2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD new car reviews

We're keeping the all-wheel-drive wagon theme rolling. We reviewed the Subaru Impreza last week and the Volkswagen Golf SportWagen before that. Now we're looking at a slightly more upscale option. The Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD wagon starts at $55,300, but our test car checked out at $69,440 thanks to a bunch of additions, including the Luxury Package, Convenience Package and a Bowers and Wilkins sound system.

It's both supercharged and turbocharged, squeezing 316 horsepower out of its 2.0-liter engine.

Other staff views

J.G. Pasterjak JG Pasterjak
Production/Art Director

No brown station wagon has any right being this sexy. Yet here we are. The V90 Cross Country is, inside and out, one of the more stunning cars we’ve seen in a while. The outside is a nice mix of aggression and subtlety, while inside is a nice mix of retro-futuristic art-deco touches and organic-feeing materials and textures.

But, sadly, the V90 seems to suffer from being less than the sum of its parts.

Admittedly, there’s not much wrong with the car. But the things that are wrong seem particularly annoying. All those shiny, neo-noir switches and handles inside the car look dope, but they’re as hot as a Geno’s Pizza Roll that just came out of the oven. You want so bad to grab it and be one with its cheesy deliciousness, but the pain turns you away.

The infotainment center is easy to read and seems intuitive… at first. Then you get three layers deep in a menu trying to change a setting and realize you went down the wrong rabbit hole.

Dynamically and practically, the V90 is an excellent car, and maybe these annoying distractions are completely overcomeable. Maybe some good window tint solves the surface heat issue. Maybe more time with the touchscreen gets you more familiar with the UI and it starts to make sense. Hopefully that’s the case, as this is a car that loves to be driven. We just want to love driving it more.

David S. Wallens David S. Wallens
Editorial Director

Whoever thought that a brown Volvo station wagon could look so good but, yes, it totally does. The shape. The details. And that color. Remember when our parents warned us that one day all cars would resemble shapeless blobs? Well, we’re not there yet.

Okay, the important stuff. 
The good: It’s not slow. It’s not going to outrun my M3, but it’s not a slug. It rides as nicely as you’d expect. On the highway it’s quiet and composed. In town it’s right on target.

The interior features all of the latest and greatest accoutrements. Heated seats? Of course. Cooled seats? Definitely. Massaging seats? Yep.

Enough room for my BMX bike? Easily.

The less good: Does the start knob have to be chrome-plated? On a hot day, it’s like grabbing a soldiering iron. I know, it sounds like a minor complaint, but a $70,000 car shouldn’t leave you making even the slightest quibble. (And on a related note, the chrome trim on the steering wheel also got nuclear hot down here in Florida.)

Let’s back up a second: $70,000 for a Volvo wagon!? Okay, some ’splaining. The V90 Cross Country T6 AWD starts at $55,300.

But then there are the options found on our test car: $4500 for the luxury package that adds things like leather interior, those massaging front seats and a climate controlled glove box; $595 for the totally justifiable Maple Brown Metallic paint; and $1950 for a Convenience Package that tacks on the heated washer nozzles, 360-degree camera and some more bells and whistles. But wait, we’re not done yet: $3200 for the Bowers and Wilkins sound system, $900 for the head-up display, $800 for the dubs and $1200 for the Premium Air Suspension in Rear, which makes me wonder what the standard one is like. Then add in a $995 destination fee, bringing the total to $69,440.

I’m at their site building up my own. Yes, I went with the brown, but I don’t really need most of those options. I am splurging $145 for the bike rack, but so far my total is $55,890. Yeah, that’s still way, way, way above my budget, but it’s also not $70,000.

And, realistically, well, not really because I’m dreaming here, I’d do a V90 R-Design. Once you opt for the T6 engine, you’re at $56,945 for this totally boss wagon. You can’t get the brown, though, but Volvo offers more neutrals than you ever thought possible. “Would you prefer the Savile Grey Metallic, Electric Silver Metallic or the Osmium Grey Metallic?”

“Give me the Bright Silver Metallic, please.”

Okay, back to our test car. I also didn’t find the touchscreen super-intuitive and, yes, I’m a Mac guy. All I want to do is crank down the a/c. I was cool with buttons but, like JG noted, you’d probably get used to it over time. Although, I have to say, we’re in different cars each week, and I still never quite got comfortable with this setup.

