For years, Volvo’s much-deserved claim to fame was their peerless safety features encased in boxes with wheels. They didn’t provide the most alluring silhouettes, but at least you had a great opportunity arriving in one piece. Thankfully, Volvo designers have heard and delivered on the shouts of customers demanding their safety in beautiful sedan and SUV packages. Good on them. And since they’re on a hot streak, why not unveil a looker of a wagon as well?
The 2018 V90 Cross Country T6 AWD wagon is mechanically identical to the highly rated S90 sports sedan and thus checks all the boxes for those desiring luxury, safety, generous cabin room and cutting-edge tech–all in a beatific package. The tester provided by Crest Volvo in Plano attracted constant compliments throughout the testing period. Let us count the ways to separate from the hoard of SUVs crowding our roads.
The V90’s appearance possesses bonafide leading man attractiveness. Its form is masculine, statuesque, crisp and decidedly upscale offering some serious good-looking chops to compete in the newer upscale sports wagon market. The exterior exudes a clean, elegant appearance with a hint of drama. Outrageously sexy “Thor’s Hammer” headlights (auto high beams!) illuminate the road and rotate when turning. Sightlines offer a fresh appearance from any angle and a blunt front allows Volvo to satisfy European pedestrian impact regulations. The rear includes perfectly placed LED brake lights and dual chrome exhausts. Darkened 20” rims are welcome accessories. Thus, the overall shape and trim definitely delivers some sexy panache. Suffice to say, the V90 drew many admiring comments of best-looking ride–wagon or not.
The powertrain is a delight as well. An eight-speed transmission coupled with an optional four-cylinder twin-charged (Super & Turbo-charged) 2.0 liter 316 HP/295 lb.-ft. torque (the T5 standard is 250hp/258 lb-ft torque). You may think that wouldn’t provide enough oomph moving some 4,221 pounds, but the dual charged power delivers admirable smoothness and pep for the targeted audience—including a decent sporty exhaust note. In fact, the Dynamic mode is plenty peppy. That said, I’d recommend a V6 option in future offerings for those wanting more—especially when slogging up steep mountain roads. However, the optional AWD and Off Road mode is reassuring when confronting inclement weather. The four modes including ECO, Comfort, Dynamic and Off Road subtly alter the throttle, steering and suspension. I normally only embrace Dynamic modes, but the Comfort was just right thank you. With those lovely 20” rims, I’d recommend adding the sublime Premium Air Suspension with separate air chambers to each wheel to smooth out the roads. It’s definitely worth the extra $1,200. You’ll notice the engine bay is far larger than the engine. As usual, Volvo used safety-first thinking to allow a good distance buffer between engine, bumper and cabin for reducing collision calamities. Genius. The normally annoying Auto Stop mode is one of the smoothest experienced and for the first time I forgot several times to turn it off when testing the vehicle. Bravo.
Everything about the interior is superb with the added cargo area of a wagon. Think of it as upscale IKEA—modern, clean and uncluttered. Creature comforts abound in the spacious cocoon and the already lovely scented cowhide leather appointments improve even further in the upgraded packages. Soft-touch materials, attractive trim and a perfectly formed steering wheel (heated!) will delight the inhabitants.
The Inscription package is noticeably more upscale with upgraded leather and unique wood trim than the base package, yet the base model hardly feels like bare bones settling. They’re plenty of welcome attributes on the base unit if pricing is an issue. Even better, Volvo refreshingly allows you a buffet of a la carte option selections rather than being saddled (forced) with bloated packages of add-ons you wouldn’t want if given the choice. I’d check the heated steering wheel, Head Up Display and 360-degree camera to squeeze into tight spaces. I wish more manufacturers would follow suit.
The 12.3” TFT Instrumentation is clear and attractive including speed limit notices. Several ambient lighting choices will accentuate your every mood. The wiper fluid is dispensed through the wipers themselves, thus no more annoying over spray when cleaning the windshield. The large vertical air vents are superb. They seriously warm or cool the cabin in record time and for my money are the best around. Volvo spent seven years redesigning the heated and vented seats with renowned chiropractors resulting in near perfection with zero pressure points to endure. You can seriously drive forever without feeling the need to stop. The headrests are excellent. In fact, the V90 automatically braces the passengers if the car goes airborne or detects an imminent crash from behind. Safety plus!
A large double-panoramic moon roof provides oodles of headroom and looms above abundant rear seating. The rear legroom is generous.
Wagons are all about cargo and the V90 does not disappoint. With the rear seats upright, there’s 19.8 cubic feet of storage and a terrific 53.9 cubic feet with those seats folded flat. Golf bags fit are swallowed with ease. A power trunk lid is standard.
The V90 uses the tablet-themed Sensus Technology for its infotainment system. The 12.3” vertical touchscreen is sublime and so intuitively easy to swipe and scroll. It does take a learning curve to use while driving since you take your eyes off the road–unless you Voice Command your selections. With the excellent Apple Car Play, most of you’re iPhone apps are displayed so there’s little to learn. I already miss it.
Given it’s a Volvo, there is a plethora (nearly an entire column itself) of worthy safety features. The Lane Departure firmly brings you back when weaving when ignoring the lane signal. For grins, I drove over three miles hands free on the Tollway with nary a concern but plenty of admiration. Adaptive Cruise Control expertly keeps you safely away from vehicles you’re following.
Plus, there’s the handy Volvo on Call app that remotely controls your car including remote start, locking doors, sending for roadside assistance, emergency SOS and heats/cools your cocoon before entering.
Audio availability is either a very capable base 10-speaker surround sound system or the optional blowtorch 1,440-watt 19-speaker Bowers & Wilkins for $3,200. I also appreciated the current songs displayed on the various satellite stations for quick perusing.
The 2018 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD wagon is an extraordinary ensemble embodying luxury, driving chops and cutting edge technology. Thus, it’s a classy option when one tires of the countless SUV choices to stand out from the crowded segment. It will make any consumer happy when desiring to arrive safely while coddled in luxurious appointments inside a striking figure. If unique is what you seek, you’d be wise to give it a go when looking at an upscale sports wagon.
Test-drive the 2018 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD at Crest Volvo in Plano and Park Place Volvo in Dallas.
Golf bags: More than two
Curb appeal: That’s a Volvo?
0-60: 5.8 sec
Mileage: 22/29. Observed 24.5 overall
Must-haves: Momentum Plus, Climate & Convenience packages
Warranty: 4yr/50K miles + complimentary maintenance 3yr/36K
Base price: $56,100
Price as tested: $60,975
Who buys it? Families desiring extra cargo space in a uniquely attractive shape
Finish line: A terrific looking vehicle that checks just about the entire wish list