FOR A large car, the Volvo V90 Cross Country is a sleek package.
Shaved of chunk and bulk, the all-road model presents a stylish option for those who would like to take their machine beyond the asphalt.
This is the final piece of the Swedish manufacturer’s 90 series line up, and delivers a look and feel to the range that is impressive.
Volvo’s reputation for safety in squarish, uncluttered forms took a battering in the hands of Ford. Sales fell and as it lost its Scandinavian way, in stepped the Chinese white knight, Zhejiang Geely, who injected US$11 billion in 2010 and allowed the Swedish form factor back into the brand.
The 90-year-old car manufacturer is known for pioneering safety aspects in their cars — shoulder-strap seat belt, rear-facing child seats, curtain style air bags — and now builds on this by pushing other elements of design to the market. Its aim is that by 2020, no one should be killed or injured in a new Volvo car (human stupidity aside).
The V90 CC continues to roll towards this goal with a five-seater that is easy on the eye as it is comfortable on the body. Introduced two decades ago, it represents the growing group of customers desirous of a balanced life — working hard and playing hard, indoors and outdoors.
The contours of its form are well balanced to project a sleek side profile. In the rear its larger mass gives it a greater sense of steadiness, while from the front, the highlights on the grille offer a trendy aspect.
With all-wheel drive and a ground clearance of 63.5mm, the V90CC does let you traverse more challenging terrain. Not that you’d find much to do here, but certainly a run up north would be a comfortable experience
The leather seats are accommodating and the roominess of the interior is conducive for long journeys. The panoramic roof gives you the option of having more light in the cabin, though this is a well-connected car, so it’s quite likely the occupants will be keen on their devices.
The centre console shows off the portrait display with all the necessary information on offer. Set in a dash of wood and plastic of various hues and textures, the Scandinavian minimalism is still in play.
On The Move
The five drive modes deliver enough to differentiate one from the other. In Eco mode, there is enough pull that it’s not struggling, and in Dynamic, the engine takes on a raspy tone and delivers to some extent, doing the 0-100kmh sprint in under 7.5 seconds. In Comfort mode, the V90CC settles into a barely audible purr.
In more exciting driving circumstances, you do have to fight the steering, but that adds to the engagement factor.
The IntelliSafe system allows for semi-autonomous features to kick in. All the rage it would seem these days, it helps to keep the car in lane and at a safe distance from other vehicles. This also helps to keep it on the road, and in the event it does head off the asphalt, the system will help in braking should a large animal loom. Wild boar may not be large enough.
By balancing its offering to include enhanced safety and contemporary yet practical design, Volvo continues to retain its relevance in the industry.
However, given the changes taking place to the car industry, it might be a totally different sort of vehicle that Volvo will have to deliver when it celebrates its centenary in 2027.
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Engine: Inline 4 cylinders, turbocharged
Max Power: 187kW@5,500rpm
Max Torque: 350Nm@1,500–4,800rpm
Transmission: 8-speed Automatic
0-100kmh: 7.4 seconds
Top Speed: 230kmh
Retail price: *$252,000
Please reconfirm price with dealer.
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