2018 Volvo V90

PHOENIX — The all-new 2018 Volvo V90 Cross Country is one of the best luxury wagons in the world. But is it good enough to persuade SUV-crazed new car shoppers to forego their high-end utes and opt for the Swedish built Volvo Wagon?
You do remember station wagons, don’t you? Although both demand and product availability in the wagon market has shrunk dramatically in recent years, thanks to the immense popularity of SUVs and crossover vehicles, few automakers have remained as dedicated to the station wagon as Volvo, having sold millions worldwide to date.

Big, elegant, and beautifully crafted, the V90 is based on Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform, giving the vehicle an excellent ride and roomy interior. The Cross Country seems the perfect automobile, with large doors, comfortable seating for five, and 53.9 cubic feet of cargo space with 60/40 split-folded rear seats accessed via a top-hinged rear hatch. 

Volvo has really brought its “A” game with its recent design language, and the beautifully styled V90 is no exception. In particular, we like the concave grille inspired by the classic Volvo P1800 coupe, Thor’s hammer light design, long hood and steeply raked windshield. The aerodynamic coherence of the sweeping arched roofline flowing to the raked rear hatch is automotive design at its finest.

Slip behind the wheel, and you’re immediately immersed in Scandinavian luxury — elegant hand-stitched Nappa leather wrapping the steering wheel, instrument panel, door trim and seating. There’s even a tiny Swedish flag sewn into the front passenger seat as a reminder of its origin.

Most vehicle controls are operated via the 12.3-inch tablet-like portrait-oriented Sensus Connect™ touchscreen that’s attractive, bright, crystal clear and fast acting, allowing you to swipe right and left for various operating controls.

The hallmark of Volvo vehicles is the reputation for safety, and the S90 carries on that tradition with a full suite of safety systems, advanced architectural structure and materials, including ample high-strength boron steel. The standard forward-collision avoidance system, known as City Safety, is the umbrella name for all Volvo cars’ auto-brake functions. It also includes the world’s first automatic braking should the driver turn in front of an oncoming vehicle. Other standard safety features include pilot assist (a semi-autonomous driving system), a side-impact protection system, whiplash protection system, lane-departure warning, and run off-road protection/mitigation.

The wagon is powered by a 2.0-liter turbo/supercharged four-cylinder with 316 horsepower and an eight-speed automatic transmission. Performance is brisk and it takes about six seconds to accelerate to 60 mph. It’s currently the only engine available but we wouldn’t be surprised to see a hybrid offering down the road.

We drove our test V90 on mostly paved Arizona roads along with some off-road trails where the vehicle skillfully cleared rocks, ruts and humps. I was more than impressed with its agile driving dynamics, flat cornering, and quiet cabin.

If by some chance I have tempted you to test drive the V90 Cross Country when you’re out shopping for an SUV, you’ll be treated to a fantastic vehicle that’s drop-dead gorgeous, incredibly practical and will have you flying first-class every time you slip behind the wheel. But somehow we think Americans will stick with their SUVs.

Vital Stats

Base Price: $55,300
Price as Tested: $64,540
Engine: 2.0-Liter Turbo/Supercharged 4-cylinder
Horsepower: 316
Fuel Economy: 22-MPG City – 30-MPG Highway
Crash Test Safety Ratings: Not yet rated

Competes With

Audi A6 Wagon
BMW 5-Series Wagon
Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon
Sport Utility Vehicles

What Stands Out

Gorgeous exterior styling
Luxurious interior with comfortable seats
Impressive alternative to an SUV

— Jim Prueter