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Andy Harris
Motoring and Property Editor
@ytimesmotoring
2:00 AM 2nd July 2022
cars

Volvo V90 Cross Country – A Week Behind The Wheel

Volvo has been making Cross Country versions of its estate cars for two decades. The idea is simple but effective - raise the ride height for better ground clearance, add some chunky looking body protection and a capable four-wheel drive system.

It is therefore no surprise that Volvo continues to offer a Cross Country version of its latest V90 estate.

The market for this type of car is not huge, with buyers increasingly turning to large 4x4 models. Volvo’s seven seat XC90 takes care of that market very nicely. That is a shame.

Viewed alongside the V90, the 65mm increase in ride height of the Cross Country is easy to spot. Skid plates front and rear provide protection for vital components when the going gets tough, whilst plastic wheel arch extensions should help to shrug off passing shrubbery.

Hollowed out Cross Country lettering on the rear bumper recalls past models and helps give the car some individual identity.

Volvo interiors have always majored on comfort, whilst the latest models have seen a distinct push upmarket. The Cross Country apes the plush V90 with a unique black walnut dash and some cross-stitched leather the only standalone features.

The leather clad seats are sumptuous and supportive, with powerful heaters built in for those frosty starts. The driving position is spot on and all the controls work with mechanical precision.

Four generously proportioned adults will have space aplenty, with 560 litres of boot space for luggage. The rear seats fold electrically for those longer loads; a little flat-pack furniture from Ikea maybe, though something more antique might be in order for those with a Volvo-sized budget.

Cross Country models come positively brimming with equipment such as the intuitive nine-inch touchscreen controlling most of the car’s major functions including the satellite navigation. The car boasts full connectivity whereby passengers can browse the internet, so no more bored children on long car journeys.

Other highlights include LED headlights, smart alloy wheels, an electric tailgate and dual-zone climate control.

An array of options can be specified, my test car being fitted with the ‘Lounge’ pack, a £2,500 option which includes a powered tilt/slide panoramic sunroof and a premium Harmon Kardon sound system. I would tick that box. Also specified was the ‘Climate’ pack, which adds heating to the rear seats, front windscreen and steering wheel. A veritable bargain at £575.

The last time I reviewed the V90 in Cross Country spec, the list price with options was a heady £50,000 or thereabouts. Fast forward five years and the B5 AWD version on my drive had added another £10,000 to that. Price seems no handicap to sales if my inside sources are correct, with most cars either being company purchases or bought privately on a PCP deal.

Under the bonnet of ‘my’ Platinum Grey car was Volvo’s familiar 1969cc petrol engine, with 250hp and 350Nm of torque. Powerful enough to propel the estate car from rest to 60mph in a smidgen over seven seconds and plenty fast enough to keep an enthusiastic journalist happy over 500 + miles.

A smooth automatic gearbox aids progress, kicking down quickly when called upon so to do.

This particular engined variant may not have the lowest emissions (177-193g/km CO2) but 33.2-36.2mpg economy is readily achievable. I recorded 34mpg on the trip computer, with the car not driven with economy in mind. A large 71 litre petrol tank will ensure long distances can be covered without refuelling, though a full top up will now be a wallet-busting one…

As well as the increased ride height, Volvo has chosen to fit the Cross Country models with bespoke higher profile tyres. Not only are these designed to grip well in off-road conditions, they also help make the ride more cosseting than the ordinary V90 models.

A touch more body roll is evident, but nothing that need worry a buyer unduly.

Although test conditions were predominantly dry, I took the V90 XC off road. It impressed with its hill climbing abilities and remained unfazed by whatever I threw at it. I can honestly say that it is far more capable than most buyers will ever need.

No Volvo would be complete without a raft of safety equipment and the Cross Country doesn’t disappoint. Of particular note is the City Safety system, capable of detecting pedestrians, cyclists and animals. Pilot Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control are also standard; this semi-autonomous technology will take care of the steering (unless you exceed 80mph), accelerator and braking.

The V90 Cross Country is an impressive and capable car. Of great interest to country types who don’t wish to lumber around in a full size 4x4, I would have one like a shot! In my humble opinion it is the best car that Volvo makes.

Luxurious, comfortable and surefooted, the Cross Country will look good whether parked up outside your favourite town restaurant or covered in mud at a country show. It has a touch of class, something that is sadly missing from some of its brasher German rivals. Reason enough to purchase perhaps?

Fast Facts

Volvo V90 B5 (P) AWD Cross Country
Priced from £53,560 (£60,585 as tested)
1,969cc petrol engine (250hp)
8-speed automatic gearbox
Combined economy 33.6-36.2mpg
Emissions – 177-193g/km CO2
0-60mph in 7.1 seconds
Raft of active and passive safety features
Maximum towing weight 2,400kg (braked)