Final thoughts: Would I rather drive this than an SUV? Any day of the week. And twice on Sunday. If it were my 70 or even 55 large on the line, though, I’d want a few of those minor annoyances cleaned up. Don’t make me walk down to the Audi store.

Join Free Join our community to easily find more articles.

Comments

View comments on the GRM forums
Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
7/18/17 3:57 p.m.

"The less good: Does the start knob have to be chrome-plated? On a hot day, it’s like grabbing a soldiering iron. I know, it sounds like a minor complaint, but a $70,000 car shouldn’t leave you making even the slightest quibble. (And on a related note, the chrome trim on the steering wheel also got nuclear hot down here in Florida.)"

While Volvo may now be owned by the Chinese, once in awhile you can tell the company is based in Sweden.

Volvo had a V90 (non-XC) at the New York Auto Show in the Maple Brown - I love that color.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/18/17 4:21 p.m.

I hate to pick such small nits, but when you're driving away in a $70,000 car, you should have any complaints, especially ones that involve pain and/or discomfort.

And, yeah, all cars should come in that color.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/18/17 4:23 p.m.

And tell me that the non-Cross Country isn't too cool:

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
7/18/17 4:40 p.m.

In reply to David S. Wallens:

Oh yes. If I didn't have a general phobia about having a car loan again, I would have been at the loca dealer placing an OSD order for a V90 in Maple Brown Metallic with tan/cream leather. Base T5 version with FWD.

For now, I'll have to look longingly at my crusty 1800ES and imagine it painted that color some day.

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/18/17 5:04 p.m.

Speaking of brown, I saw this last weekend. It looked all the wow.

Vigo
Vigo UltimaDork
7/19/17 2:51 p.m.

It's common for people to think I'm crazy but I've been pining for a Volvo to look this good ever since I belatedly realized how damn good looking the original S80 was. The S90/V90 finally gives me the New-Volvo eye candy I've been waiting for. I love the design, and my only complaint is that the only one I've been able to spend any time with in real life was in such horribly drab colors that it managed to wipe all the panache off a beautiful design.

conesare2seconds
conesare2seconds Dork
7/19/17 10:37 p.m.

Yes, that is one handsome wagon. Very anxious to see how it stacks up against the Regal this fall. The Buford may be nearly as good for $20k less, and I think it looks great too.

DrBoost
DrBoost MegaDork
7/20/17 5:52 a.m.

I hate to pick nits, but this is GRM? $70K a LOT of coin for a car, and more than 70 times what I paid for my DD Volvo wagon.
I find myself increasingly in the minority here as things evolve, so I'm just throwing that out there.
I love to see articles about cheaper alternatives, or that awesome tool that is useful in the shop, or that car that was under-appreciated when new and can be had for pennies on the dollar now and returns great performance/lux/uniqueness.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
7/20/17 6:37 a.m.

In reply to DrBoost:

I don't think anyone here disagrees with you, but as a semi-mainstream magazine the GRM staff are somewhat beholden to review the cars presented to them, within a somewhat broad criteria.

The staff does profile interesting used cars in just about every issue. The recent article on the VW MkIV GTI, for example. While I would have expanded the scope of that article to cover the MkIV in general, it essentially meets your criteria.

fanfoy
fanfoy Dork
7/20/17 7:26 a.m.

I tried the V90 and it's exactly the kind of daddy-mobile I'd want. It's gorgeous inside and out. It drives nicely.

It's a great car that's greatly over-priced.

Around here, the base price of a V90 is $8K more than an XC90. How that is justifiable to Volvo, I have no idea. And people seem to have noticed because I have yet to see a single V90 on the road.

DrBoost
DrBoost MegaDork
7/20/17 9:04 a.m.
Ian F wrote: In reply to DrBoost: I don't think anyone here disagrees with you, but as a semi-mainstream magazine the GRM staff are somewhat beholden to review the cars presented to them, within a somewhat broad criteria. The staff does profile interesting used cars in just about every issue. The recent article on the VW MkIV GTI, for example. While I would have expanded the scope of that article to cover the MkIV in general, it essentially meets your criteria.

