Friday morning, a long weekend coming up, and you and your friends plan camping. The site for camping no doubt is scenic, but then there’s one problem.
The drive to camping spot, though is scenic, 30% of the road encompasses a combination of bad stretches and no road situation and some patches of complete off road to reach the spot.
Now here is your dilemma, though 70% of the road is brilliant, a sedan can tackle the road well, but then what do you do with the rest 30%?
If you choose to take an SUV, you will be considerably slower than a sedan, though it may come to good help only in the last 30% stretch of the road. But then, do you really want to drive slowly on the winding stretch of the road, as the SUV may not be able to hold the line as compared to the sedan.
Ohh, then there’s third problem, while the sedan can carry 4 adults, but it cannot necessarily carry all the luggage, including the camping equipments. Here may be a SUV will help.
Now this clearly is a heart vs head situation, your heart is wanting to blast down the winding road using your sedan, but the head says, no dude, its just not going to be able to carry the luggage and be at home in the last stretch of the road.
So what do you?
Do you often see yourselves in this kind of dilemma? If Yes, how about I tell you, I have found a perfect car or should I say SUV, or no should I say Cross-Over for you? Something, that is fast on those winding roads, and can take no roads with similar aplomb.
Enter Volvo, enter Volvo V90 Cross Country. But then hold on, doesn’t the Volvo V90 Cross Country look like a station wagon? Well honestly if that station wagon is going to be from the Volvo, one thing is for sure, it definitely is going to be head turner.
Indians somehow, never got fond of station wagons. Tata Motors experimented way back in 1990’s with a station wagon, aptly called as Tata Estate and later on with Tata Indigo Marin. But the boxy design never raked in mulla for Tata Motors. In between and subsequently, lot of main stream players tried their hands in this segment, but none of them got any success.
So what could be the reason for their failures. One possibly all those station wagons were all show and no go, they did not really have the characteristic of “Go AnyWhere” Machine. And two, none of them looked well, particularly good.
This is where, Volvo, in 2018, got the V90 Cross Country plans to change the perception about station wagons. What were attributed as boring to look at and drive, the V90 Cross Country, is exact opposite of it. Now can we have a quick look at the car.
Design Language - Exteriors
The Cross Country moniker made its way to the Volvo’s line up in India for the first time with the V40. Then came the S60 Cross Country and last to enter was the V90 Cross Country. It’s a no brainer, that the Volvo V90 Cross Country, is based on Volvo’s much famed and flagship station wagon, the V90. To differentiate from the conventional V90, Volvo has spruced things up on the outside. For starters, the car is raised off the ground and that’s apparent in its stance. It also gets body cladding all around to give it more of a butch look.
The V90 Cross Country, too, is based on the Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), the architecture on which the entire current line up of Volvo is based on.
The front end is typical of any modern Volvo’s. The Thor Hammer inspired DRL’s are the most highlighting factor here too. The differentiating factor being they are more slimmer as compared to their SUV siblings. Front grille has horizontal slats with the Volvo moniker sitting proudly in between, flanked by front facing camera neatly integrated and well hidden from the naked eyes.
The All LED headlights are well complemented with equally sleek all LED front fogs which double up as cornering lights too. The power lines on the bonnet, though not prominent, but do add to a character line. While the older Volvo’s had bulky and odd looking wiper washer jet sprays on the bonnet, here in the V90, the wiper washer sprays are neatly integrated within the wipers.
Overall, from the front, though you know it’s a Volvo, its striking and head turning design for sure.
From the side is what you realize, that this V90 Cross Country is longer. The 20 inch alloys give this Cross Country that much needed menacing stance. The only way to differentiate the V90 from the Cross Country would be the body cladding and the functional roof rails. What did you read 20 inch alloys, yes the first lot of the V90 Cross Country’s came with 20 inch alloys, but then Volvo later on updated the V90 Cross Country with 19 inch alloys, basis the feedback given by the customers and media personnel as the latter making this cross over too stiffer and harsher to ride. All 4 door handles get request sensors, for easy access.
