2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country Review
The Wagon Resurgence Is Real
For decades now, buyers here in the U.S. have ignored station wagons as a desirable form of transportation. The dearth of minivans and SUV’s in the marketplace are much better at holding the buying public’s attention, and people have gotten used to the ‘higher-up’ driving position those vehicles deliver. Then, there’s the stigma of having ridden in our parents’ boring station wagons to further weaken their appeal. But for car enthusiasts, it’s hard to beat the combination of space, utility and handling dynamics you can get with a ‘long-roof.’ There’s a reason why they are so popular all across Europe!
In recent years, there has been a bit of a resurgence in wagons’ popularity. Even companies like Buick are coming out with one, and stalwarts Audi, BMW and Mercedes have all recently refreshed their wagon offerings. So, it stands to reason that Volvo – a company that has been selling wagons as long as they have been in business – would come out with a wagon version of their all-new and award-winning S90 Sedan. We loved it so much, that we named it our “sedan of the year” last year. The combination of interior panache, efficiency and groundbreaking technology make it one of the best sedans on the market.
So it’s not hard to believe that we love this new V90 wagon, especially if you’ve been following our reviews. I’ve often commented on how I wished there were more wagons to choose from, and other times highlighted how a car would have been better if it was a wagon. In this case, Volvo has chosen to ‘style’ the wagon with its ‘cross country’ body cladding and higher ride-height. It’s been a long-standing way for companies to bridge the gap between low-slung wagon and tall SUV. Subaru has the Outback, Audi has the Allroad, and Volvo has the Cross Country.
Then there’s the commitment to safety – if you haven’t heard about this yet, Volvo has made a commitment to have no deaths in new Volvo vehicles from 2020 onward. There’s a whole host of active safety features on this wagon, including essentially autonomous driving in the form of the Pilot Assist system. Combining radar cruise, lane assist and automatic braking, the cameras are used to further capture information to make driving decisions. It will stop itself behind traffic, and all you have to do to get rolling again is touch the throttle. It will follow the car ahead, and the lane after that. If you don’t touch the steering wheel for a while, it will remind you to do so – a reminder that autonomous driving is not quite here yet – but it’s a remarkable system.
Rated at 22mpg City and 30mpg Highway is very impressive for the twin-charged 2.0-Liter 4-cylinder engine. Stay tuned soon for a more powerful electric or hybrid version as well, given Volvo’s commitment to electrified vehicles – especially for performance versions. Starting at $56k, and topping out closer to $70k – the price is not low, but the vehicle delivers in every possible way. If you opt for European delivery, you can get the lower, non-cross-country version of the V90. And a Swedish vacation! How can you go wrong?