Two decades after Volvo introduced its ubiquitous station wagon to suburban driveways across the country, the Swedish automaker has launched a version that manages to be both more rugged and more upscale. Perhaps not unsurprisingly, it is meant for Volvo’s most affluent customers: typically managers and executives between 35 and 60 years old with a penchant for outdoor hobbies.
The arrival of the all-new Volvo V90 Cross Country is doubly significant for Volvo: it completes the first phase of the company’s revival and captures its biggest spenders. The Cross Country starts at $55,300, but extras such as a $1,200 air suspension and $3,715 set of 21-inch wheels, will drive the bill much higher.
The new Cross Country completes the first phase of Volvo’s transformation into a modern luxury car company. In addition to the Cross Country wagon, the company’s revamped 90 series includes the XC90 SUV, S90 sedan, and V90 wagon. The Cross Country is the most rugged and versatile of the group. With 8.3 inches of ground clearance and 19.8 cubic feet of cargo space, the hardy wagon is closer in dimension to the XC90 than the V90.
But it still has carlike driving dynamics, a lower roofline that makes it easier to load bikes and skis, and true off-road chops, as we discovered during a jaunt through Arizona’s post-flood back roads. Its mud-splattered body struck a contrast to its interior, which Volvo markets as a “Scandinavian Sanctuary.” Dark walnut wood inlays, a heated steering wheel and heated seats, a panoramic moonroof, and Volvo’s Sensus infotainment system with a nine-inch touch screen come standard. Nappa leather-upholstered seats and a 19-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system are available.
The model we drove was equipped with both the $4,500 Luxury package, which includes heated rear seats; massaging, Nappa leather-clad front seats; and a climate-controlled glovebox; and the $1,950 Convenience package that adds a 360-degree camera – useful for towing up to 3,500 pounds with the Cross Country’s retractable hitch – and Park Assist Pilot, which helps you pull into a space smoothly. Pilot Assist, Volvo’s semi-autonomous driving feature that we used on the monotonous stretch of highway on the return to Scottsdale, comes standard.
For now, the V90 Cross Country comes in one trim: the T6 all-wheel drive, powered by a 316-horsepower, turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. The wagon comes with five drive modes – comfort, eco, dynamic, off-road, and individual – and hill descent control, which helps reduce downhill speed and serves as a useful feature if you don’t know what’s on the other side. Volvo said it is considering adding a T5 front-wheel drive and T8 hybrid version of the wagon, already offered on the XC 90 SUV.