Five First Impressions: Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD

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It's a wagon, it's brown and I'm keeping calm.

But then I remember this 2017 V90 Cross Country is also a Volvo and I'm just making fruitless attempts to not fall in love at first sight.

Why? Because the latest Volvos have been knocking it out of the park with their ability to appeal to your heart, from a company that has traditionally attracted your head. If the recent XC90 and S90 models have been anything to go by, this wagon in jacked-up form should be another Volvo that continues the company's hot critical streak.

I've been driving a Volvo V90 Cross Country this week. Here are some initial thoughts.

Hot lumberjack

Auto reviewers have been gushing over the V90, and that was even before they found out it would be available in a shade as striking as this Maple Brown. And often, the raised and puffed-up "off-road" wagons like this Cross Country version don't to the original shape justice. Here, however, the higher ride height and beefier appearance suits the V90's sweeping lines.

In fact, I'd like to skip the body color-painted bumpers and arches that come in the $4,500 Luxury Package and keep the gray ones that come standard. The rugged look really works on this long, gorgeous wagon. It's a moving flannel shirt, but like a really nicely cut one.



Curves and lines

Alright, this isn't quite the tall and upright Volvo wagon we've respected (and some have loved) for decades. A quest for style and aerodynamics has finally smoothed the boxiness out and the V90 Cross Country has a noticeably tapered rear end that makes it visually less commodious than a Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon, for example.

Still, the breathtakingly gorgeous interior shared with the Volvo S90 is plenty spacious, front, rear and cargo area. The rear seats fold truly flat, essential for the spontaneous IKEA run I've already made this week. And the front seats are, predictably, breathtakingly comfortable.

Super' sounds

The 316-horsepower, 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged four is back, as it has shown up in pretty much every recent Volvo. It's the only engine in the V90 Cross Country right now, although the turbo-only T5 version is expected for 2018. It moves this Volvo around better than in the heavier, three-row XC90, but for some reason, the noises from all of the ways it's trying to motivate those 316 horses sounds more... eccentric. I like it, but I don't know if everyone will in a $70,000 luxury car.

On point off-road

It's California in the summer and most of my time with the V90 Cross Country has been spent in the city and on a long highway ride, which has revealed that even on 20-inch wheels, it's an incredibly soft and comfortable machine.

But on some dirt and gravel driveways and paths I found in suburban Santa Barbara, the V90 Cross Country was effortlessly (and surprisingly) capable. It was more confidence inspiring on iffy surfaces than the Audi A4 Allroad, likely thanks to an all-wheel drive system that has no intention of doing anything to save fuel (expect low 20s in town, maybe). I'm fairly sure this Volvo would be unstoppable in the next Storm of the Century.

Circle the wagons

The XC90's been out for two years now and it's become commonplace in upscale enclaves around the world. The V90 Cross Country, however, turns heads. Those who haven't been following Volvo's upswell are still surprised the company that used to make square cars with round wheels is turning out cars as striking as this. For a practical way to attract a crowd, you buy the wagon.

But what would you like to know about the Volvo V90 Cross Country? Sound off in the comments.

Photos: Keith Moore/Carscoops

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