2018 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 – Bottom Line Review

From its PV445 Duett to the P220 Amazon, the P1800e Shooting Brake, then to the rectilinear 200 DL, 700  and 900 series, followed by the front-drive based 850, successor V70s and their Cross Country ilk, with a smattering of more spherical small-compact V50, and the compact plus V60, Swedish carmaker Volvo has been a huge proponent of the estate vehicle. That’s “Station Wagon” to you and I, Yankees.

For 2018, with a new flexible modular platform in place and Chinese benefactor Geely pumping in Yuan or Krona, a Norse God of Thunder’s Hammer has pounded out a shapely full-size estate called V90.

Where the “V” stands for “En Stor Äventyrlig Vagn.”

And Cross Country implies an adventure to the Crossroads of Scandinavia and the Arctic Circle.

* * * * * * * * * * * *

WHAT: 2018 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 flagship large luxury station wagon/ estate, replacing the former V70 Cross Country in the brand’s lineup.

Standard Power: transverse intercooled turbocharged 2.0L DOHC 16V DI gas I-4 = 250 hp/ 258 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm + 8-spd. torque converter planetary transmission w/ shift paddles + Haldex IV all-wheel drive.

Optional Power: transverse intercooled supercharged, turbocharged 2.0L DOHC 16V DI gas I-4 = 316 hp/ 295 lb-ft @ 2200 rpm + 8-spd. torque converter planetary transmission w/ shift paddles + Haldex IV all-wheel drive.

WHAT (A) STYLING DIFFERENCE: A flagship wagon rides atop the Geely Volvo Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) modular platform.

2018 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6: Stares down permafrost

Ruggedized S90:  Split creased side valley, spill-over hood;  Cutting Edge hyphen engraved concave vertical slat hexagonal grille;  Inboard arrow wrap-around LED headlamps;  Thors Hammer alternating white DRLs/ amber flashers;  More prominent lower front fascia corners feature lose horizontal chrome splitter;  Lower front and rear valance matte silver simulated skid plates.

Sharp raked windshield; High belt-line; Sloping upper greeenhouse; Coke-bottle fuselage;  Door mount wing mirrors for improved outward view;  Thin, obtuse kinked “D” pillar flows to flared rear quarter panel shoulders;

2018 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6:

 Roof spoiler;  Musical clef vertical taillamp housings trace Kammback liftgate, terminating in inboard reflector housings under liftgate split line;  Wheel arch to wheel arch dark cladding;  Lower rear valance etched “Cross Country” band;  Deep load floor spill-over bumper lip;

2018 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6: Dual exhaust tips integrated into simulated rear lower skid plate

WHY: When it absolutely has to be an adventure inspiring luxury Vagn

WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since late Summer 2017

WHERE: Volvo new vehicle dealers, by special order

WHERE MADE: Torslanda, Gothenburg, Sweden

HOW ROADWORTHY: Low end supercharger boost turns out to be an elegant if not exuberant method of mitigating higher rpm wastegate turbocharger lag. In concert with the planetary 8-speed Aisin automatic transaxle, power streams. Urgent accelerator prodding hastens matters but is averse to produce an explosive multi-step kickdown.

Haldex IV all-wheel drive is rather passive. Being front-drive biased, it allows understeer fueled plow, then intervene with nearly all torque  90% torque split the rear open differential with ABS vectoring. Powerplant sounds are akin to mild groaning. +1 Drive Modes include Off-Road mode.

8.5″-inch ground clearance, with greater wheel travel seems to necessitate stiffer compression damping reproducing brittle compliance over rougher roads. Roll, weight transfer resistance and turn-in sharpness best most crossover ilk. Static, though weighty winding steering is low on road communication; +1 Luxury level body stiffness; -1 Tire rumble on concrete roads. -1 Brake pedal reaction = more luxury than enthusiast.

2018 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6: Pirelli 19″ runflat M+S tires demand optional rear air-spring suspension to dampen impact quiver.

