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2019 Volvo V90 Cross Country: New Car Review

The 2019 Volvo V90 Cross Country takes the good parts of an SUV and mixes them with the best aspects of a luxury wagon. The result is a slightly raised driving position, all-wheel drive as standard, lots of cargo space, a beautiful cabin, high levels of equipment and many safety features. All wrapped up in a package that’s pleasing to the eye.

The V90 Cross Country is a variant of the regular V90 luxury wagon (reviewed separately). Not many other vehicles with scuff plates at the back and cladding along the sides enjoy a center of gravity that’s more like a car’s than a truck’s. So the V90 Cross Country is able to tackle muddy trails and snowy conditions, while still retaining a fine control over the handling characteristics.

It’s an approach Volvo started with the XC70 at the turn of the millennium and has since been taken up by Audi with Allroad versions of its A4 and A6 wagons. Volvo does the same thing with its V60 wagon and S60 sedan. Overall, they might best be described as "luxurious yet practical conveyances equipped for mild off-roading duty."

The V90 siblings share the same platform as the S90 sedan and the XC90 SUV, both excellent vehicles. They all play their part in the resurgence of Volvo as a major player in the luxury game.

What’s New for 2019?

The entry level T5 model now comes with a 12.3-in digital driver information display as standard, along with heated washer nozzles, a rearview mirror-mounted compass and a garage door opener. The top trim gains a Harman Kardon sound system as standard. All models receive an updated infotainment system (for faster boot-up and response times), while the City Safety array includes a new Oncoming Mitigation by Braking feature. And the engine stop/start operation can now be turned off permanently (as opposed to having to do it every time the ignition is switched on). There’s also an Advanced options package that’s new for this year.

What We Like

Superb looks inside and out; high-quality cabin materials; safety features; usefulness; doesn’t plow the usual SUV furrow.

What We Don’t

Controlling the infotainment system involves more touchscreen action than button pressing, which might frustrate some people at first.

How Much?

$53,545 to $61,495

Fuel Economy

The V90 Cross Country starts out with the T5 powertrain that features a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. It links to an 8-speed automatic transmission and power goes to all four wheels. Incidentally, the regular V90 comes with a T5 that’s front-wheel-drive only. So if buyers want an AWD T5 combination, the Cross Country is the only choice.

The Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) estimates fuel consumption at 22 miles per gallon in the city, 31 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg in combined driving.

The T6 option features a 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine that is both supercharged and turbocharged to generate 316 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. This is also paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission and an all-wheel drive system. Fuel consumption is 20 mpg city/30 mpg hwy/24 mpg combined.

Standard Features & Options

The 2019 Volvo V90 Cross Country premium midsize wagon comes in T5 AWD, T6 AWD and T6 AWD Ocean Race trim levels:

The T5 AWD ($53,545) has 18-in alloy wheels, keyless entry/ignition, panoramic sunroof with powered sunshade, aluminum roof rails, selectable drive modes, all-LED exterior lighting, rain-sensing wipers, heated windshield washer nozzles, a rear skid plate, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, heated/10-way power-adjustable front seats with driver’s side memory settings, power-folding/self-dimming mirrors, compass, a 12.3-in digital driver information display, a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, a powered/hands-free lift gate, a cabin air quality system, a garage door opener, a 9-in color infotainment display, Wi-Fi, navigation, Apple CarPlay/Android Auto smartphone integration (including the Volvo On Call app with remote car control), Bluetooth, and a 330-watt/10-speaker audio system with two USB ports, auxiliary audio input and satellite/HD radio. Plus an array of advanced driver aids (see the Safety section below).

The T5 is eligible for the Advanced options bundle that includes high-pressure headlight cleaning, and active "bending" headlights, a self-parking feature, a 360-degree camera view and a head-up display.

The T6 AWD ($57,345) comes with the more powerful engine, along with quad-zone automatic climate control, blind spot monitoring, a heated steering wheel, 19-in alloy wheels, high-pressure headlight cleaning and active "bending" headlights. The T6 is eligible for a Luxury package that adds super-comfortable front seats covered in Nappa leather with ventilation, massage functions and cushion extensions, along with heated outer rear seats, rear sunshades, power-operated cargo cover and leather covering for the dashboard.

The T6 AWD Ocean Race ($61,495) has its own cosmetic additions (inspired by the company’s sponsorship of yachting events), plus a self-leveling rear air suspension, massaging front seats, Nappa leather upholstery, rear sunshades, a power-operated cargo cover, a chilled glove compartment, a Harman Kardon audio upgrade and 20-in alloy wheels.

Other options include integrated child booster cushions for the outer rear seats, second-row entertainment system and a Bowers & Wilkins 1,400-watt/19-speaker audio system.

Behind the second seating row is 33.9 cu ft. of cargo capacity, expanding to 53.9 cu ft. when those rear seats are folded down. Maximum towing capacity is 3,500 pounds.

Safety

Standard features include anti-lock disc brakes, traction/stability control, active front head restraints, hill descent control and a full complement of airbags.

The V90 Cross Country hasn’t been crash-tested by the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), nor by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). But safety shouldn’t be an issue. This is a product of Volvo, a company that has made a name for itself by emphasizing the welfare of its customers and their surroundings.

There are plenty of advanced driver aids, such as adaptive cruise control with detection of pedestrians, cyclists and large animals, plus forward and rear collision mitigation, blind spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, run-off road mitigation and protection, lane-departure warning, road sign recognition and a driver drowsiness alert.

Behind the Wheel

This is truly a gorgeous interior. The dark walnut wood trim pieces feel as if they were sanded down by obsessive-compulsive Shaolin monks. And no one would be surprised if Volvo said it used a unicorn’s mane for the brushed finish of the aluminum accents. Even the standard seats are some of the most comfortable to ever be installed in an automobile. That’s the way Volvo does things.

Rear legroom measures 35.9 inches, which is pretty generous, as the XC90 SUV offers 37 inches. This car also enjoys 8.3 inches of ground clearance, only an inch and a bit lower than the XC90 (the regular V90 has six inches). So with all-wheel drive, an off-road setting among the driving modes and a decent set of tires also in the equation, that rutted dirt track to the holiday cabin won’t be a problem.

Ride quality is decidedly on the comfortable side rather than anything sporty. The T5 engine has an adequate amount of muscle, but the T6 would be a better choice for a fully laden wagon.

Other Cars to Consider

2019 Audi A4 Allroad — The A4-based Allroad, another wagon with SUV leanings. Although it’s technically a compact, it’s spacious enough to encroach on midsize territory.

2019 Jaguar XF Sportbrake — Stylish, roomy, useful, luxurious and elegant. Comes with AWD as standard.

2019 Mercedes-Benz E 450 4Matic wagon — Not endowed with any kind of SUV-like tweaks apart from standard AWD, but luxurious, practical and spacious all the same. Has two extra seats in the cargo area.

Used Audi A6 Allroad — If there’s a club whose members all have wagons with SUV-like modifications, then there would be no shame in turning up with an A6 Allroad. Providing you can find one.

Autotrader’s Advice

We like the extra punch of the T6 drivetrain and the greater eligibility for options. Buyers who take their music seriously should check out the gloriously clear Bowers & Wilkins audio system.

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