The taller, tougher Volvo V90 Cross Country is the ultimate anti-SUV
When it comes to driving a family car and retaining one’s motoring dignity, there are really only two real options: SUV or wagon. (Sorry minivan-ers, I’m just not ready to go there. Yet.) Traditionally, Americans have favored the former to the point that many foreign automakers don’t even bother bringing wagon variants stateside anymore. Not the sly, safety-loving Swedes at Volvo, however. They’ve been bucking that trend for almost 20 years. And a big part of how has been by offering the ultimate un-wagon of wagons, the Cross Country.
With a lifted ride height and rugged lower body cladding, Volvo’s Cross Country wagons have provided viable alternatives to the taller, often less-efficient SUVs and crossovers that have come to dominate the people- and gear-hauling car space. The all-new V90 Cross Country follows that same formula, only with improved results over its predecessor, the retired (and smaller) XC70 wagon. That’s in large part because the latest Cross Country’s underpinnings – the standard V90 wagon – was pretty much car-porn for suburban soccer moms (and dads). Elegantly eye-catching exterior design, surprisingly posh interior, and of course safety technology up the wazoo – it was pretty much the total anti-SUV package.
With the Cross Country, you get all that – and some extra bravado. Part of that is the height. The V90 Cross Country has been jacked up roughly 2.5 inches, which sounds like nothing until you get next to the thing and see that its overall ground clearance of just over 8 inches adds both presence and light off-road potential. A reprogrammed electronic chassis, softer tires, rear air suspension and massaging seats ensure that comfort continues should your Cross Country take the road less traveled (or paved). All-wheel drive and a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is both turbocharged and supercharged (in T6 spec) creating 316 hp and 295 lb.-ft. of torque will definitely get you over some craggy terrain.
The main sacrifice in choosing the V90 Cross Country over an SUV is seating: There’s no third-row option in the Cross Country, so maximum occupancy is five. Looking at the V90 Cross Country, it’s hard to say whether it’s more of a lifted wagon or squat crossover SUV. For the record, Volvo is calling it a “luxury crossover wagon” which doesn’t really clear things up. One thing is clear, though: This ain’t your mama’s minivan.