By on June 11, 2019

2019 Volvo V90 CC front quarter

2019 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD

2.0-liter supercharged and turbocharged inline four, DOHC (316 hp @ 5,700 rpm, 295 lb-ft @ 2,200 rpm)

Eight-speed automatic transmission, all-wheel drive

20 city / 30 highway / 24 combined (EPA Rating, MPG)

11.6 city / 8.1 highway / 10.0 combined (NRCan Rating, L/100km)

25.2 (observed mileage, MPG)

Base Price: $57,345 US / $64,647 CAD

As Tested: $62,190 US/ $71,797 CAD

Prices include $995 destination charge in the United States and $2147 for freight, PDI, and A/C tax in Canada and, because of cross-border equipment differences, can’t be directly compared.  

      

Ever since Volvo showed the V90 wagon in Detroit in 2017 – in journo-bait brown, no less! – I’ve been keeping an eye out for this stunningly styled family hauler. I never see them, especially not in that lovely Maple Brown hue. Are wagons dead?

I rather hope not.

So, while the V90 is still nominally available, the very similar Volvo V90 Cross Country is a more frequent sight on our roads. With a few tweaks to appeal to those who want to cosplay as an uncouth mountain dweller, the low-slung wagon is transformed into something resembling a crossover.

2019 Volvo V90 CC profile

I like a lower ride height than a typical crossover gives. So, while Volvo indeed calls this V90 Cross Country a crossover, I choose to believe it’s a proper wagon. I don’t see the black cladding lining the lower edges, protecting the paintwork from the rugged terrain at the playground. I don’t notice the Pirelli Scorpion Verde tires that sound vaguely off-roady. The slightly raised ride height is not worth mentioning. I ignore the “Cross Country” boldly embossed on the rear bumper.

2019 Volvo V90 CC rear

This is a wagon, dammit. I had a brief dalliance with a thoroughly knackered $300 Volvo wagon half a dozen years ago and have mostly fond memories of it – especially how marvelously it drove. Like that old 740 that my wife unceremoniously exploded, this V90 CC is most decidedly not a sports car – it simply does exactly what the driver wants with absolutely no drama.

2019 Volvo V90 CC front

A big advantage that wagons hold over similarly sized crossovers is fuel economy. The EPA rates this V90 CC (with the T6 twin-charged, 316 hp four) at 24 mpg combined, and up to 30 mpg on the highway. Volvo’s own SUVs using the same powertrain, both the XC60 T6 and XC90 T6, are rated at 22 mpg combined. It isn’t a significant difference, and the SUVs perform admirably for their class, but every little bit adds up. My usual driving, skewed much more to city and slow-speed backroad driving than most, yielded 25.2 mpg.

2019 Volvo V90 CC cargo area

The ride is controlled, yet perfectly plush. Expansion joints and potholes are dispatched with the slightest of bumps. The steering is direct but gives very little feedback as to what the front wheels are up to. Still, the reason for this wagon’s existence is as an alternative to high-riding crossovers – not as a sports sedan alternative. I’m okay with the trade-off.

Plus, in this Volvo wagon, you won’t mistake it for anything else in the parking lot. Beyond looking lower and sleeker than the competition, it just looks good. The lines are simple and clean, and as ever the Thor’s Hammer LED running lights are a fun detail.

2019 Volvo V90 CC dashboard

Interestingly, that dark plastic cladding seen here that signals to the world that you bought a crossover? It can be deleted by choosing the lovely Crystal White Pearl metallic paint. The paint is a $900 option, and the color-matching cladding is another grand on top of that.

2019 Volvo V90 CC interior

The interior is beautifully laid out, with a massive center touchscreen dominating the dash. I don’t love how the screen attracts fingerprints, which are only highlighted by some seriously awful photography by yours truly. I’ll blame it on inexperience in shooting in bright sunlight – I live in Ohio, after all, where the sun is a rare visitor. Still, other than some slight recalcitrance from the screen upon start-up that disappears within a minute or so, it works quite well.

2019 Volvo V90 CC center stack

Since nearly every other car on the market uses some sort of push button to start and stop the car, I’m occasionally flummoxed by the use of a twist knob on the console in this Volvo. It’s merely a muscle memory thing, I’m certain that within a few weeks of ownership it’d be second nature. I’m tempted to assume the console-mounted start switch is a nod to car’s dearly-departed Saab countrymate, which famously used a key switch located near the shifter in most of its models for decades.