Moving to the rear, the first thing that you notice is the signature L Shaped all LED taillights. They look much more sharper when lit up in the night. The nomenclature V-O-L-V-O sits right below the rear glass, and the Cross Country moniker is embedded below part of the bumper. The exhausts get a chrome finishing and the silver accentuated cladding adds a dash of elegance.
With 560 liters of boot space, this V90 Cross Country’s boot space is enough to not only carry your 4 friend’s luggage for the camping, but the entire camping material too. Should you need more space, the rear seats fold in 60:40 configuration and with both the rear seats down, you get up to 1560 liters of boot space.
For the past six days, I was thinking, I had become famous, as at every signal, or intersection, or whenever stand still or in motion, people around were constantly turning around and looking at me, only to realize later, that it was not me but the people were looking at the V90 Cross Country. There have been instances where, people have walked up to me in the parking and told, Sexy Car, What’s the OTR?
Lot of it comes from the way this V90 Cross Country looks, its stellar for sure, turns heads wherever you go, and has shut lines and millimeter perfect body panels which can put the German Trio to shame. Well this Swedish beauty, is hell of a machine too, to drive. But before we look at how she rides, let’s step inside the car. Shall we?
Design Language - Interiors
The doors open in typical European fashion. Though you don’t need to be a body builder to open the doors, but in the same breadth, you can’t be faint hearted too, you have to exercise fair amount of effort to open the doors.
Once in, what you realize is how well appointed and laid this cabin is. The centre is flanked by vertically stacked 9 inch screen, which is the command centre for the car. It looks great, too, with pin-sharp graphics and a very modern design. That big screen is flanked by a couple of large air vents, with just one row of buttons and switches below it that control the stereo, hazard warning lights and windscreen demisting.
The driver console houses a 12.3 inch TFT Display, the display of which can be changed basis your mood. The use of chrome is very subtle and looks very classy. There are soft touch materials all around, and there is a chrome line that runs parallel to the dash, which enhances the visual appeal of the dashboard.
The steering wheel is nice and chunky to hold with adaptive cruise control and pilot assist buttons on the left and audio controls on the right along with voice command. The steering is leather wrapped and heated for those colder days. Not a boon to this side of the country, but if you are into northern India, where the temperature goes sub zero, a good to have feature.
The centre tunnel houses the gear lever, engine start stop button and another rotary button to select the driving modes. The centre arm rest is deep and has two USB ports, one to charge the phone and other to activate Apple CarPlay or Android Auto, basis the phone you have.
Volvo is often praised for its comfortable seats. And why not, these seats are designed by orthopedic surgeons to ensure you stay comfortable even after those long journeys. This Volvo V90 Cross Country, is no exception. They are impressively comfortable and massively supportive. Both the front seats also offer cooling and heating along with massage function. Overall, the drivers or the co-drivers seat, is the place you can be seated for long, without any issues.
Step into the rear and you will find acres and acres and acres of leg room. The rear seats, just as the front seats are supremely comfortable, and hold you well in place on those winding sections of the road. What you also get on the rear is the side window blinds, which help you maintain the ac temperature and your privacy. The four zone climate control ac, ensures you are in best possible environment/temperature inside the car, and for the rear passengers, there are ac vents on the pillars as well, ensuring uniform cooling all around the cabin.
In Car Entertainment
If you have very keen ears for audio, then look no further, as this Bower & Wilkins designed audio setup, puts almost every other in car audio setup to shame. Even the Burmeister’s setup given by the Mercedes-Benz’s in some of their cars, have no fidelity that can match to the ones of B&W. The 18 speaker set up, just blows your mind away in whatever you listen. Our co-founder’s wife, trained in classical music, wanted him to buy the V90 Cross Country, only because the way the audio setup sounded. To top it off, there are three acoustics mode- Studio, Concert and Individual, which alters the audio experience basis the mode chosen. Though Apple CarPlay and Android Auto as mentioned earlier are a standard fare, we would have loved to see an integration of wireless Apple CarPlay/Android Auto at this price point.
Performance- Engine, Gearbox and Safety
The V90 Cross Country that we tested, came with the D5 engine. What it means is, that this Volvo was mated to their top of the line, 1969 cc diesel engine that churns healthy 235 hp and generates 480 nm of torque. Acceleration is brisk off the mark and the car reaches triple digit speeds pretty swiftly. The turbo lag is virtually non existence and the power and torque is available from the word go.
