Volvo’s V90 Cross Coun­try is very easy to like, es­pe­cially if you want to glide along in a lux­u­ri­ous, well-fin­ished bub­ble

Model tested D4 AWD Cross Coun­try Auto Price £42,520 Kerb­weight 1860kg

Practical Caravan - - Contents -

What’s new?

The Volvo V90 Cross Coun­try is a more rugged V90 es­tate car, with a raised ride height to make it more able off road. It com­petes with the Audi A6 All­road and Mercedes-benz E-class All Ter­rain. All three are prac­ti­cal four-wheel-drive es­tate cars – an al­ter­na­tive to an SUV for driv­ers who don’t plan to ven­ture too far off Tar­mac. But the V90 Cross Coun­try is more af­ford­able than ei­ther the Audi or the Mercedes-benz. We’re test­ing the en­try-level model, the D4 AWD Cross Coun­try Auto, priced at £42,520.

What are we look­ing for?

One ad­van­tage of this type of car is their lower cen­tre of grav­ity, which can make them more sta­ble at high speeds than some SUVS. But does that gen­eral rule ap­ply here? Tow­ing abil­ity The Volvo V90 Cross Coun­try is the first car to go through our re­vised tow test method. We’re spend­ing more time on the road than the test track, cov­er­ing a higher mileage than be­fore. With­out ac­cel­er­a­tion and brak­ing fig­ures to re­port, there’s more space to dis­cuss things like the ease of hitch­ing up and how well a car copes with re­vers­ing onto a pitch. Volvo quotes a kerb­weight and a run­ning or­der weight for its cars. We’ve checked with them and it’s the run­ning or­der that in­cludes flu­ids and 75kg for the driver, so that’s the weight we’ve used for match­ing. In this case it’s 1860kg, which gives an 85% match fig­ure of 1581kg. That’s enough for a good match for a va­ri­ety of vans, but it’s worth not­ing the Mercedesbenz E-class All Ter­rain is a lot heav­ier, with a kerb­weight of 2010kg, so will make a sound match for weight­ier tour­ers. more travel than the stan­dard car’s, and doesn’t feel as tightly con­trolled. In cross­winds, we could feel the car­a­van gen­tly tug­ging at the back of the car, but this never got out of hand. We felt con­fi­dent driv­ing at mo­tor­way speeds, but a Jaguar XF Sport­brake or BMW 5 Se­ries Tour­ing would keep the car­a­van on a shorter leash when winds start to pick up. Hill starts were easy, de­spite the con­sid­er­able weight of the Ex­pres­sion. On a 1-in-10 slope, the elec­tronic park­ing brake held firm and re­leased smoothly, and the car pulled away with no sign of strain. This was on dry roads dur­ing the heat­wave, but the Volvo’s four-wheel drive would clearly have helped in the wet. Hitch­ing up was easy. The re­tractable tow­ball has the electrics on the side, clear of the bumper. Re­vers­ing onto a pitch was sim­ple, too, with smooth low-speed re­sponses We matched the V90 Cross Coun­try to a Swift Ex­pres­sion 635 with a MIRO of 1485kg. Our ve­hi­cle has the D4 en­gine rather than the more pow­er­ful D5, but with 295lb ft of torque, we found it per­formed well, even with a twin-axle tourer. Some of the roads on our test route in­clude gra­di­ents as steep as 1-in-6, so we were im­pressed by the ease with which the car per­formed on these hills. The eight-speed auto helps, chang­ing gear smoothly and promptly. How­ever, we did find the ’box some­times dithered at junc­tions – it was more de­ci­sive with ‘Dy­namic’ mode se­lected. Switch­ing modes ad­justed the throt­tle re­sponse and the weight of the steer­ing, too. For most sit­u­a­tions, we stayed in ‘Com­fort’, but ‘Dy­namic’ was worth switch­ing to on hilly roads or at a busy junc­tion. Once up to speed, the Volvo towed well. How­ever, the sus­pen­sion is softer and has

We matched the V90 Cross Coun­try to a Swift Ex­pres­sion 635 with a MIRO of 1485kg

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