2019 Volvo V90 CC front seats

The seats, front and rear, are exactly what one expects from Volvo – near perfection. I’d love to see a lower seat cushion that extends, as many competitors feature, but I didn’t have any comfort issues. We squeezed three across in the second row for about an hour, including my wife after grandma claimed the front seat – and all were happy with both leg and shoulder room in the cheap seats.

2019 Volvo V90 CC gauges

Well, maybe not cheap. At just over $62k as tested, this isn’t cheap. There is little traditional competition, however, but certainly the V90 Cross Country will be cross-shopped with two-row luxury crossovers. I’m thinking the RDX, RX, and possibly the X5 would be the primary targets – and against the Japanese competition this Volvo is priced a bit high. Against the X5, it’s a bargain.

For me, it’s not a matter of virtue-signaling against the scourge of crossovers. This Volvo is legitimately better to drive, with better efficiency to boot. I’d drive across country in this Volvo V90 Cross Country, but on paved roads like a civilized person, not on unmarked unimproved trails like some hardcore Bear Grylls-type.

2019 Volvo V90 CC rear quarter

[Images: © 2019 Chris Tonn/TTAC]

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26 Comments on “2019 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD Review – Plush Wagon, Plus a Little Extra...”


  • avatar
    lstanley

    Sixty two thousand, one hundred and ninety dollars.

    !!!!

  • avatar
    NeilM

    Yeah, last year we might theoretically have been in the market for this Volvo after selling our much loved, but aging, 2003 BMW 5-series wagon.

    But 60 grand plus, and concern about the unnecessary complication of the turbo-supercharged engine takes the V90 off my list. TTAC didn’t see fit to picture the Volvo’s engine compartment, but I’d bet it’s a repair nightmare.

    It’s perfectly possible to get 300-ish horsepower and plenty of torque with just a turbo, and doing that would have cut several thousand dollars off the price. Or, for the same low sixties you can have a very well equipped BMW X3 M340i with a brawny turbo 6. But yeah, that’s not a wagon.

    We bought a 2018 Audi Q5 with the Prestige trim level.

    • 0 avatar
      whynot

      You can get the V90 CC with the T5. That just has a turbo and about the same power as your Q5.

      That said the V90 is larger car that competes more with the Q7. The V60 matches up more with the Q5.

      • 0 avatar
        newenthusiast

        “That said the V90 is larger car that competes more with the Q7. The V60 matches up more with the Q5.”

        I think the Volvo is a good looking car, and would consider comparing it against something like the Outback, the VW Sportwagen or Alltrack or the A4 Allroad. Its nicer than the first 3 and likely more reliable than the latter.

        But I don’t think is competing with a Q7? It’s probably closer to a SQ5

        Volvo V90 Cross Country:

        Dimensions: 194″ L x 74″ W x 61″ H
        Towing capacity: 3,500 lbs
        seats 5

        Fully loaded (every option on the website build and price for the Ocean Race spec) MSRP $72k+

        Audi Q7:

        Dimensions: 200″ L x 78″ W x 69″ H
        Towing capacity: 7,700lbs
        seats 7

        Prestige (top) trim with roughly equivalent options as the Volvo (but not 100% fully loaded) using Audi’s build and price: $83k+ (but missing some options that could have it approach 94k)

        Their footprints are similar enough…but they are two different classes of vehicle.

    • 0 avatar
      don1967

      Bear in mind that it’s a four-banger under a fairly long hood, so even with the added complexity there’s more elbow room than the average V6. You just have to yank the plastic covers to see it.

      My slightly-stubbier S80 has lots of wrenching space around its inline-six, thanks to a barn-door sized hood that opens freakishly tall.

      • 0 avatar
        RHD

        Volvos are designed with some unexpected surprises, such as the hood that opens to practically vertical.
        Cadillac could take a lesson or two from what Volvo does.
        However, “Made in China” still means “Buyer Beware”. The retail price does not reflect the cost savings in labor (and free labor at some parts suppliers) from having it built in the land of BYD, Chery and Great Wall.

        • 0 avatar
          RHD

          The S60 and S90 are made in China and exported to the U.S.
          The V90XC is, apparently, not made in China.
          We can all sleep just a bit better tonight. But it’s still very expensive for a station wagon, even though it’s a very good one.
          (Now, if it had an honest-to-goodness manual transmission, it would be even better!)

