Swedish car maker Volvo has been introducing some impressive machinery lately. Cars such as the XC90 and svelte S90 are showing just what it is capable of.
Now though, Volvo South Africa has decided to introduce the V90 Cross Country, an estate car with some rugged abilities. I decided to take it on a road trip to see just what it’s all about.
What is the V90 Cross Country?
It’s an estate car with a slightly higher ground clearance as well as all-wheel drive. This gives it some off-road abilities which would come in handy as I was headed to Marataba, a luxury game lodge located within the Marakele National Park in Limpopo. Getting there would require a three-and-a-half hour drive from Johannesburg. It was the perfect trip to test out the handsome V90 Cross Country.
The Cross Country shares the same family DNA as that of the XC90 and the S90 models. From the front, the classically inspired Volvo grille stands out thanks to its curved design. The headlights feature Volvos now familiar Thor’s Hammer design day-time running lights.
Along the side, it is easy to see that the V90 is down with getting dirty. This is mostly due to the addition of wheel arch covers as well as bigger diameter tyres. However, it is the ground clearance of 210mm that really sets this estate apart from the others.
Around back, the estate features a striking design element with some resemblance to the XC90. It is, like the rest of the line-up, a really good looking car, even with all the rugged additions.
Inside the Volvo
Inside, one will notice that the car looks very similar to that of the S90 sedan. A simple dashboard layout which features a large touchscreen display takes centre stage.
What I really like is the attention to detail, especially when it comes to the start button and the volume control for the radio. They feature a crystal-like design which adds a noticeable touch of class. Other nice features include quality leather, soft touch materials and comfortable seats.
As one would expect from a car this size, space is a plus with the boot area able to load a lot more than you would think, even more so when you fold the rear seats down. Rear leg room is also impressive. I also enjoyed the large panoramic roof which really gives the interior a more spacious feel.
The engine and drive
The model I drove was the top-of-the-range T6 Inscription AWD. The T6 means that under the bonnet is a 2.0-litre twin charged petrol motor which develops an impressive 235kW and 400Nm. Add in the smooth shifting eight-speed Geartronic gearbox, and the combination is ideal for a fun drive.
Unfortunately, all that fun does come at a cost, a fuel cost. I averaged around 10.0-litres/100km over my 500km with the car. I will admit that I made full use of the different driving modes which include Comfort, Dynamic and Eco. Seeing as though the Cross Country has some off road abilities, there is another mode called Off-Road which sets the car up to tackle the rough stuff.
When I arrived at the lodge, I was greeted by frigid, wet weather. This meant that there was a lot of mud on the trails. In a normal sedan or estate this would be a problem, but the V90 handled it well. As beautiful as it is, it did not mind getting dirty. Surprisingly, the car did not seem out of place in the bush and I even managed to cross a river. Sure it’s not as capable as a full-on SUV, but not once did I feel that I needed one.
After spending a good few days with the car in an absolutely stunning location, I can say that the V90 Cross Country is a great vehicle. It is massively practical, full of the latest safety as well as infotainment technology.
The only problem is that we South Africans tend to shy away from the estate car in general. SUVs rule the road here and as good as the Volvo is, I feel that with an asking price of R921 300 for the model I drove, without any extras, buyers might opt for an SUV such as the XC90 instead. Luckily for them, the XC90 is just as impressive so the decision won’t be a bad one. If you are considering the V90 Cross Country though, I would recommend one of the diesel models as an alternative.
Article written by Justin Jacobs