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Volvo V90 Cross Country

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The Volvo V90 Cross Country with its impressive lines and off-road ability is an appealing offering from the Scandinavian car maker.

The Volvo V90 Cross Country is a more off-road and capable version of the standard V90. Now, you might think Volvo is new to this market but you would be wrong. It was actually Volvo who first pushed the proposition of a capable estate way back in 1997 with the V70 XC. Some of the same things you see on this V90 Cross Country were on the original V70 XC such as raised ride height, 4×4 capabilities and protective body cladding and therefore it was a viable option to purchasing a jeep. Other manufacturers eventually followed suit but Volvo spotted the niche first. Roll the clock forward 20 years and what you see here is the latest offering but with many years’ experience building this type of vehicle and I think the V90 Cross Country reflects this. Volvo understand their customers and this along with a track record in this segment is a great combination.

For our photoshoot we went off the beaten track taking in hills, old rugged lanes and rough road conditions. This is exactly the where the V90 Cross Country excels. The Cross Country has a raised ride height of 65mm compared to the standard V90 along with front skid plate and Charcoal wheel arch extensions. All models come equipped with intelligent four wheel drive and this gives tremendous grip on varying road conditions. Just like the standard V90 range, you have two engine choices. The 2-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel D4 possessing 190bhp, or the same 2-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel D5 coming with 235bhp and new patented Volvo technology called ‘PowerPulse’. This is to reduce turbo lag and make power delivery smoother.

Our test model was the D5 option. The D5 engine features two sequential Borg-Warner turbos – a 38mm turbo feeding a 53mm one – to help reduce lag this is further aided by a pulse of compressed air injected into the exhaust manifold, spinning the smaller turbo from idling at 20,000rpm to a fully operational 150,000rpm in 0.3sec Powertrain Program Manager Fredrik Ulmhage has said the PowerPulse system was conceived entirely in-house. “No one else has it,” he asserted. “We have a 4-cylinder diesel strategy (as we have for our gasoline engines) and decided we needed to deal with any turbo lag, getting the turbo running before exhaust pressure built.

“So basically, we push compressed air into the exhaust manifold as the driver pushes the accelerator pedal and within milliseconds the turbo spools up,” Ulmhage explained. An electrically-driven compressor and a pressurised air tank are added to the powertrain in the space that houses the hybrid elements in other engine variants. Fresh air from the air filter is stored in the 2.0-litre tank at 12 bar and is constantly re-charged to ensure there’s a supply of pressurised air while driving or after being parked for any length of time.

On the road PowerPulse literally blows into action, helping the V90 accelerate from standing start to 100 km/h (62 mph) in 7.2 seconds and you can take country roads with confidence knowing you have grip and acceleration when needed. The ride is comfortable with good suspension and light steering and potholes and bumps can be felt but the car seems to glide over them so nothing is too dramatic. The front and rear tracks are wider to increase stability but overall it feels much like a standard V90 but with a lot more capability. The driving position is high and gives a commanding position when driving and excellent visibility.
If you picked up our last issue you will have seen our review of the Volvo S90 and will know the interior is incredibly well finished. With the Volvo V90 Cross Country it’s business as usual from the intuitive large 8 inch portrait touchscreen to the amazing overall build quality consisting of leather seats, black walnut trim, spacious interior and an upmarket feel. With reversing sensors and cameras, sat-nav system, LED headlights, an electric tailgate and semi-autonomous pilot assist you have all the modern technology you could need. Both front and rear passengers have plenty of space with an abundance of head and elbow room. Rear seats can fold with the touch of a button making life that little bit easier along with a boot floor that can rise on a gas strut if needed. The V90 has 560-litres of boot space and this matches that of a BMW 5 Series Touring, However, it is short of the Mercedes E-Class Estate and Audi A6 Avant.

Safety features include collision mitigation, pedestrian and cyclist detection, lane departure warning, seven airbags, traction control, and four-wheel disc ABS brakes. A sophisticated network of sensors that can detect when you’re about to crash and apply the brakes or when you’re about to run off the road and steer you back on to it, as well as a host of other equipment you’d usually have to pay extra for. Available features include heated and ventilated front seats, premium Bowers and Wilkins audio, rear air suspension, surround view camera, and head-up display.


Conclusion
The Volvo V90 Cross Country is an appealing cross-over estate. Many will still opt for the XC90 but the V90 Cross Country has enough to offer in terms of great engine options in the D4 and D5, off-road capability along with an upmarket and spacious interior. The Swedish car maker has made a viable alternative between family car and rugged 4 x 4. While it carries a price premium over a standard V90 if you live in a rural location the V90 Cross Country is a purchase you won’t regret.

Technical Specification
Model: Volvo V90 Cross Country D5
Engine Size: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel
Fuel Type: Diesel
Transmission: Eight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Power: 235hp
Torque: 480Nm
Acceleration: (0-100km/h) 7.2 seconds
Top Speed: 225 km/h
Consumption: 5.3L/100km or 53.9 mpg
CO2 Emissions: 139g/km
Road Tax: €270 per year (B2)
Base Price: €54,650
Our Test Model: €65,891