Gearbox duties are taken care by the 8 speed auto tranny here, which is swift to respond in most of the situations. However, on few instances, I did find the gearbox struggling to slot the car in the right gear, especially in start-stop traffic situations. It felt as if the gearbox was taking time to select the right gear and choosing between various options before picking the right one. That on few occasions, led to jerk moment in the car.
Special mention for the deadening materials used by Volvo. The engine may sound hoarse and loud on the outside, but inside the cabin, the sound doesn’t intrude much and on most part of the journeys, the crossover is silent. It helps on those long drives, which help you keep your nerves cool. NVH levels are up there with the best in the business too.
The essence of any Volvo lies in their safety kit. This Volvo is no different. IntelliSafe is the hardware controller, that packs all the sensors that control the safety kit that the V90 Cross Country offers, and the software integration is taken by this touch screen. The list of safety features in this car, can put the best of the cars even in two segments above to shame, forget the cars in its category.There are host of other safety features like, lane keep assist with steering assist, blind spot assist, city safe, roll over mitigation, and full led auto high beam headlights, amongst other run of the mill safety features like airbags and ABS with EBD, ventilated discs etc.
Performance- Ride, Handling and Drivability
The V90 Cross Country comes with an automatic transmission, that means it’s a very comfortable and relaxing tourer. The Cross Country, is slightly raised up as compared to the regular V90, to aid for off roading. However, having said that, no complains what so ever towards the handling. It’s agile, owing to its power, has air suspensions on the rear and comes with adaptive suspensions all around
Out of various driving modes, the Comfort and Eco Mode are the best for city drives as the car nimbles around the traffic keeping you well, comfortable. It just glides nicely over the bumps and road adulation. One thing that you have to constantly keep in your mind is the length of the car. Slot the car into Dynamic mode, the suspensions stiffen up, letting those occasional thuds inside the cabins, in a nicer way I would say. The steering response gets sharper and the suspensions get stiffer.
Take this Volvo, into the twisty roads, chuck it into the bend, and it does roll a little bit into the corners. The V90 Cross Country however, comes with AWD, so it is not as bad as expected, owing to the length of the car. Take the car out on the motorways, and the car just holds on to the road like a leech. Triple digit speeds are easy to reach, switch on the semi autonomous driving aids, and voila, this Volvo V90 Cross Country, becomes extremely comfortable mile muncher. The Pilot Assist feature along with Adaptive Active Cruise Control, works in tandem to ensure you arrive at your destination, that much more fresher and comfortable.
All Wheel Drive capabilities, ensures you can take this Cross Country off-roading too, we did go off-roading and came out mighty impressed. Not once did the car scrap itself anywhere, and felt at home on no tarmac situations, just the way it feels on the motorways and city by-lanes.
Does it make sense to take this car out in traffic everyday, won’t you be hassled. Honestly, yes, you would be hassled, but once you get used to the length of the car, you will be surprised how this Volvo V90 Cross Country, wraps itself around you as a driver, so that initial hesitation of driving a more than required long car, fades away. Then what remains is you enjoying your music from those 18 speakers high fidelity sound and wishing, you get stuck in a bit more of traffic.
Overall, the Volvo V90 Cross Country, can be your to go car, if you want to go to office everyday, your to go car, if you want to go partying on weekends, your to go car, for those business brunches and meetings, and your to go car, for your off-roading adventures.
Weren’t you confused, what you need to take for your camping trip? Well, we got your answer, it’s the Volvo V90 Cross Country. It drives well on the highways, can go to places where your regular sedan wouldn’t go, has capability of swallowing weekends luggage of all your friends and what more, should you feel bored by the camping site, just roll the windows down, open up all the four doors and enjoy the sound of music, playing away from the 18 speaker fantastically tuned Bowers and Wilkins setup.
So if you want something, which stands out in the crowd, ensures it makes its presence felt wherever you go, pampers you, has oomph factor going for it, is loaded to the brim with safety and comfort features, and is more car, per car, look no further than the Volvo V90 Cross Country