Five First Impressions: Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD

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.

“I don’t give a damn if they call it the Monroe doctrine. What the hell are we doing serving Vermont maple syrup?” #volvo #v90crosscountry #westwing #presidentbartlet #maple

A post shared by Zac Estrada (@zacestrada) on Jul 2, 2017 at 6:44pm PDT

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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  • Dariush

    saw it on the road. Its stunning.

  • PlonPlon

    Would look nice in purple too.

  • Rocket

    Trying to convince myself it’s the ideal car for me, I’ve had two test drives in an Inscription priced around $68k. I love the styling inside and out, but I just can’t get past the unrefined powertrain for a vehicle wearing such a lofty price tag. I found the Sensus system to be frustrating, too. It seems to be an improvement over the one I sampled in the XC90, but it still requires too much attention and effort for some basic functions. It might be one of the better touchpad interfaces, but it’s still not as good as the worst button-riddled center stack. Bring back the redundant physical controls, Volvo.

    • Agreed. After a few experiences with the touchscreen I still long for physical climate control switches. System is better, but wakes up even more slowly than I do in the morning.

  • Eunos

    I really like it but I’m not sure that I’ll choose it over the E-class wagon.

  • Althea Later

    Sure it’s nice looking, but not a fan of the tapered rear window on a wagon… sort of defeats the point of buying a wagon to fit big things in, doesn’t it??? That extreme taper can mean the difference in fitting something or not. I’m more interested in the utility of a wagon than how trendy the styling is.
    I had a 2000 V70. That boxy wagon was so easy to load things into!!!

  • MarketAndChurch

    I think all the bumpers are painted, including the grey ones. It’s a new Volvo trend, and it makes every trim look very premium.

  • countrym4n

    But did you buy Maple Syrup in the Maple V90XC