You might be wondering what kind of car is this? Too low for an SUV? Too cool for an estate? Well the Volvo V90 Cross Country aims to open up a new niche which till now has not been explored by others. This the latest car from Volvo- which as a company, off late, as you will agree has been bristling with activity. From announcing its assembling cars in India to the Polestar launch, Volvo has stepped up its game after its new found and deserving success. The V90 Cross Country is a bold move but one that can work, especially once you drive it and understand the concept behind it.
The V90 is basically the estate version of the S90 and Volvo wisely chose not to bring it. However the V90 has been the latest to add Cross Country to its model lineup- a nice addition to mark the 20-year anniversary of Cross Country and all-wheel drive. Cross Country is a distinction that comes with a promise that the V90 will perform like a premium car on the pavement but is prepped and ready to leave the beaten path. This makes sense for India and thus the V90 with SUV like styling will tempt SUV buyers into something more radical and actually a more appealing package.
To that end, the Cross Country has 8.3 inches of ground clearance (210mm) compared with 6.0 inches for a regular V90, putting it only 1.1 inches shy of the XC90 crossover without air suspension. While you will agree the V90 CC looks good, in the flesh, take it from me, it is gorgeous in a way SUVs or estates have no right to be. With the beautiful S90 as base the V90 CC with its rugged trappings gives it immense presence. First of all the near 5m length hits you-even more so with that low roofline and long rear.
The design has been beautifully integrated with the SUV like touches like roof rails, cladding, scuff plates while the massive 20 inch wheels further provide a stance which gives it enough presence to render any other SUV invisible. Yes the estate design is evident but the wow factor is pretty much there.
Inside the cabin is again a big highlight. Volvo stepped up its game with the XC90, S90 and now in this fully imported V90 CC, the cabin is just incredible. Quality and design takes your breath away-even more so than the S90 with its aluminium inserts. The large 9 inch touchscreen (Sensus in Volvo speak) grabs your attention and is the best touchscreen I have used though it is a finger print magnet but on the go, it is surprisingly easy to use. The seats are brilliant and are supremely comfortable. There is more space at the back than the S90 with more headroom too. It is a comfy car to be chauffeured. With only one fully loaded Inscription trim, you get, well everything.
You have a superb 19 speaker Bowers & Wilkins stereo, air suspension, heads-up display, 20-inch wheels, panoramic sunroof, four zone climate control, ventilated/ massage electric front seats, paddle shifters, 9 inch touchscreen, 360 degree camera, interior lighting, radar tech (only Volvo's have this in India) etc Seriously if we list every feature we will run out of space.
Onto the driving bit and here too you get one engine and one gearbox. It is the 2.0 diesel with 235 horses and 480Nm. The gearbox is an 8-speed automatic and AWD is standard along with air suspension. It is the more powerful D5 motor which S90 does not get and let me tel you that the V90 Cross Country is quite quick indeed. Volvo has added a new tech which nearly eliminates turbo-lag and it works with a smooth power delivery.
It is only when driven hard that you notice a tiny bit of lag, mind you its minute and overall performance is more than satisfactory. In-fact I think the V90 CC is the best Volvo to drive being more enthusiastic than the XC90 plus having more power than the S90 gives it plenty of thrust. The gearbox works like a charm and works great enabling the V90 CC to be a smooth cruiser and the car swallowed up massive distances with ease. Another big change is the presence of paddle shifts which help when you drive it aggressively as in regular auto, the gearbox is a bit hesitant to downshift fast.
There are four modes on offer with Eco, Comfort, Off-road and Dynamic. Avoid Eco as it bogs down the engine while Comfort is the best while Dynamic firms up the car which is useful when pushing the car hard. On the endless twisty roads, grip levels were really good considering its size. The engine offers up the necessary punch while the body control is sharp for something so big. The steering too becomes heavy in Dynamic and this is easily the most fun Volvo yet.
What you will also like is the ride quality which is superb. It soaks up all the bad roads but crucially it does not feel floaty like the XC90 instead has a firm but compliant suspension. It is only the really sharp potholes that filter through and while it is not as soft as the S90/XC90, the combination of ride and handling is spot on for us. Also do not let the low-slung stance fool you as with off-road mode it stands with 210mm ground clearance and off-road wise it is better than some other SUVs!
To be honest, the V90 CC has bowled me over with its talents. To me it is the most desirable Volvo as unlike say, the S90, the V90 is also fun to drive while packing in more features, jaw-dropping looks and added practicality. Yup, it is more desirable than an SUV and as a complete package it is hard to fault it. Priced at rs 60 lakh, the V90 CC should be on your radar if you are planning to buy a luxury SUV!