Volvo V90 Cross Country review road test

It is kind of an embarrassment for me to tell you that I haven’t driven a Volvo extensively before. Short bursts at the BIC or in Sweden don’t really count, do they? The vehicle you see on these pages, was first revealed to a select Indian audience in Sweden. I was part of that contingent. At that point of time, like the others present there, I was skeptical on the future of such a car for the Indian market. However,  good two years later, I have been proven wrong. While the numbers game may not be with Volvo, the company has influenced other luxury car makers to step in this space. I bet you’ve read about the Audi RS6 Avant and the Mercedes-Benz E_Class All Terrain  being launched recently. I had the Volvo V90 Cross Country for a couple of days and it was time to put it through the paces.

Design of the Volvo V90 Cross Country

Volvo V90 Cross Country

I quite like the way these estates look different from their sedan counterparts. No, I am not referring to just the tail section. You look at a V90 CC from a distance and you know this is the estate version coming at you. The bold grille, those tapering headlights with the Thor hammer DRLs and the fog lights all create a positive impression. The 20-inch wheels shod with Pirelli tyres look great as well. Addition of black cladding over the wheels enhance the rugged nature of the vehicle.  At the back, the lights are done in a typical Volvo fashion while the dual exhausts also peek at you. A aluminium skid plate is also present at the back.

Volvo V90 Cross Country

Interior of the Volvo V90 Cross Country

The Volvo V90 Cross Country has an all-brown leather upholstery. These don’t tend to get dirty very easily. Especially if you have kids with you. The front seats are electrically adjustable and also have memory function. Additional function for the seats include massage function, and heated or cooled option. However, given the off-road capable aspirations of the vehicle, it is a bit disappointing to note that you sit low. Four zone climate control is also on offer.

Volvo V90 Cross Country

The 9.0-inch tablet feels very fluid to touch and while it is devoid of Android or Apple connectivity, it is seamless. It takes a bit of time getting used to though. Everything right from the AC to the way the head-up display operates is defined through it. The Bowers and Wilkins sound system is good but not the best.

Volvo V90 Cross Country

Volvo V90 Cross Country

In terms of comfort, the seats are very good. Technically this is a four seater because of the big hump in the middle. The air vents at the back are placed on the pillars as well. There is a huge panoramic sunroof on offer as well. The boot opens electrically and has 600 litres of useable space. The loading lip is a bit high though and your spare wheel sits in the boot too. Want more space? An electric seat release will level the second row to liberate more than double the space.

Engine and transmission of the Volvo V90 Cross Country

Volvo uses a 2.0-litre D5 engine in the V90 CC. The diesel engine in this state of tune makes 235PS/480Nm. Power is transferred to the rear wheels via an 8-speed automatic gearbox. The diesel engine has a technology called Power Pulse that aims to eliminate turbo lag. However, you do feel the turbolag on the move. So, the technology definitely can be improved. The gearbox is quick to upshift but when the time comes, it is a bit slow to downshift. Volvo also offers paddle shifters with this engine.

Volvo V90 Cross Country

There are four driving modes on offer and these are activated by a scroll button in the centre console. The modes includes Eco, Comfort, Dynamic and Off-road. The latter is activated for speeds up to 40kmph. Hill descent as well as ascent are also activated in this mode. Power is sent to all four wheels with the bias being on the rear. The Volvo V90 Cross Country can do mild off-roading. During the course of this test, the soft compound Pirellis didn’t pick a single puncture.

Volvo V90 Cross Country

This Volvo is decently refined but up the pace and the clattery nature begins to show. We used Indizel fuel in the Volvo V90. As you may be aware, Indizel is a BS-VI compliant fuel. After tanking up, we immediately noticed that the engine noise became a tad more muted. The engine was also smoother in the process. Indizel claims that the fuel efficiency too goes up. We are happy to corroborate their claims. With regular fuel, the V90 CC returned an overall efficiency of 13.4kmpl.

With Indizel fuel, the number rose to 14kmpl. It is said that with regular use, the injectors tend to have less deposits, thereby increasing efficiency. Also, Indizel is almost Rs 2 less than your regular diesel, thereby enabling savings in the long run.

Ride and handling of the Volvo V90 Cross Country

This big Volvo rides on MacPhersons in the front and an air suspension at the back. Considerably, ride quality at the back is better than in the front. Volvo has set up the CC in a slightly stiff fashion. This means low speed ride quality is not so comfy as say the high speed one. The handling is also okayish and the vehicle does let you know of the extra length it carries behind. The steering wheel is heavy at low speeds but doesn’t particularly give much feedback when the speeds increase. Straight line stability though is good.

Volvo V90 Cross Country

At 210mm ground clearance, the Volvo V90 Cross Country is unfazed by the speed breakers and the like. Even with a full load that is. We though wish that this had translated to a commanding driving position. Unfortunately it hasn’t.

Safety features of the Volvo V90 Cross Country

Volvo V90 Cross Country

Being a Volvo has its own virtues. Safety kit being one of them. This Volvo has sensors at the front and back as well as cameras on the side. It gives you an all around view of the happenings. It can parallel park itself as well as get out. City Braking Assist, something which brakes the vehicle automatically should it detect that there is no input from the driver was activated once during our drive. So, it does work perfectly. But it’s a bit too sharp, we must say. In terms of other safety aids, there are eight airbags, ABS with EBD, Brake Assist, Lane Change Assist, traction control and more. There are also seat belt reminders for all the occupants and the Volvo will not allow you to drive unless you’ve strapped yourself.

Verdict of the Volvo V90 Cross Country

Volvo V90 Cross Country

The Volvo V90 Cross Country is priced at Rs 64 lakh ex-showroom. It’s competition includes the Mercedes-Benz E-class All terrain at Rs 75 lakh and the Audi RS6 Avant at Rs 1.4 crore. The Volvo gives you diesel economy, road presence, luxurious interior as well as class leading safety features. However the vehicle could have been a tad more fun to drive. However, if you are looking at a value for money offering, then head over right now to your nearest Volvo dealership.

Things we like about the Volvo V90 Cross Country

Road presence, luxurious interior, mild off-road capability

Things we don’t like in the Volvo V90 Cross Country

Takes the middle route, service and spares uncertainity


Volvo has just started CKD assembling the XC90 in India. It is likely that the V90 CC will also tread this path soon and the price may come down even further.

Volvo V90 Cross Country image gallery

Images by Donald Dsouza


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