Review: Volvo V90 Cross Country (2017)

Rating:

Good value when compared to similar premium off-road estates, strong performance and impressive refinement from both D4 and D5. Excellent seats are ideal for long distances.

Standard boot space isn't as big as a Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain.

Recently Added To This Review

1 August 2019

Volvo announced installation of Vodafone data SIM car in all 2020MY Volvos. Allows car and occupants to be fully connected, with a WiFi hotspot, access to apps, real-time traffic information and safety... Read more

22 July 2019

Volvo recalled 70,000 S60, S80, S90 saloons, V40, V60, V70, V90 estates and XC60 and XC90 models sold in the UK from 2014 to 2018 fitted with 2.0 litre diesel engines. (See carbycar V60 good/bad 12-2-2006... Read more

7 August 2018 T5 added to V90 Cross Country range

Tuned to deliver 250PS and 350Nm of torque, the T5 has well-established credentials as a strong yet refined performer that delivers impressive fuel economy and emissions. It is matched as standard to... Read more

Volvo V90 Cross Country (2017): At A Glance

It may have a slightly more convoluted name, but the V90 Cross Country essentially replaces the XC70 in the Volvo line up. Now that XC moniker is only used for SUVs. So where does this V90 fit in? Well it's a more rugged off-road version of the V90 with a raised ride height - a rival for the likes of the Audi A6 Allroad.

And with the latest generation of Volvo models now good enough to be seen as genuine premium cars - it's a realistic alternative to the likes of the Audi and Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain.

But where it has those two beat is on price. The V90 Cross Country starts at £40k new whereas the cheapest A6 Allroad is more than £47,000. It's well equipped too with dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, navigation and a bright 12.3-inch colour touchscreen among the standard specification. 

While it may not come with a 3.0-litre engine like the Audi, the 2.0-litre diesel that's used in both the D4 and D5 models is one of the best diesels around. It's quiet, smooth and delivers excellent performance for its size.

In fact, the D5 is so good that it's often easy to forget it's only a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel. Official economy looks promising with a figure of more than 53mpg for both versions, so expect around 40mpg in real world driving.

While it has four-wheel drive and rugged bumpers, the V90 Cross Country is no proper off-roader, but it does have a higher ride height than the standard V90 and makes an excellent tow car with the power to haul a 2.5 tonne braked trailer.

The raised ride height means the Cross Country isn't as good in corners as a standard V90 but it still drives extremely well with plenty of grip and a reassuring feel through the steering. The impressively comfortable seats and well insulated cabin make this an ideal motorway car too.

Only the ride lets it down somewhat. It's on the firm side due to the tougher suspension and so is susceptible to the occasional jolt as it crosses potholes. The standard V90 rides better. But this is only a minor criticism of what is a very accomplished and impressive estate.

The interior is a real strong point with a high quality and solid feel mixed with a minimalist Scandinavian design. The huge iPad-style touchpad in the dash adds to the feeling that this is a car with modern tech on board. And one that's easily good enough to rival its premium competition.

What does a Volvo V90 Cross Country (2017) cost?

Contract hire from £383.51 per month
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Volvo V90 Cross Country (2017): What's It Like Inside?

Dimensions
Length 4936–4939 mm
Width 2052 mm
Height 1475–1543 mm
Wheelbase 2941 mm

Full specifications

If you're coming to the V90 Cross Country from the XC70 - which is the car this effectively replaces - you'll be pleasantly surprised by the interior. It's got far more style to it - with a minimalist Scandinavian design - which helps it feel different from the competition.

Whether you think it's better is of course personal taste, but there's lots of details to like, such as the neat start engine knob and the virtual instrument cluster. The quality is impeccable with a solid and well finished feel to every element.

And this being a Volvo, the seats are exceptionally comfortable and supportive. There's also lots of adjustment so finding a good driving position is simple, no matter what height you are. 

There's decent legroom for those in the back too, while the wide opening doors make fitting child seats very straightforward, helped by the raised ride height. There are two Isofix sets in the back (no central ones unfortunately) but they do at least come with proper plastic guides and covers, rather than being hidden away at the base of the seat backs.

The interior is well insulated from noise - both engine and road - so on the move it's a very serene place to be. If you've got young kids in the back it means peaceful nap times. Either that or you can listen to the Frozen soundtrack (again) in crystal clear surround sound...

