by Michael Butler
It might seem absurd, but there exists a small corner of the car-buying market that still likes station wagons, and an even smaller proportion that likes off-road station wagons at that. Volvo has a long and rich history of producing such wagons, and even in the age of the crossover SUV, it continues to build some of the best. The 2020 V90 Cross Country is a handsome, practical and pretty quick station wagon that can bomb down the highway with 316 horsepower under the hood, or tackle some rough trails when the need arises. The numbers are impressive: you get a sub-six-second zero to sixty sprint time, and with the rear seats folded down, 53.9 cubic feet of space. We're glad that there is still a car manufacturer out there keeping the flame of the glorious station wagon alight. The 2020 V90 Cross Country goes up against the Subaru Outback at the low end and the Audi A6 allroad at the top.
No major changes have been made to the Volvo V90 Cross Country for 2020, but Volvo has added their Pilot Assist driver assistance system to the options list. This system allows the car to drive itself at speeds of over 70 mph on clearly marked roads.
|T6 Cross Country||
2.0-liter Twincharged Inline-4 Gas
The 2020 Volvo V90 Cross Country is one of the few remaining cars on sale in the US that makes use of a traditional station-wagon body style, and we love it all the more for it. With long flowing lines and a bold front end, the V90 sure is a handsome car, and is packed with exterior features such as a power rear tailgate, LED headlights, and a panoramic sunroof. The wagon is fitted with 19-inch double-spoke matt black diamond-cut alloy wheels as standard, with options to upgrade to 20- or 21-inch items.
The 2020 Volvo V90 is classified as a mid-size luxury wagon, and measures in with a total length of 194.4 inches, and sits 60.7 inches tall. Width is 80.8 inches, and the entire package rolls around on a 115.8-inch wheelbase. The 2020 V90 Cross Country weighs in at 4,147 pounds, substantially lighter than the 4,486 lbs of Audi's A6 allroad.
The Volvo V90 Cross Country might be a family station wagon with a tinge of off-road capability, but that doesn't mean it's a slowpoke; in fact, Volvo is well known for building plucky station wagons. Under the hood of the V90 Cross Country, you'll find a two-liter four-cylinder engine, but you can forget about its small capacity, as this engine produces a mighty 316 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque, thanks to a direct fuel injected turbocharger and supercharger system that offers beautifully linear power across the rev range. Power is sent to all four wheels via an intuitive eight-speed automatic transmission.
The Volvo V90 Cross Country is first and foremost a practical family mover, and this can be felt through the chassis, which has been tuned for comfort over performance on and off the road. We found that the Volvo was comfortable on most road surfaces, and the extra meat on offer from its tires smoothes out road imperfections. The optional air suspension adds even more comfort and turns the V90 Cross Country into a supremely comfortable long-distance cruiser. In the twisties, the lifted ride height and soft suspension setup make itself known: there's body roll, but it's controllable, especially since you've got power going to all four wheels. But punch the throttle, and the V90 Cross Country will get its tail loose. We found that the steering was overly light, even in the sportier Dynamic mode.
This Volvo literally has the words Cross Country in its name, so you'd expect it to be able to travel a reasonably substantial distance on a single tank of gas. It also drives like a dream on the open road and gobbles up miles like it's nobody's business. Volvo's choice of power plant for the 2020 V90 Cross Country plays a big role in its fuel consumption: the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine can sip fuel if it wants to, which is great for highway cruising. The EPA rates that the 2020 V90 Cross Country will get 20/30/24 mpg city/highway/combined. Not bad for a 300 plus horsepower station wagon. With a 15.9-gallon fuel tank on board, the Cross Country has an estimated maximum range of 382 miles.
The first word that comes to mind for most when they think station wagon is 'space.' Why else would you build it? The V90 Cross Country offers ample space for five average-size adults. The front headroom is measured at 37.8 inches, while those in the rear get 37.7 inches; front shoulder room is 57.5 inches and 55.9 inches in the rear, and front legroom is a decent 42.2 inches, dipping to 35.9 in the rear. All this culminates in a spacious interior for all occupants. Additionally, with it's slightly lifted ride height, there's great visibility in all but the rearward view.
The Station wagon's central role is to fit as much stuff in the trunk as possible. That is the only reason ordinary people buy them (although there are still a few that buy them for the looks alone). The 2020 V90 Cross country brings a good amount of trunk and cargo space to the table: with the rear seats upright; there are 25.5 cubic feet of space on offer. Fold those down, and the V90 Cross Country offers up 53.9 cubic feet of space. The Audi A6 allroad has 30 cubic feet behind the rear seats, for comparison.
With only a single trim on offer, the 2020 Volvo V90 Cross Country gets a good helping of standard features from the outside in. Looking at the exterior, the V90 Cross Country gets a power-operated tailgate, panoramic sunroof, and a set of LED headlights. On the inside, the V90 Cross Country impresses with a standard reverse camera with front and rear park assist, two-zone climate control, a leather steering wheel and shifter, heated leather seats with power-adjustability and lumbar control, as well as a 12.3-inch driver information display, and an auto-dimming rearview mirror with HomeLink. Standard driver assistance features include front and rear collision mitigation assistance, lane keep assist, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic assistance, hill descent control, and adaptive cruise control.