Yeah, you're right. Maybe my Corn Flakes just didn't agree with me today and I was just salty.
I don't care much to read about cars that are way out of reach for me (yes, 70K is out of my reach), but if I do, I'd rather read about them here than MT, C/D, or R&T.
It just feels like the affordability factor is leaving the mag. Then again, when is racing affordable?

The0retical
The0retical SuperDork
7/20/17 10:56 a.m.

In reply to DrBoost:

I'd like a comparison on how this stacks up against the Buick Regal TourX. What does that 20k to 30k premium get me when going from the Buick (are they even a luxury brand?) to the Volvo. I'm allergic to loans that are closing in on the cost of my mortgage so I'm not exactly the target audience for this thing (I used the 48 month loan as a baseline) as badly as I want my wife to consider one of these when the X-Terra is finally retired.

As far as GRM goes I'm glad to see the return of tech articles, there's a fine line there between building things and simply doing product announcements and placement on "project" cars. Powerblock is a good example of how that can go off the rails. GRM has done a pretty good job at avoiding that trap.

DrBoost
DrBoost MegaDork
7/20/17 11:32 a.m.
The0retical wrote: In reply to DrBoost: I'd like a comparison on how this stacks up against the Buick Regal TourX. What does that 20k to 30k premium get me when going from the Buick (are they even a luxury brand?) to the Volvo. I'm allergic to loans that are closing in on the cost of my mortgage so I'm not exactly the target audience for this thing (I used the 48 month loan as a baseline) as badly as I want my wife to consider one of these when the X-Terra is finally retired.

Now THAT would be interesting. It fits the 'I'm cheap' or 'I'm frugal with my hard-earned money' aspect of GRM.

Ian F
Ian F MegaDork
7/20/17 4:36 p.m.

In reply to DrBoost:

That would be an interesting article, but I'm still not sure that is the sort of editorial material the GRM crew go after. That is the sort of story that requires a sizable investment in manpower to do. Cars would need to be scheduled with the manufacturers so they have them for a coordinated block of time. Then they have to really review them with focus over an extended period. These are the sort of articles that are essentially the bread & butter of rags like R&T, C&D and MT. It seems they devote a substantial amount of manpower towards these types of articles.

The GRM crew can correct me if I'm wrong, but these reviews read like they get a car from the press fleet, take turns using it as their general driver for the time they have it. Then they give it back and write up some quick thoughts about it. They generally aren't doing 0-60 times, measuring braking distances, or doing slalom testing. They just drive the car and then write about it. Quick and easy and doesn't take the staff away from their main focus.

DrBoost
DrBoost MegaDork
7/20/17 7:40 p.m.

That's the impression I get too.

APEowner
APEowner HalfDork
7/21/17 9:16 a.m.
DrBoost wrote: I hate to pick nits, but this is GRM? $70K a LOT of coin for a car, and more than 70 times what I paid for my DD Volvo wagon. I find myself increasingly in the minority here as things evolve, so I'm just throwing that out there. I love to see articles about cheaper alternatives, or that awesome tool that is useful in the shop, or that car that was under-appreciated when new and can be had for pennies on the dollar now and returns great performance/lux/uniqueness.

Rather than think about it as a new car review think about it as an article about conning a manufacturer out of an example of their latest and greatest and thrashing it around for a week under guise of a road test. What's more grass roots than beating on a car that you don't have any money invested in?

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/21/17 9:46 a.m.

Okay, why the online review of the $70k Volvo. We get test cars weekly--sometimes two per week. We're on a set rotation with the manufactures as well as the agents who deliver their cars. Once you're in rotation, logistically it's way, way easier to keep on it. Otherwise each swap becomes a two-man operation on their end. That gets expensive.

This week we have a Toyota Yaris and a Hyundai Ioniq. Last week was the Volvo wagon and a Dodge SUV. The Type R is on deck once it's in the Florida fleet. That should be really soon.

Why do we get these cars? It's nice to see what's available. Some of the cars are aimed right at our market, some aren't. Either way, it's good for the staff to know what's going on in the mainstream. When I'm talking to my friend in Volvo's PR department about borrowing the P1800 from their collection, I like being able to also talk about their latest offerings. It's just part of how our world operates.

These tests also leave us with some great historical perspective. Want to know what it's like to live with an Eagle Talon, 20-year-old Camaro SS or 10AE Miata? Thanks to our usual rotation, we can. (I actually got hit in the Talon, but that's another story.)

