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Volvo V90 Cross Country review

Date: 27 March 2017   |   Author: Debbie Wood

Standard equipment: Adaptive cruise control, two-zone climate control, run-off road protection, LED headlights with Active High Beam, parking sensors, leather seats (heated front), sat-nav, 10 speakers
Engines: Diesel: 190hp 2.0, 235hp 2.0
Trims: Standard trim
Transmissions: Eight-speed automatic

The V90 Cross Country wraps up the latest 90 series from Volvo and is now in its fourth generation.

Based on the V90 estate, the Cross Country is a sort of halfway house between SUV and estate and gets its ride height raised by 65mm, a unique grille design, four-wheel drive, large exterior mirrors and bespoke seats.

It's difficult for an estate car to look appealing on the eye but the V90 Cross Country manages to get the balance between desirability and practicality just right. Its sleek design and luxurious interior are just some of the car's accolades, alongside plenty of interior space and a decent-sized boot.

On- and off-road

All Cross Country models come with the firm's all-wheel drive system and special tyres as standard. The latter have been specifically designed to absorb rough surfaces. Off the beaten track the car is deeply impressive. We tested the V90 on a couple of very challenging terrains and the car tackled steep inclines, rocky surfaces and thick mud with admiration. It's far more capable than its looks and is surprisingly agile too. 

Available with either a 190hp or 235hp diesel engine under the bonnet, here we're testing the former as it's likely to be the most popular option in the range. It's a refined and powerful unit with 400Nm of pulling power that enables the car to reach 62mph from standstill in just 8.8 seconds.

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The weight of the four-wheel drive system does have a knock-on effect on running costs, though, adding 19g/km of CO2 over the standard car and reducing fuel consumption by around 8mpg.

Still, CO2 emissions of 138g/km are very good against the comparable Mercedes and Audi models, albeit both are more powerful than this version of the Volvo. 

On tarmac the ride is on the firm side and the engine can be a little noisy when gathering speeds. The eight-speed automatic gearbox is not quite as polished as German rivals either. However, on the whole the V90 Cross Country is refined and easy to drive and surefooted in the corners, with well-judged and precise steering.

Revolutionising safety

As well as the exterior enhancements, there's a whole host of kit as standard including two-zone climate control, LED headlights with Active High Beam, adaptive cruise control, parking sensors, leather upholstery, front heated seats, a nine-inch touchscreen system with sat-nav, and a 10-speaker sound system. 

And that's not all. Volvo has always been at the forefront when it comes to new safety innovations and the V90 is no exception.

One of the headline systems available is Pilot Assist, a semi-autonomous system that's designed to be used on motorways. Combining adaptive cruise control, lane-keep assist and departure warning, the system will self-drive the car on the motorway, keeping a required distance to the car in front.

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Drivers need to keep their hands on the wheel and currently it cannot work on B roads, but it will operate up to speeds of 80mph and it worked very well on test - it'll certainly be useful for those long motorway slogs.

Volvo OnCall is another popular system, which allows drivers to precondition the car, set sat-nav destinations via an app, and record trip information that can be exported, making life easier when expensing business mileage.

Whole-life costs

Sophisticated in looks and sophisticated by nature, interior quality in the V90 is befitting of its premium price tag and because of its estate proportions, the car is hugely practical too with a 560-litre boot, loads of interior space and an array of storage options littered around the cabin.

Compare the V90 Cross Country against rivals from Mercedes and Audi and the Volvo stands up very well indeed. Residual values of 41.2% are particularly impressive and a pence-per-mile figure of 78.4p beats the competition too.

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It's possibly the most sensible and reserved of all premium off-road estates, but that's no bad thing by any stretch. The V90 Cross Country is an elegant and stylish choice that makes a great deal of sense on paper and out on the road, particularly when venturing off the beaten track.

It does come at a £4,700 premium over the standard V90 estate, though, so you'll really need the off-road capability for it to make financial sense.

P11D Price: £39,600
On sale: February 2017
Residual value: 41.2%
Fuel: £6,145
Service, maintenance & repair: £2,946
Cost per mile: 78.4p
Fuel consumption: 54.3mpg
CO2 (BIK Band): 138g/km (27%)
BIK 20/40% per month: £178/£356
Boot space: 560 litres
Engine size/power: 1969cc/190hp


  • Sophisticated looks
  • Generously equipped
  • impressive safety tech
  • Excellent off-road
  • Auto gearbox a little jerky
  • Expensive over standard car
  • Firm ride