Volvo is in the fortunate position of working with Google on refining its infotainment and overall navigation experience, but we found that it was not this element that disappointed, but the overall unresponsiveness of the system as a whole. The nine-inch portrait touchscreen offers crisp imagery, and easy to read icons, but venturing deeper into the menu slows down the system, which can get frustrating when driving. Standard infotainment system features include two USB connections and a single Aux port, Bluetooth streaming and voice control, as well as Android Auto and Apple CarPlay integration. HD radio and SiriusXM radio are also included. The integrated navigation works better than most native navigation systems we've tested. Sound is channeled through a ten-speaker sound system with a built-in subwoofer, but two upgrades can be optioned on: a Harman Kardon system with 14 speakers, or a top-end 19-speaker Bowers and Wilkins setup.
The 2020 Volvo V90 Cross Country has been recalled once due to a defective emergency braking system that affected certain 2019-2020 cars. Volvo backs the V90 Cross Country with a four-year/50,000-mile basic warranty, a 12-year corrosion warranty, a four-year/50,000-mile drivetrain warranty, as well as a three-year/36,000-mile maintenance plan, and four years of roadside assistance.
Both the NHTSA and the IIHS are yet to test the Volvo V90 Cross Country. Standard safety features on the 2020 car include seven airbags with a driver's knee airbag, as well as driver assistance systems such as front and rear collision mitigation, lane keep assist, blind-spot monitoring and cross-traffic alert.
The 2020 Volvo V90 should automatically qualify as a good car just because it's a fast Swedish station wagon. But seriously, the station wagon is a dying breed of cars, and numbers in the wild have been steadily decreasing due to an infestation of soul-destroying crossover SUVs. So besides the fact that it's a wagon, what else makes the Volvo V90 Cross Country great? Firstly, we dig the fact that it can sprint to sixty in under six seconds, and still take the family on an offroading adventure. The interior is one of the best in class, and everything has a quality feel to it, and while we're inside the cabin, we have to mention the ample interior space, and good cargo volume; this car is as practical as they come. On the road, the V90 Cross Country feels planted and offers confident handling and cruising along at highway speeds is a pleasure. We found that road noise could become intrusive, and the laggy infotainment system could do with some work, but all in all, this is a great package that deserves more attention.
Don't mistake the Volvo V90 Cross Country as a basic family-hauling station wagon. It's quite the opposite actually: the interior is luxurious, and there are lots of standard features on offer, so you're looking at a premium product well worth the asking price of $54,550, which excludes tax, registration, and a destination fee of $995. That is double the price of an entry-level Subaru Outback, but over $10,000 cheaper than the Audi A6 allroad.
The V90 T6 AWD is the only Cross Country on offer, which makes your decision easier. Why should you buy one? Because it's a 316 hp AWD Volvo station wagon that can go off-road. It's as simple as that. Yes, you get lots of standard luxury features and driver assistance systems, but who cares about that when you can launch to sixty in under six seconds? If we had the money, we would get one with 20-inch Matte Black alloy wheels. Inside, we would have to go with the Charcoal perforated Nappa leather seats, which means you also get Crystal White Metallic paint, heated rear seats, and several other convenience features included in the $4,500 Luxury package. We'd also go for the $2,450 Advanced package, which adds safety features such as a surround-view camera, active bending headlights, and more.
It seems that the Germans are also clinging on to the station wagon with vigor: the 2020 Audi A6 allroad is a powerful AWD station wagon that is as happy on road as it is off it, but with a seriously sorted interior and, under the hood lies a force-fed 335 hp V6 engine that offers potent acceleration and endows this car with great flexibility in town and out on the open road. We love the fact that the interior looks just as great as the exterior, and offers a class-leading experience overall. On the road, the Audi is a confident performer, but it's no sports car; its lifted ride height can be felt when attacking corners, but as an everyday family-hauler, it feels fantastic. We wish the A6 allroad offered some more trunk space, and it is undeniably pricey. We would still go with the equally capable, but less expensive, Volvo.
The Outback is one of Subaru's most popular crossover creations and is loved by thousands of Americans. The 2020 car gets a complete overhaul and now includes an optional 11.6-inch infotainment display, and we're glad to report that there's turbo power under the hood in the form of a 2.4-liter turbocharged engine producing 260 hp and 277 lb-ft of torque. The exterior of the 2020 Outback is noticeably more rugged and highlights the Outback's willingness to go offroad. The cabin is a much less premium space but has been built for a hard life, whether that is from children or hard work on the ranch. Standard features are also more scarce, especially on the base model which offers only the basics. We appreciate its silky ride quality, standard driver aids, and good interior space, but struggle to get over the lackluster acceleration of the base engine and sleepy CVT transmission. If you're only in it for the practicality, get the Subaru.
Check out some informative Volvo V90 Cross Country video reviews below.