HOW FAR: 24 combined miles per gallon; 450 highway miles

HOW BIG/ LITTLE: 5 Occupant 2+3 seating

2018 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6: Available Row 2 integrated outboard booster seat cushions

– For Comparison’s Sake:

  • 115.8″-inch Wheelbase: 4.4″ > Buick Regal TourX, 4.7″ < Volvo S90
  • Maximum cargo capacity: 27% < Buick Regal TourX
  • 2nd Row legroom: 1.0″ < Buick Regal TourX

HOW USEFUL: 60/40% split folding 2nd Row seat backs w/ center pass-through;  Cargo floor chrome load plate; Extended cargo load bumper cover; Spring raised cargo floor management panel w/ stretch straps, hooks; Cargo-area 12V outlet; Power liftgate w/ dual grab handles; Mouse-fur lined, damped action glove box; +1 Low cowl and and power folding rear outboard headrests aid outward view; +1 Non-intrusive cargo area wheel arch; –1 No overhead console retracting sunglass bin; –1 Sparse center console storage; –1 No dedicated center console mobile phone storage; -1 Lower side of cargo capacity among station wagons.

2018 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6: Wide lower power liftgate aperture for easy loading; Tight nap side sill to sill carpet lining for elegance
2018 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6: 60/40% split folding Row 2 seatbacks expand liftgate area cargo capacity
2018 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6: available Heads Up Display

HOW SAFE: 9 airbags; IIHS Top Safety Pick +; Surround view cameras; sonar front & rear Park Distance Control; Blind spot, rear cross traffic & lane departure warning; Auto parking brake hold; Auto high beam headlamps; Heads-Up display

Partial Autonomous Driving: Pilot Assist 2; Full-adaptive cruise control; Lane Keep Assist, Forward Collision avoidance braking. +1 Permits 23 seconds of hands/ foot free driving.

2018 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6: navigating highways w/ vivid 11.2″ LCD virtual gauge cluster & vertical tablet 9.0″ Sensus 4-pane LCD infotainment touch screen

Park Pilot = active parallel (passenger side only) & perpendicular parking

HOW PEOPLE FRIENDLY: Heated, cooled, 12-way power front seats, including torso bolsters & knee extenders, 2-setting driver’s memory; 4 power windows w/ full up/ down express; 3-Zone auto climate control w/ auto front seat heating/ cooling ;  Heated leather steering; 2nd Row and aft dark tint privacy glass; Power retracting rear headrests; Door puddle lamps x 4; Panoramic power moon-roof; -1 Manual tilt/ telescoping steering wheel;

2018 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6: A genuine driver’s seat if there ever was one.

Cool Gizmo(s): 9.2″-inch LCD Digital Drive Display w/ configurable LCD twin gauges;  Aluminum hammered barrel console twist ignition, roller Drive Mode controls;  B&W Nautilus dash top aluminum bullet tweeter speaker – Yellow Kevlar door speakers

Details Done Right: Brushed aluminum inlays, speaker housing covers & switch-gear; Dark wood veneer center console bin shade; Contrast stitched, perforated Nappa leather seating & upper door panels & dash-top; Full dashboard & door panel ambient LEDs;  Dense pile cargo area carpeting.

Nearly Non-Descript: -1 Black mesh cloth headliner;

HOW “APP” -LICABLE: 9″ Sensus vertical tablet-style, pane-swipe, touch LCD infotainment screen; Rotary audio volume dial, selection, defroster & Home screen switches ; Bluetooth, hands-free communications;  Voice-to-text SMS messaging;  Voice command/ guidance 3-D HDD GPS navigation;  Android Auto + Apple CarPlay;  Sensus Connected Apps: USB x 4, 12V x 3.

2018 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6: Driver’s eye view of Sensus navigation vs. Android Auto Google Maps navigation on the 9.0″ vertical touch tablet LCD display

Audibly: 19 speaker, 1400 W Bower & Wilkins = upper frequency sibilance, concert hall depth

By Subscription: SiriusXM (90 days incl.) ; Sirius TravelLink apps; 4G LTE by Verizon;

HOW MUCH: $64,640 = as tested 2018 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD

WHAT’S MISSING: Power steering wheel adjustment; Much needed exhaust character;

ANY COMPETITION: Audi A4 Allroad: +1 virtual cockpit, Torsen quattro, handling; Buick Regal Tour X: +1 price

FINAL WORD: At the Crossroads of New Scandinavian Flagship Wagon and the Arctic Circle.

An automotive enthusiast since an orange toy VW Beetle ended up in his playpen and following him everywhere, George Straton has been chief editor at ChicagoNow.com/Drive-He-Said automotive lifestyle blog since 2010. In 2017 George established Roadblazing.com, dedicated to accurate automotive reviews, news and road trip stories. George is a member of the Midwest Automotive Media Association and the Phoenix Automotive Press Association. George also happens to be an attorney and Loyola University of Chicago Ramblers fan. Present ride: 2022 Mazda 3 Turbo AWD Hatchback.

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