Road Test: 2024 Volvo V90 Cross Country

2024 Volvo V90 Cross Country Ultimate Review

The Volvo V90 Cross Country returns for 2024 with two important attributes that appeal to both the crossover crowd and the hybrid/EV crowd.

2024 Volvo V90 Cross Country

The first one is actually a mixture of features included in this particular V90’s “Cross Country” designation. It rides higher than other V90s, gets plastic cladding ‘round the wheels and rocker panels and comes standard with AWD. These features should appeal to the crossover crowd.

The EV crowd, meanwhile, will be interested in the “B6” designation, which replaced the “T6” nomenclature in ‘22. What that means is the V90 is a mild hybrid, meaning that it gets a 48V EV motor. That helps boost acceleration and is how the supercharger gets its power eg. it no longer has to make use of the horsepower made by the engine. The result is faster, smoother and more efficient progress.

Exterior: Luckily, not much else has changed style-wise for the V90 at it remains one of the better-looking utility vehicles found on the market today. You still get the brand’s signature “Thor’s Hammer” DRLs and vertical taillamps and two-tone 21” wheels that look good even when wrapped in chunky winter rubber (actually, chunky rubber is a perfect fit, considering the CC’s raison d’être). While the V90 may be of the luxury variety, Volvo remains one of the smaller luxury manufacturers and they don’t have an extra level of customization like Mercedes’ Designo studio or BMW’s Individual program, meaning the colour palette is somewhat muted; you can’t get it in red, for example, and the blue offered is called “denim” and is pretty tame.

Interior and Tech: Inside, the Volvo wagon is a good mix of luxury and the modernist simplicity of that other famous Swedish export, Ikea furniture. The V90 gets dark wood inserts, a good sprinkling of aluminum on the switchgear and other trim pieces, jeweled Bowers & Wilkins speakers and a 9” vertical touchscreen infotainment system.

2024 Volvo V90 Cross Country Road Test

The seats, as has become the norm for Volvo for decades, are very comfortable and supportive and finished in high-class leather. They come both heated and cooled here and that’s done in a nice, radiated way but they are operated by the touchscreen which isn’t my favourite. I’d much prefer a hard button interface, but I feel that’s a request that’s going to continually go unheeded as the car world advances.

Otherwise, the V90 is a comfortable place to sit both front and back; rear headroom is compromised a little bit, but the standard full-length moonroof does a great job of making it brighter both front and back and my guess would be that the kids that most commonly occupy the back seats will be much happier with brighter environs that a cathedral-like roof height. I guess when it comes to the front seats, all that I ask is that they find a way to make the gap felt when you lengthen the thigh extender less obvious. There’s also a ton of cargo space, to the tune of 1,517 litres with the rear seats folded.

Of course, what’s also accessed by the touchscreen is the latest and (some would say) greatest new arrival to in-car tech: Google Built-In.

2024 Volvo V90 Cross Country Road Test

All you have to do in the V90 is long in to your Google account, and you have access to many of the features and apps you’ve grown to love: Spotify, smart home services, Google Assistant, Google Maps – which is the native infotainment interface — and so on. It’s all arranged in a pleasing quadrant and not to worry; it’s a far cry from Ford’s original SYNC system which was also quadrant-based.

It’s a good move for Volvo as the company’s previous system was really getting long in the tooth. I’m less enamoured with the fact that too much has to be done by the driver in order to access certain features. If you want the 360-degree parking camera, for example, you need to ask for it by tapping the screen. And when you do get it, you no longer have the straight back view as the 360-degree view takes up the whole screen. I also found the tilt down mirrors would only do so if I first selected reverse as I prepared to park, then pressed the “L” or “R” mirror control button – twice. Odd.

Powertrain and Drive: In addition to the mild hybrid system “B6” designation provides, it also provides both a super charger and a turbocharger. So now, you have the electrical supercharger providing boost as soon as you tip in, with the turbo taking over as the necessary exhaust gasses have built up; it’s somewhat tri-powered, if you will. Through all this, you have the mild-hybrid system doing its due diligence and helping send 295 horsepower and 310 pound-feet of torque to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic transmission. It’s not the quickest shifter, though, and does not – repeat: does not – feature a paddle-activated manual mode. Normally, I wouldn’t be too bothered by this in a non-sports car but here, I did miss them.

2024 Volvo V90 Cross Country Road Test

Once the trans gets on board, the V90 comes off the line with gumption, moving through all eight speeds with nary a hint of turbo lag or any of that. Just smooth, linear acceleration that is yet another great indication why the station wagon is still a properly viable platform when it comes to a great mix of people moving and driving performance.

Even with my tester’s optional self-levelling air suspension, a little more lean is felt through the corners, and just a smidgeon more dive under braking and squat upon acceleration. Now, normally this is the place where I’d say “if you want some slightly more aggressive handling and performance, there’s always the R Design or Polestar model” but I won’t be, because there isn’t. If you want the V90, this is it.

The higher ride height does provide the kind of confidence normally reserved for SUVs and crossovers, though. Now, I wouldn’t go on an overlanding adventure with one — not without some substantial tweaking, anyway – but for most of the folks buying a car like this? Well, it’s right on the money.

Conclusion: Speaking of money – well, in this spec and with a host of option packages (including great Bowers & Wilkins audio, rear air suspension and those wheels), it tips the register at just under 85 grand. It’s a big chunk of change, but considering that both the Mercedes-Benz E450 All-Terrain and the Audi A6 Allroad both start at 85 grand (but both also make more power and torque from their six-cylinder turbos) and will likely transact at a much higher level than that, the V90 Cross Country is a relative bargain in the segment, small as it is.

2024 Volvo V90 Cross Country
Price as tested: $84,625.00
Freight: $2,620.00
Configuration: Front engine/All-wheel drive
Engine/transmission: 2.0-litre 4-cylinder turbo and 48V electric supercharger /8-speed automatic
Power/torque: 295 horsepower/ 310 lb-ft of torque
Fuel (capacity): Premium (60 L)
Combined fuel economy ratings (L/100 km): 9.5 L/100 km
Observed fuel economy (L/100 km): 11.2 L/100 km
Warranty: 4-years/80,000 km (basic)
Competitors: Audi A6 Allroad, Mercedes-Benz E450 4Matic All-Terrain
Website: Volvo Canada

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