It started with the wagon and then the minivan took over, which was then replaced by the SUV as the preferred family vehicle. Now could wagons be on the verge of a come back? Mercedes-Benz recently introduced a new E-Class Wagon and Volvo also revamped its large wagon. But over the next year, we’ll have wagons from Porsche, Buick and Jaguar ready to do duty in the US. After spending a week with the Volvo V90 Cross Country, I didn’t want to give it back. Here are five of the things you need to know about the 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country:
1. Wagons can be sexy
Volvo’s new 90 Series lineup is leading the charge as part of Volvo’s renaissance. It started with the XC90, then the flagship S90 sedan and then ended with the V90 wagon. All three models feature Volvo’s understated, but elegant design language. Instead of going at it from the aggressive end, like some of the latest Lexus models, Volvo’s new look is clean, nicely sculpted and timeless.
“That’s a Volvo?!”
With the V90 and the V90 Cross Country, you get a large, long stretched wagon that draws attention because of how classy it looks going down the road. Who knew that I’d get so many stares or positive comments about a large Volvo wagon. Surprisingly it was the preferred choice among friends, even though the keys to a Porsche 718 Boxster were available.
The V90 is offered in two guises, the standard V90 or the slightly higher riding, more rugged V90 Cross Country. The V90 is the better looking choice as it is lower to the ground and has an overall sleeker look. The only downside, since buyers still prefer to ride higher, only the V90 Cross Country is widely available. To V90 is special order only.
2. Turbocharged and Supercharged
Volvo has ditched the former six- and eight-cylinder engines that it offered in the past for a lineup of more efficient four-cylinder and soon three-cylinder engines. The V90 and the more off-road ready V90 Cross Country are powered by a 2.0L four-cylinder engine that is both turbocharged and supercharged to get you moving. The 2.0L generates 316-hp and 295 lb-ft. of torque and it’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The V90 Cross Country also features a standard all-wheel drive system.
The V90 Cross Country is rated at 22 mpg in the city and 30 mpg on the highway. During my week with the V90 Cross Country I only averaged 20 mpg, which was well below its 25 mpg combined EPA rating. Although I was disappointed by the fuel economy specs, the bigger issue is that the V90 Cross Country only has a 15.9 gallon fuel tank, which means you’ll have to stop more often on a family road trip.
3. An interior that you’ll never want to get out of
The V90’s interior is nearly identical to the S90, which means you get the same large Tesla-esque vertical touchscreen and luxurious materials. The seats are cushy and supportive and it’s optional Bowers & Wilkins sound system will easily satisfy most audiophiles. The front seats offer heating, ventilation and even a massaging feature to make sure that you’re always at the right temp and relaxed.
In the rear, there’s plenty of room for three passengers and the large panoramic roof provides a nice airy view. If you’re hoping for the old rear-facing third-row from wagons past, that’s long gone. In its place, there’s a large cargo hold that can hold all of your gear, although the V90’s lower overall height will eat into the typical cargo space that you’d get with an SUV, like the XC90.
4. You’ll feel like a trendsetter
These days almost everyone wants an SUV and there are so many on the market that they are all starting to even look alike. With the V90 you still get much of the space that you’d need, but it also says, look at me, I can be different. Your parents probably drive an SUV, so how can you stand out from them? Buy a wagon!
5. Surprising performance
Just because it’s a wagon, doesn’t mean it has to have the same floaty, uninspiring performance that plagued its predecessors. The V90 T6 has a nice amount of thrust with a 0-60 mph time under six seconds. Around town the suspension swallows up potholes, like a boss and braking is good considering how heavy the V90 actually is. Another benefit of its being lower to the ground, the V90 performs more like a car than that clumsy SUV that you neighbor drives. There’s also a nice Dynamic mode that tightens things up, although it does disable the auto start system, so you’ll eat a little more gas.
Wrap Up: The fact that I chose to drive the Volvo V90 Cross Country more than the Porsche during my week with it speaks for itself. The V90 Cross Country’s combination of style, comfort and coolness was something that I wasn’t expecting. In a world of “me-too” SUVs and minivans, the V90 Cross Country is the anti-SUV.
Pricing for the 2017 V90 starts at $49,950, while the V90 Cross Country starts at $55,300.