The Volvo V90 Cross Country was one of the most surprising cars that we tested this year. It finished tied for sixth place with the impeccable BMW 530d.
What a machine this really is, especially when you compare it with its S90 sedan – which, in itself, is a supremely capable luxury sedan. From behind the wheel, and the way its electronics are integrated, the driving experience of the V90 feels one generation ahead of the S90 – and this is something that can be seen in its lap time, which is over a second faster than the S90 and just over a second slower than the performance-centric Octavia RS. Don’t forget, this is a 1,933kg wagon that offers a massive boot, as well as 210mm of ground clearance.
Its D5 diesel engine comes with what Volvo calls ‘Power Pulse’ technology. This system stores air in a high-pressure system and releases it into the turbocharger before it spools – in order to do away with turbo lag. And the system works very well actually. The car feels willing at initial speeds, and slot it into Dynamic mode and change gears manually via the paddle shifters and you can fully exploit the potential of its 2.0-litre turbo-diesel engine – which feels considerably more refined than the same motor in its lower D4 specification. Of course, you have to remember that Volvo sets up its cars so that comfort takes precedence. As a result, lighting sharp gear changes and instant throttle response isn’t the norm here – but the seamless nature and the sheer refinement of the powertrain is worthy of appreciation. You almost have to check the spec sheet to confirm that it’s a diesel.
The most surprising thing about the V90 is just how well suited to our conditions it really is. If you want the full luxury car experience, including a pure luxury sedan feel, with all the convenience and practically of an SUV, this is the car for you. You simply don’t have to worry about road or weather conditions in this machine. It’ll handle it all, and also pamper you in its leather-lined, fully-loaded cabin, which comes fitted with everything from heated seats and a steering wheel, to that fantastic 19-speaker Bowers and Wilkins sound system.