Selwyn and Ashburton Outlook - - MOTORING -

ver­sion of the V70 wagon called XC. Yes, that’s con­fus­ing be­cause Volvo SUVs now get the ‘‘XC’’ badge, while the crossovers have the ‘‘CC’’ des­ig­na­tion.

Styling is sub­jec­tive thing, but we reckon the V90 CC looks im­pos­si­bly cool; some­thing about the com­bi­na­tion of that ex­tra ground clear­ance with the long, low es­tate-car body shape.

And while big Volvos are unashamedly built for com­fort over speed, a 235mm re­duc­tion in height sub­stan­tially low­ers the cen­tre of grav­ity and im­proves cor­ner­ing ca­pa­bil­ity.

The V90 CC comes only in D5 diesel form for NZ. If you want the T6 turbo-petrol in a sim­i­lar model you’ll have to opt for the S90 sedan. But that’s a story for an­other time.

It’s a grunty pow­er­train, de­liv­er­ing in low-speed urge what it lacks in re­fine­ment. The eight­speed Geartronic trans­mis­sion is slicker with the D5 than it is in other T6-pow­ered Volvo mod­els, where higher revs re­sult in the odd clunk be­tween ra­tios. With the diesel, it’s nice and easy all the way.

Our test car came with the Polestar Op­ti­mi­sa­tion kit for

$1600 – es­sen­tially a soft­ware up­grade from the Swedish maker’s high-per­for­mance divi­sion that gives the D5 a tad more power and torque (the lat­ter also reaches peak at 1500rpm in­stead of 1750rpm), but more im­por­tantly im­proved re­spon­sive­ness in the mid-range and more en­thu­si­as­tic throt­tle/ gear­box cal­i­bra­tion.

It’s not nec­es­sar­ily a musthave be­cause the V90 CC is no road-rocket, but it does give the car a bit more mus­cle in the midrange place where you drive it most. There’s also more op­por­tu­nity to en­joy the car’s se­lectable Sport mode (there’s an Off-Road set­ting too). Per­haps more im­por­tantly, you get a spe­cial bright-blue Polestar badge on the back that will sur­prise and de­light Volvo-nerds.

It’s a glo­ri­ous way to travel in any mode: all the Volvo givens like great seats, er­gonomic good sense and a com­pelling suite of ac­tive safety gear that’s too com­pre­hen­sive to list, but in­cludes the likes of au­tonomous brak­ing that can recog­nise other cars, pedes­tri­ans, cy­clists and even large an­i­mals. Volvo’s Pi­lot As­sist au­to­mated tech­nol­ogy is worth a men­tion, be­cause it’s right up there with MercedesBenz in terms of adap­tive-cruise ca­pa­bil­ity and sec­ond only to Tesla in terms of the amount of steer­ing cor­rec­tion it will un­der­take without driver in­ter­ven­tion.

Volvo V90 CC has all the de­sign cues and tech of the XC90 SUV, but it’s 235mm lower. And way cooler?

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