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2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country: New Car Review

If you’re looking for information on a newer Volvo V90 Cross Country, we’ve published an updated review: 2019 Volvo V90 Cross Country Review

The Volvo Cross Country helped usher in the idea of a crossover in the first place, as it added ground clearance and body cladding to the 850 wagon to create a rugged, utilitarian vehicle that maintained a comfortable, car-like demeanor. Fast-forward two decades, and the 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country follows the same playbook, albeit with the more refined and luxurious new V90 wagon serving as its starting point. The result is a car that is stylish yet utilitarian, comfortable yet capable and an altogether desirable alternative to the modern luxury crossover.

If anything, our main issue with the V90 Cross Country is that you can only get it with Volvo’s T6 engine and in only one trim level. A lower-priced version with the company’s perfectly capable (though less powerful) T5 engine would be just fine (it works well in the mechanically related S90 sedan). As it is, though, we are particularly fond of the Cross Country’s buttery smooth ride, the stylishly modern cabin and the full array of advanced safety features that come standard. It’s also considerably more efficient than the comparable Volvo XC90 SUV and its many rivals.

As to rivals for the Cross Country itself, well, the crossover wagon segment is starting to grow — look for variations of the Mercedes E-Class and Buick Regal soon — but it’s still best to look at it as an SUV alternative. And what a desirable alternative it is.

 What’s New for 2017?

The Volvo V90 Cross Country is an all-new model for 2017. It is the raised "crossover" version of the also-new Volvo V90. See the 2017 Volvo V90 models for sale near you

 What We Like

Exceptional safety credentials; superbly comfy ride with 19-inch wheels; handsomely modern cabin; abundant cargo space

 What We Don’t

Only one engine and trim level available; easily stained Nappa leather upgrade; handling a bit wallowy

 How Much?

$55,300

 Fuel Economy

You can only get the V90 Cross Country with a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that’s turbocharged and supercharged to produce an ample 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. All-wheel drive and an 8-speed automatic are standard. Fuel economy estimates are 22 miles per gallon in the city, 30 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg in combined driving.

 Standard Features & Options

Unlike other Volvo models, the 2017 V90 Cross Country is only available in a single trim and engine choice called the T6 AWD ($55,300). It comes standard with 19-in wheels, a power liftgate, adaptive LED headlights with automatic high beams and LED accent lighting, foglights, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning systems, forward-collision warning and automatic braking, lane-departure warning, rear-collision warning, adaptive cruise control, rear-parking sensors, a backup camera and power-folding mirrors.

Inside, it comes standard with heated 8-way power front seats with driver memory functions and 4-way lumbar, power-folding rear head restraints, leather upholstery, dual-zone automatic climate control, a sunroof, an all-digital instrument display, Volvo’s Sensus touchscreen, a navigation system, Volvo OnCall emergency communications, Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, satellite radio, a USB port and a 10-speaker sound system.

The Convenience package adds an automatic parking system, heated windshield washers, a surround-view parking camera, a grocery bag holder in the cargo area and upgraded interior illumination. The Luxury package adds four-zone automatic climate control, additional front seat adjustments (side bolsters, under-thigh support, massage), upgrade Nappa leather, heated rear seats, rear-side sunshades and a power-operated cargo cover.

Stand-alone options include 20- and 21-in wheels, an automatic load-leveling rear air suspension, integrated child booster seats, head-up display and a 19-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system.

 Safety

Few cars come with as much standard safety equipment as the 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country. Every car comes with stability control, antilock brakes, front-side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, whiplash-reducing front seats, forward-collision warning with automatic braking and pedestrian detection, lane-departure warning, blind-spot and rear cross-traffic warning and a rear-collision warning system. Volvo OnCall emergency communications is also standard. The only option is integrated child booster seats.

 Behind the Wheel

A truly comfortable ride is too often hard to find these days in luxury cars, but one can certainly be found in the V90 Cross Country. On its standard 19-in wheels and bolstered by the optional rear-air suspension (no loaded wagon butt droop here), the ride is pillowy-soft yet controlled. True, the resulting handling is never what you’d describe as eager or engaging, but in a car like this, that’s perfectly acceptable. Having well-weighted steering with sufficient feedback is good enough in our books.

As this is the Cross Country version of the V90, you get 8.3 inches of ground clearance. That exceeds most compact luxury SUVs, falls just short of a Subaru Outback and significantly betters the new Audi A4 allroad. A rock crawler it certainly isn’t, but if you’re looking to clear an unplowed snowy road or a grassy trail, it’ll get the job done better than most.

At the same time, despite that extra height, the Cross Country is still lower than SUVs, meaning it’s easier to load things onto roof-mounted racks. And for those things you store inside, you’ll find a deep and wide cargo area that betters compact SUVs like Volvo’s own XC60. You’ll also find a bigger back seat, with more than enough space for tall adults and rear-facing child seats. For front-facing children, the integrated child booster seats are a good option to consider.

Up front, the base seats are superbly comfortable and are bettered by those in the Luxury package that get extra adjustments and massage capability. Unfortunately, they also come with fancier Nappa leather — though initially richer in look and feel, in a short time they become slick and lighter colors absorb denim dye. There are no complaints about the oh-so-cool design and luxurious build quality, and although the large, standard touchscreen can overwhelm at first, it’s perfectly usable and works well with Apple CarPlay.

 Other Cars to Consider

2017 Mercedes-Benz E400 Wagon: This is the only other midsize luxury wagon on the market, plus it will soon be joined by an All Terrain model similar to the Cross Country. The E400 offers an elegant cabin, advanced technology and loads of space.

2017 Audi A4 Allroad: The Allroad is considerably smaller than the Cross Country, but it follows the same raised wagon concept. Expect it to be a little sharper to drive and its well-made modern cabin showcases smart tech features.

2018 Volvo XC60: If you like the V90 Cross Country’s looks and feature content, the XC60 pretty much matches it in those regards while trading some comfort and utility for a lower price and sharper driving dynamics.

 Autotrader’s Advice

Stick with the base 19-in wheels — anything bigger will likely ruin that buttery smooth ride. And stick with the base leather — the Luxury package’s Nappa leather is prone to staining. Otherwise, opting for the air suspension is smart, and parents should consider the integrated child booster seats.

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