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      The reality on any Euro branded, complex, electronics laden vehicle is that they will be even more expensive to maintain than your 5 series wagon was. And it won’t be close.

      Volvo truncated the CPO warranty with this generation of vehicles. They clearly know something that recent Volvo buyers will realize once that warranty period is up.

  • avatar
    ToddAtlasF1

    Now China’s got an Outback.

  • avatar
    Asdf

    Volvo = Chinese crap.

  • avatar
    Dan

    I really want to like these. Someone who parks outside my gym drives a V90 and I always catch myself glancing on the way in. It makes a good attempt at the long and wide proportions that nothing else in the blob era does. The front axle is out in front like it’s supposed to be even if it is wrong wheel drive. Like all of the new Volvos it feels expensive inside.

    And that admiration lasts right up until you see one that’s running instead of parked and hear that angry mail truck buzz coming from under the hood.

  • avatar
    tankinbeans

    Is the A/C tax what I think it is, or is there a government function that uses those initials? If the former, I can’t imagine why air con would be a target.

    I really like Volvo’s design language of late and could see myself driving one. Not owning because $62 large is rich for my blood L-vin notwithstanding.

    • 0 avatar
      Maymar

      You’re right that it’s an air conditioning tax – I’ve never looked into it, but assume it’s something related to end-of-life disposal of the refrigerant?

      Also, unless you want an S90 or XC60, you dodge the L-vin (V90/XC90/V60’s are all still European-built, either Sweden, or I believe Belgium for some, and the S60’s are US-built). The money still gets filtered to Geely if that’s a concern though.

  • avatar
    thegamper

    I will be shopping hard for a V60 T6 Momentum in about a year, not the CC. They are thin on the ground at the moment but hoping there will be some incentives on them in a year and after the V60 CC starts selling, I figure that will be 90% of the wagon sales. I would lease it though, Im not sure I would trust the longevity of the twincharged T6.

    Volvo has been hitting it out of the park with exterior styling and their interiors are beautiful. While it definitely sits on the pricier side, they still undercut most luxury European rivals. I have what is probably an unrealistic/undeserved nostalgia for Volvo wagons as my first car was a 240 GLT turbo wagon with 4 speed manual and pushbutton overdrive. Geez that was a long time ago. So maybe not a totally rational purchase, but I figure I better jump on it before all that is left for sale are trucks and Crossovers.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    I like the fact that it looks like a proper wagon but I do not like Volvo’s styling. Looks too ‘staid’ to me.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    THe problem for Volvo is they just aren’t competitive on price for what they offer. The Buick Regal TourX is about the same size and has similar equipment for about $25K less, plus significant discounts, which Volvo doesn’t generally offer. Same for BMW, which might have higher sticker for an X5, but can be had with significantly bigger discounts than Volvo offers to make them much more similar in drive home price, and the X5 comes with that nice BMW inline 6 instead of an over-complicated 4. Add in a much smaller dealer body, unfavorable Chinese connections, and it is no wonder Volvo sells so few vehicles despite having the nicest styling they have ever had.

  • avatar
    gtem

    ” it works quite well.”

    It takes a swipe and three presses to get through a series of menus to do something as simple as adjusting audio settings (treble/bass/etc) on one of these volvo infotainment things. No wonder they’re pushing the “pilot assist” lane assist crap!

  • avatar
    Stumpaster

    Has anyone done a long term test of a V90? For $62K you can buy something Made in Alabama, with a Mercedes star on it and a lifetime of achievements.

  • avatar
    bortlicenseplate

    There are a lot of very fancy cars here in posh & outdoorsy Vancouver, yet few of them have me do a consistent double-take like the rare V90 CC I see on the road. I’d even go as far as saying it’s a poor man’s Ferrari FF or Panamera ST….alright, maybe that’s a bridge too far, but it just speaks to our dearth of slinky sports wagons, haha. A used one is high on my list to replace my aging Legacy GT wagon.

    One nitpick I have: the back seats don’t fold 40/20/40 as in the old XC 70. This is a boon for skiers with 3 passengers, wherein you can throw 4 pairs of skis in the middle and avoid using a pricey and cumbersome roof rack/box combo. Moreover, every other luxury wagon (the few on the market) has this setup. It’s a bizarre omission.


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