At 560 litres, the standard boot space isn't as big as a Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain at 670 litres, but it's still a hugely practical load space with a wide opening, vertical sides and a minimal boot lip. As a result, getting pushchairs, heavy bags of compost or even the classic IKEA flatpack in and out, is no problem. 

Standard equipment levels are extremely high, with dual-zone climate control, heated front seats, navigation and a bright 12.3-inch colour touchscreen among the basic specification.

Plus as you'd expect, safety equipment impressive across the range, with automatic city brake and adaptive cruise control. Volvo's pilot assist is also included, which effectively allows the car to drive itself, in a semi-autonomous way, by controlling the speed and distance to the vehicle in front, along with steering adjustments.

Child seats that fit a Volvo V90 Cross Country (2017)

Our unique Car Seat Chooser shows you which child car seats will fit this car and which seat positions that they will fit, so that you don't have to check every car seat manufacturer's website for compatibility.

Which car seat will suit you?

What's the Volvo V90 Cross Country (2017) like to drive?

Despite the badge, the D5 is sadly no longer a five-cylinder engine. Instead it's now a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel. A step backward? Well it's more economical - Volvo's official figures say the D5 PowerPulse will average 53.3mpg. Although judging my Real MPG you should be seeing around 40mpg in every day driving.

While it may be a smaller engine, it's not lacking in power with 235PS but it's the hefty amount of torque - 480Nm - that gives it effortless acceleration and means you'll rarely be found wanting for performance. 

The same 2.0-litre diesel is used in the D4, albeit with power restricted to 190PS and torque at 400Nm. But again this rarely feels underpowered and in everyday driving gives you more than enough poke for joining fast moving traffic from a short slip road. It should prove marginally more economical than the D5 with a claimed 54.3mpg.

Both versions are impressively refined and we'd go as far as to say this 2.0-litre diesel is one the best around. It's quiet, powerful and smooth too. Only the Mercedes E 220 d betters it. And that's marginal.

An eight-speed automatic is standard which delivers smooth shifts and is rarely caught in the wrong gear, so you won't have to force it to kickdown a gear. That said, the V90 Cross Country is a car that's better suited to relaxed progress rather than being hustled along.

The steering is nicely weighted but the extra ride height - this Cross Country sits 65mm higher than a standard V90 - means it's not what you'd call 'dynamic' in corners. But the handling is nontheless secure and it feels reassuring in the wet with plenty of grip and of course the added traction of four-wheel drive.

It also makes a good tow car, with the four-wheel drive system allowing the D4 version to tow up to 2.4 tonnes, when hooked up to a braked trailer, which is 600kg more than the standard V90 D4.

While you're unlikely to take it seriously off-road, the Cross Country does have an off-road drive mode, which will automatically control the vehicle's speed when going down steep slopes. There are no low ratio gears, but the off-road mode will optimise the engine and gearbox to provide high revs.

The ride quality is a bit of a strange one. Given the raised suspension, you'd expect it to be super soft - and for the most part it is very forgiving. However, the fact the springs are tougher, means the V90 Cross Country is susceptible to the occasional jolt over potholes. As a result, it doesn't quite iron out rough country lanes as much as you'd expect. Which is ironic given the name...

The slightly higher driving position does give you a better view out though, which is handy as the V90 is not the smallest estate around and feels quite wide on narrow roads. But at least it has rear parking sensors to make getting into supermarket bays a bit easier.

Engine MPG 0-62 CO2
D4 AWD 50–54 mpg 8.8 s 138–147 g/km
D5 AWD 50–53 mpg 7.5 s 139–151 g/km
T5 AWD 37–38 mpg 7.4 s 172–176 g/km
T6 AWD 36–37 mpg 6.3 s 176–183 g/km

Real MPG average for a Volvo V90 Cross Country (2017)

Real MPG was created following thousands of readers telling us that their cars could not match the official figures.

Real MPG gives real world data from drivers like you to show how much fuel a vehicle really uses.

Average performance

80%

Real MPG

22–53 mpg

MPGs submitted

30

Diesel or petrol? If you're unsure whether to go for a petrol or diesel (or even an electric model if it's available), then you need our Petrol or Diesel? calculator. It does the maths on petrols, diesels and electric cars to show which is best suited to you.