The 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country Review: A Wagon Done Right

A proper wagon in a world of SUVs and crossovers.

Max Goldberg @Maxems

Welcome to Critic's Notebook, a quick and off-the-cuff car review consisting of impressions, jottings, and marginalia regarding whatever The Drive writers happen to be driving. Today's edition: The 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6.

Since the debut of the Volvo S90, the new generation of Volvos has been stunning, to say the least, with a design that has been a massive hit in the automotive enthusiast community. The S90's design has won our hearts—and subsequently, the related V90 Cross Country has as well. Maintaining a lot of the same lines as the sedan, especially up front, the Volvo V90 is a more family-friendly version of the S90. With increased cargo capacity and enough room for all the kids, the V90 is a beautiful wagon in a world filled with people who choose SUVs. Defying the common trend amongst auto manufacturers, Volvo opted to continue wagon production when they could have easily left their two-box sales duties to the XC60 and XC90 crossovers. However, Volvo knew they had wagon loyalists around the globe hoping to get their hands on the amazing work of designer Thomas Ingenlath

If you are looking to grab a 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country, just head over to any Volvo dealership and pick one up for a little north of $56,295. But if you want the standard Volvo V90 without the plastic flares and lift kit, be prepared to order one, as Volvo is not stocking them in dealerships. Like Audi and Subaru, Volvo is assuming buyers will focus on the more off-road-ready version of the V90 wagon.

Volvo

The Pros:

  • The curb appeal of the Volvo V90 Cross Country is next-level. Whether you normally like big pickups, sports cars, or sedans, you will struggle to find fault with the Volvo V90 Cross Country's lines.
  • The V90 Cross Country is oddly satisfying. The car is relatively quick, yet the ride is comfortable and the wagon's length yields itself to easy storage. As long as the items you are transporting are not too tall, the Volvo's length and collapsable rows allow easy storage for items that might often find themselves on the roof of a crossover.
  • The center cluster is a dream. The intuitive nine-inch infotainment screen and the digital dash allow users to quickly access music, navigation, vehicle diagnostics and more without having to pull out the owner's manual.
  • The seats are comfortable, fitting the contour of your body. For some reason, plenty of manufacturers design their seats to hug you at first—but after an hour, the hug turns into an unpleasant poke in the ribs or legs. The V90's seats have just enough bolstering to stay comfy in the long-term, and the 10-way seat adjustment is just versatile enough to find that right position.
  • The ride is smooth and well-mannered. The 2.3-inch lift is designed to give the Cross Country a more off-road-capable ride, but it transfers surprisingly well to the road. The ride never felt floaty down the highway, nor did I feel like I was being assaulted by the potholes of Brooklyn.
  • The mysterious trailer hitch that electronically shoots out with the touch of a button is super-cool. I spent a good five minutes doing this time and time again.
  • The Volvo V90 Cross Country's semi-autonomous features are great in stop-and-go traffic. The V90 will steer itself (to a certain degree), and the adaptive cruise control scoots the car along with limited user intervention.
Volvo

The Cons:

  • I'm not a fan of the plastic molding. The black plastic seems like a forced attempt at looking more off-road-ready. Yes, the plastic is easy to replace if damage should occur, but it detracts from the looks of the V90 Cross Country...and the CC would be just as capable without it.
  • The exhaust note is confusing and unsettling. One minute you hear the turbocharger, the next, you hear the rumbling of a sick dog. The Volvo may not have not been going for a sexy exhaust note V90 Cross Country, but I'd go so far as to say it's just plain bad.
  • The price. The Volvo V90 Cross Country starts at $56,295 without options; with a few additions, mine crept up to $64,640. That's a ton for a station wagon
  • No rear climate control. Like I said, $64,640 already seems like a lpt for a wagon, especially if it doesn't come with rear climate control standard.
  • The EPA's fuel economy rating claims 22 mpg city and 30 mpg highway, but I got an average of 17.5 mpg the whole time.
Volvo

The 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country, Ranked:

Performance: 3.5/5

Comfort: 5/5

Luxury: 4/5

Hauling People: 5/5

Hauling Stuff: 4/5

Curb Appeal: 5/5

"Wow" Factor: 3/5

Overall: 4.2/5

Volvo

The Bottom Line:

The Volvo V90 Cross Country is an amazing wagon in the land of SUVs and crossovers. Volvo has done a fantastic job building a functional, appealing, and safe wagon—though admittedly, at a high price. The 316-horsepower supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-four cylinder provides plenty of power, but without the gutsy feel you might hope for from an engine packing so much power. Although the wagon launches to 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, it still feels timid, and the power can feel temperamental. 

That being said, the Volvo V90 Cross Country serves beautifully as a family hauler capable of tackling the harsh winters of Scandinavia (or wherever else), filled with skiing, playing hockey, and whatever else a large family might throw its way.