you focus on comfort over handling, then this V90 Cross Country might just be the best new car the Swedish company has in its range. And as the sublime XC90 and deeply impressive XC60 both sit alongside the V90 CC in showrooms, that really is saying something.

You see, Volvo has rediscovered that indefinable quality that makes its cars deeply cool once more; and the company hasn't had such kudos since the original C70 Coupe (remember those? The T5 models? In that glorious burnt orange shade?) started to get long in the tooth in the early 2000s. Speak to people in the motoring reviews business and, while they'll often tell you that comparable Audi, BMW and Mercedes products might objectively be a bit better all round, it's the Volvo that subjectively they want most of all.

And the CC could well be the perfect manifestation of a large, premium, off-roading estate. Think about it: the Volvo easily has the Subaru Outback covered in all departments; the current Audi A6 allroad is due to be quietly put away any time soon; big-of-body encroachers from the class below, like the superb Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer and the appealing if pricey Volkswagen Passat Alltrack, simply don't match up to the Volvo for interior finishing; and the strongest of its rivals, the Mercedes E-Class All-Terrain, is currently only sold in a frighteningly expensive one-model spec that's the thick end of 60 grand.

The Volvo doesn't just beat these talented rivals, however, because we merely have a soft spot for it. No, it's more because the V90 CC is magnificent. Sitting 65mm taller than a regular V90 wagon, it manages to therefore feel different and more commanding from behind the wheel (high-class wood-effect trim and 'Cross Country' badges also help), while having ride quality that is plush in the extreme. Indeed, the refinement levels are unsurpassed by any car even remotely comparable, the cabin library-quiet at speeds and that brawny D5 motor driving impressively through a silken eight-speed automatic gearbox. As a thing to just waft about in, easing away the stresses of modern-day motoring, the V90 CC is lovely... and peerless, at a level below £60,000.

Of course, the interior is another modern Volvo masterpiece - exquisitely put together and just wonderful to look at. And operate, because the portrait touchscreen and digital instrument cluster team up to put everything you could need at your fingertips. Outside, there are no complaints from us: the Thor hammer daytime running lights are brilliant, the V90 wears the plastic cladding oh-so-well and we really approve of those distinctive rear light clusters, too, which stand out without looking a bit weird, like the S90's back end does.

Handling is about the Cross Country's only weak point, but that's a relative observation. The taller, softer suspension allows it to lean more than a V90 would, so it's not as sharp in the corners as it could be - that's a shame, as the V90 CC has rather excellent steering - yet it'll comfortably outmanoeuvre any premium SUV of a comparable price or size. And if you absolutely rev the nuts off the D5 engine, it becomes a touch coarse at the top end of the rev counter, but you simply don't need to do such a thing with a car that doles out a colossal 480Nm from just 1,750- to 2,250rpm.

So what's the net result of all this eulogising for the Volvo V90 Cross Country? Well, it's yet another scintillating product from a revitalised Volvo that shows just how far it has come in an incredibly short amount of time. There are some fantastic SUVs in its line-up right now, but unless you absolutely have to sit above all other traffic or tow very heavy trailers on a regular basis, the V90 Cross Country makes them look a bit redundant. We'd call it a Swiss Army Knife of a car, if we weren't referencing the wrong frosty country that begins with 'Sw-'. So we'll just round off by saying the V90 CC is unequivocally and easily the best crossover estate you can buy right now. In fact, it might just be the best estate car, crossover or otherwise, on the market.

Alternatives:

Audi A6 allroad: We're between generations on the super-classy A6 allroad; the old one is good but outclassed by the V90 CC. The new one should be much closer to the Volvo for quality.

Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain: First off-roading estate of this type by Mercedes and, as it's a new E-Class, it's a storming machine. Not the cheapest lifestyle estate, though.

Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer: If you want to save some pennies and yet get something as big as the Volvo, the superb Insignia CT is well worth a look. Good interior, but not as sumptuous as the V90's cabin.


Matt Robinson - 25 May 2017









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2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country UK drive. Image by Volvo.2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country UK drive. Image by Volvo.2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country UK drive. Image by Volvo.2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country UK drive. Image by Volvo.2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country UK drive. Image by Volvo.

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country UK drive. Image by Volvo.2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country UK drive. Image by Volvo.2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country UK drive. Image by Volvo.2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country UK drive. Image by Volvo.2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country UK drive. Image by Volvo.








 

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