2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD Review

2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD - The 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD wagon is far removed from the automaker's earlier boxy wagons.


Price: $55,300

It used to be that many Volvos you saw were boxy station wagons, so no wonder Volvo is proud of the fact that it's still heavily associated with station wagons such as its 2017 V90.

Most automakers shun the words "station wagon" because they feel such a vehicle is dated. The prefer to say they build "crossovers" and "SUVs." Truth be told, many of those vehicles are just thinly disguised wagons.

There's nothing thinly disguised about Volvo's $55,300 (without the $995 destination charge) 2017 V90 wagon, which I tested in Cross Country T6 AWD form. It's a big, handsome, upscale, roomy wagon with a smooth turbocharged and supercharged 2-liter direct-injection four-cylinder that kicks out 316 horsepower and 295 pound/feet of torque.
The engine shoots power through an efficient eight-speed automatic transmission with a fuel-saving stop/start feature that's especially appreciated if, say, you're stuck waiting for a freight train to pass.

The engine calls for premium gas for the best performance but provides swift acceleration off the line and during 65-75 m.p.h. passing, although this wagon isn't light at about 4,200 pounds. This V90 can has several driving modes activated by a console control: one for fuel-saving, another for regular daily driving, still another for high-performance driving and an "Off Road" mode for rough-road use.

I mostly used the 'Eco" fuel-saving and regular "Comfort" modes for conventional driving. But the "Dynamic" mode for performance driving definitely proved effective-although it made the V90 a little too aggressive for daily use. I had no opportunity to use the "Off Road" mode, although I can't picture many V90 drivers taking such an upscale wagon on serious off-road treks.

Indeed, my test V90 Cross Country T6 AWD test wagon looked upscale and a little racy, with an aggressive front end, slick lines and a subtle rear roof spoiler. The long, heavy front doors open wide to reveal a nicely designed interior with high-quality materials, including lush leather and dark walnut wood inlays.

Standard features include a panoramic sunroof, heated power front seats and steering wheel, 2-zone electronic climate control, tilt-telescopic wheel and a high-performance audio system with 10 speakers.

Costly options include the roof spoiler, hill-descent control, 360-degree surround view camera, premium rear air suspension and a Bowers and Wilkins premium sound system. The bottom-line price of my test vehicle was $64,640, including the $995 destination.

What's a Volvo without lots of safety features? My test V90 Cross Country had plenty. They included electronic stability control, anti-lock brakes with hill-start assist, City Safety low speed collision avoidance system, lane-departure warning and a rear-park assist camera.  

There's a good amount of occupant space in the quiet cabin, with enough rear-seat room for tall rear passengers to stretch. The easily loaded cargo area is roomy, and rear seat backs flip forward and sit flat to allow enough more cargo room. A unique touch is a small shallow cargo area in the trunk floor that's held up by a small strut.

The cabin has a good number of storage areas, but the large front console consumes a lot of space. The back-seat area has a decent-size center armrest that contains a handy covered storage area but rather cheap-looking plastic pop-out cupholders.

The supportive front seats should be comfortable on long trips, and gauges can be quickly read in bright sunlight. But the iPad-like 9-inch touch screen isn't very easy to use. And the large, folding outside mirrors are mounted on the doors and block too much vision when a driver is, for instance, making a turn around a street corner. That's an odd fault for such a nicely designed car.

The V90 Cross Country T6 AWD provided a rather firm but comfortable ride that, surprisingly, got a little "floaty" on some moderately bumpy roads at low speeds when not in Dynamic mode.The steering was quick and accurate, although it needs more road feel, and handling was decent in all drive modes. The firm brake pedal had a short throw but progressive action.

I comfortably drove the V90 Cross Country T6 AWD moderately hard and fast. Still, this is no sports wagon-not that one should expect it to be. Rather, it does everything it's supposed to do with high style.

Dan Jedlicka

Dan Jedlicka's Website

Dan Jedlicka joined the Chicago Sun-Times in February 1968 as a business news reporter and was named auto editor later that year. He has reviewed more than 4,000 new vehicles for the Sun-Times--far more than any newspaper auto writer in the country. Jedlicka also reviewed vehicles for Microsoft Corp.'s MSN Autos Internet site from January, 1996, to June, 2008.

Jedlicka remained auto editor at the Sun-Times until October, 2008, and continued writing for the newspaper's AutoTimes section, which he started in 1992, until February, 2009. While continuing his auto writings at the Sun-Times, he served as assistant financial editor of that newspaper from 1970 to 1973, when he began his automotive column.

He has appeared on numerous radio and television shows, including NBC's "Today," ABC's "20/20" and "The CBS Evening News." He was a host, consultant and writer for Fox-TV Channel 32's 1991 New Car Preview show and that Chicago-based station's 1992, 1993, 1994 and 1995 Chicago Auto Show Previews.

Jedlicka's auto articles have been printed in national magazines, including Esquire and Harper's. His auto columns have been reprinted in U.S. government publications and economic textbooks and he is profiled in the "World's Greatest Auto Show" history book about the Chicago Auto Show. In late 1975, Jedlicka was host and technical advisor for three one-hour television specials, "Auto Test 76," which aired nationally on PBS and were the first nationally televised auto road test shows.

In 1995, Jedlicka was the recipient of the Better Business Bureau of Chicago and Northern Illinois Inc.'s Consumer Education Award, given annually to a person who has gained distinction in the field of consumer education. He received a Lifetime Achievement Award in the Media category and inducted into the Legends of Motorsports Guild at the Carquest World of wheels custom car show in Chicago in January, 2006.

Jedlicka was a member of the North American Car and Truck of the Year jury, composed of a select number of auto journalists from throughout the country, from 1995 until 2009. From 2010 to 2012, he was a member of Consumer Digest magazine's auto experts panel that gave Best Buy new vehicle recommendations.

He is a 1987 graduate of the Bob Bondurant Race Drivers School and later of the BMW "M" and Skip Barber Advanced Driving schools. He was a member of the U.S. team that participated in the 1987 1,000-mile Mille Miglia race/rally in Italy and has been a race winner at the Chicago area's Santa Fe Speedway.

Jedlicka has owned 25 classic cars, including 1950s and 1960s Ferraris and 1950s and 1960s Porsches, a 1965 Corvette, a 1967 Maserati and a 1957 Studebaker supercharged Golden Hawk. Jedlicka resides with his wife, Suzanne, in the Frank Lloyd Wright historic district of Oak Park. They have two children, James and Michele.

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