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Culture / Cars

A Station Wagon That People Actually Want to Drive

Volvo Pulls It Off With Rugged Style

BY Jim Shi // 09.30.16

Slotted between the V90 wagon and XC90 SUV, the all-new V90 Cross Country wagon fills a gap left open when Volvo discontinued the much-loved XC70 in 2015. Though its successor is larger in size, its higher clearance and capability continue as hallmarks of the Swedish brand’s Cross Country models.

With a postcard-perfect backdrop of Piney Lake and magnificent Colorado mountains as backdrop, Volvo unveiled its new rugged wagon simultaneously in Colorado, Malmo, Sweden, and Zurich. The wagon begins production in Torslanda, Sweden, at the end of the year, and goes on sale in March 2017. Starting price is $56,295.

The original 1997-2000 Volvo V70 XC was popular in Sweden and North America because it could handle rough roads and bad weather better than a regular wagon or sedan. The second-generation V70 XC had even more ground clearance when it arrived in 2001. The third generation debuted in 2008 as a more luxury-centric vehicle.

The addition of the fourth-generation V90 Cross Country, nearly 20 years later, comes as Volvo builds on an upswing in this niche category — a segment it is largely credited for having built up into the premium market. 

Volvo currently has Cross Country versions of the S60 sedan and V60 wagon. The V90 Cross Country, the flagship, if you will, boasts the on-road drive characteristics of a wagon, but with the addition of 8.3 inches of total clearance, fifth-generation Haldex all-wheel drive, hill-descent control, and handsome skid plates. The new scalable architecture of the 90 Series helped realize a Cross Country model with the utmost of ease.

New Volvo V90 Cross Country Driving
New Volvo V90 Cross Country Driving

The 2017 V90 Cross Country is powered by Volvo’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, the same one found in both T6 and T5 configurations. T6 models use a turbocharger and a supercharger to generate 316 horsepower. The T5, with a turbocharged 2.0-liter, will also be available at launch, with a T8 hybrid possibly to come. The engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission.

Holiday Gifting

  • Cle Du Peau - Nail Polish
  • Bond No 9 - Candle
  • Loeffler Randall - Clutch
  • Loeffler Randall - Shoes
  • Cle Du Peau - Lip Gloss
  • Oscar De La Renta - Clutch
  • Casa di Lino
  • Bond No 9 - Perfume
  • Oscar De La Renta - Earrings
  • Mariquite Masterson
  • Nocturne Studio
  • Mariquite Masterson

Style-wise, the front fascia adds black gloss and a fancier honeycomb grille with subtle “stud” detailing, which complement nicely Volvo’s signature “Thor’s hammer” headlamps. Black gloss also replaces metallic trim around the windows, resulting in a sleeker side profile. And as with all Cross Country models, the wheels have been set wider and equipped with beefier tires that are wider and softer and more rounded, the better to absorb uneven surfaces. 

Inside, it’s a true Scandinavian sanctuary, noted Tisha Johnson, senior director of design for the Volvo Car Group. The black walnut porous finish looks rich, while pearl stitching adds further detail. Many of the same Internet connectivity and entertainment features included in the S90 sedan and V90 wagon are also standard — such as the Bowers & Wilkins sound system.

Lex Kerssemakers, president and CEO of Volvo Cars North America, forecasts annual V90 sales to be in the 5,000 to 6,000 range —the majority of which will be the Cross Country, which appeals more to the more adventurous off-roading buyer than the XC90. While major automakers saw sales decline in August, Volvo Car Group reported U.S. sales increased 30.9 percent compared to the same month in the previous year, to 7,682 vehicles. Volvo USA has experienced double-digit growth for 14 months straight.

The Cross Country perfectly fills the niche between wagon and SUV, and alludes to the potential for the massive crossover boom that continues to this day.

Home, chic home.

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