Volvo’s V90 Cross Country is arguably the best car the company has ever produced
Volvo goes from strength-to-strength with the V90 Cross Country
As they retreat altogether from Europe, having ditched Vauxhall and Opel after wiping out Saab, General Motors of Detroit should take a long look at the new V90 AWD Cross Country. It shows, magnificently, what European manufacturers can do if they are given the right conditions, the right management and bags of money.
In the hands of the Chinese group Geely Automobile since 2009, Volvo are now turning out the most superb cars in their entire 90-year history and t he V90 Cross Country has a serious claim to be the best one yet.
The XC90 that appeared in 2015 was not only the first large luxury SUV I have ever wished that I could own myself: it was also voted Scottish Car of the Year – the first Volvo to earn that accolade for generations.
Last year, Volvo introduced the S90 saloon and V90 estate on the same Scaleable Product Architecture as the XC90 and proved that it was no one-trick pony. With sublime designs and interiors to make you happy every day, those two cars put their premium rivals in the shade. Now here comes the Cross Country version of the V90 which is the nearest thing to a complete all-rounder car that has ever existed.
Visually, it is distinguished from the standard V90 estate by charcoal-coloured detailing on the body, black ribs on the radiator grille, larger wing mirrors, skid plates underneath and ride height raised by 60mm. The Scandinavian minimalism of the XC90 and V90 interior is replicated in the Cross Country, as is a nine-inch touch screen along with cutting-edge technology such as semi-autonomous drive technology that takes care of steering, accelerator and Below: Chinese company Geely Automobile bought Volvo in 2009 and has breathed new life into the marque. brake on motorways, up to 80mph.
All those extras add about £10,000 to the basic price and took our test car over £45,500. For once, I did not need to suppress a boak over a car costing as much as a primary school head teacher’s annual salary – for a car so comprehensively desirable, this was reasonably priced.
Running through a reprogrammed eightspeed automatic gearbox, the high-output, high-efficiency 190bhp two litre diesel in the Cross Country is both smooth and punchy; and the 130mph top speed and 8.5 second acceleration from 0-60mph genuinely offer all the straight-ahead performance anybody could want in a family saloon, with admirable fuel consumption of 54mpg. Meanwhile that Scaleable Product Architecture has been tweaked with modified springs and dampers and electronic controls, together with special tyres to optimise handling on tarmac and off-road.
The recent launch included a course through woods complete with deep, muddy ruts and awkward, boggy corners which convincingly proved that you could take on forest tracks. The all-round cameras that let you see where the wheels are tracking through the woods and round corners are as good as Range Rover’s.
The V90 AWD Cross Country may sound like a car that can’t be bettered, however a T8 plug-in hybrid version is on the way and should be with us later this year. That will be the one for me.
Such perfection might never have been brought into being, however, if Volvo had fallen into the hands of General Motors.
‘ This is the nearest ‘ This was an thing to the unexpected complete experience in all-roundersame the way car that has you might be ever existed’ surprised to be served caviar in a transport café’