A lot of these reviews won't make the magazine. In fact, just a few will. However, since pixels are still free, we post reviews of all of the cars here online. Maybe someone here is looking for a high-end Volvo. Or maybe a friend or a relative is. Or maybe someone Googling for a review will find ours, take a few minutes to look around, and like what they see here.

When it comes to cars that are aimed right at us--the MX-5, Fiat Spider, etc.--then, yes, we will arrange track time, run numbers and work on more content. For stuff like the Volvo wagon, we just can't justify it.

And, to be honest, our forte is doing project cars, hands-on tech, etc. That's where our focus lies, so that's what you mostly see in the magazine.

TL;DR: The Volvo wagon review isn't blocking out any of our usual content, especially when it comes to the magazine.

yupididit
yupididit Dork
7/21/17 12:44 p.m.

I like these different reviews. There are many people in the GRM community that have cars that are over 70k. I love how diverse it is here and how diverse the articles are. We had the starion article last week and a 70k volvo right here. Love it!

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/21/17 1:34 p.m.
yupididit wrote: I like these different reviews. There are many people in the GRM community that have cars that are over 70k. I love how diverse it is here and how diverse the articles are. We had the starion article last week and a 70k volvo right here. Love it!

Thanks. And that's the truth that our little motorsports world contains people from all kinds of tax brackets. A racing buddy once mentioned a car that he has back at home--it's a million dollar car. And when I say a million dollars, it's something that sold new for a million dollars and has always been worth at least a million dollars. So I used some of my j-school research skills and found out his real background. Yep, he can afford a million dollar car. Or two or three. And likely even more. I realize that his situation doesn't define all of ours, but we all have our definition of "low-buck."

David S. Wallens
David S. Wallens Editorial Director
7/21/17 1:57 p.m.

Note that the above doesn't mean that we're changing our editorial focus. Just stating a recent observation.

DrBoost
DrBoost MegaDork
7/21/17 1:58 p.m.
David S. Wallens wrote: Okay, why the online review of the $70k Volvo. We get test cars weekly--sometimes two per week. We're on a set rotation with the manufactures as well as the agents who deliver their cars. Once you're in rotation, logistically it's way, way easier to keep on it. Otherwise each swap becomes a two-man operation on their end. That gets expensive. This week we have a Toyota Yaris and a Hyundai Ioniq. Last week was the Volvo wagon and a Dodge SUV. The Type R is on deck once it's in the Florida fleet. That should be really soon. Why do we get these cars? It's nice to see what's available. Some of the cars are aimed right at our market, some aren't. Either way, it's good for the staff to know what's going on in the mainstream. When I'm talking to my friend in Volvo's PR department about borrowing the P1800 from their collection, I like being able to also talk about their latest offerings. It's just part of how our world operates. These tests also leave us with some great historical perspective. Want to know what it's like to live with an Eagle Talon, 20-year-old Camaro SS or 10AE Miata? Thanks to our usual rotation, we can. (I actually got hit in the Talon, but that's another story.) A lot of these reviews won't make the magazine. In fact, just a few will. However, since pixels are still free, we post reviews of all of the cars here online. Maybe someone here is looking for a high-end Volvo. Or maybe a friend or a relative is. Or maybe someone Googling for a review will find ours, take a few minutes to look around, and like what they see here. When it comes to cars that are aimed right at us--the MX-5, Fiat Spider, etc.--then, yes, we will arrange track time, run numbers and work on more content. For stuff like the Volvo wagon, we just can't justify it. And, to be honest, our forte is doing project cars, hands-on tech, etc. That's where our focus lies, so that's what you mostly see in the magazine. TL;DR: The Volvo wagon review isn't blocking out any of our usual content, especially when it comes to the magazine.

Yeah, I get it. To be honest, I was grumpy that morning and itnwas either lash out at a $70K car review or kick the dog (disclaimer: I would NEVER kick my dog).
If it facilitates you folks hosting the challenge and the like, keep it up.

Grassroots Motorsports Magazine

Subscribe Today

Also get your instant access to the digital edition of Grassroots Motorsports Magazine!

Learn More
RZ3uLVqnZFXKpddjbplxCITp2aGTlvxg