Volvo is a brand that’s well known for its wagons, and the Swedish firm’s latest long-roof models—including this 2021 V90 Cross Country—are moving this body style upmarket. Based on the normal V90 wagon, the V90 Cross Country adds a lifted suspension and standard all-wheel drive for improved capability in inclement weather. Like the smaller V60 Cross Country, the V90 Cross Country comes with more rugged styling cues to match its go-anywhere persona. It also earns a spot on our Editors’ Choice list. Inside, real wood trim, sculpted seats, and a large cargo area balance practicality with luxury to good effect. Driver-assistance features abound, including standard automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection and a semi-autonomous driving mode.
What’s New for 2021?
Like its sedan and wagon counterparts, the V90 Cross Country receives a light refresh for the 2021 model year, complete with tweaks to exterior styling, a new Bowers & Wilkins stereo system, and a cabin-air particulate-filtering system. The V90 Cross Country’s turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder engine—called T6 in Volvo-speak—is expected to carry over unchanged to 2021, even though European models will be offered with a 48-volt hybrid system.
Engine, Transmission, and Performance
The T6 engine is a supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 316 horsepower. Acceleration is fairly brisk, but the power delivery isn’t consistently linear across the entire rev range. At the test track, our test car managed to hit 60 mph in 5.9 seconds, which is quick for a family wagon. The Mercedes-Benz E450 wagon is quicker still, zipping to 60 mph in just 4.8 seconds. Although the V90 Cross Country does not feel overtly sporty, it is nimble, rides well, and offers impressive cornering competence. The brakes are strong despite the spongy-feeling pedal, and in our 70-to-0-mph braking test, the V90 Cross Country came to a halt in 173 feet.
Fuel Economy and Real-World MPG
Because of its small displacement, forced-induction engine, the V90 Cross Country has one of the highest EPA fuel-economy ratings in the luxury-wagon segment. However, it failed to meet expectations in our real-world test of its highway fuel economy. The EPA says the V90 Cross Country should get 30 mpg on the highway, but we saw 29 mpg over our 200-mile route.
Interior, Comfort, and Cargo
Mercedes-Benz aside, no company is doing luxury interiors better than Volvo. The Swedish brand’s warm and comforting cabins offer a compelling argument for its wagons’ premium prices. They offer high-quality trimmings, elegant design, and substantive technology. Two-tone leather on the steering wheel, textured knobs, beautiful open-pore wood, artful speaker covers, a vertically oriented tablet-style infotainment screen—it all helps separate the Volvo’s vehicles from the pack. As is the case with most wagons, the V90 Cross Country offers generous amounts of interior space. However, it is not quite as efficient in the cargo-hauling department as Mercedes is. Nor can it beat the nonluxury Subaru Outback in that area. The Mercedes and the Subaru both held more carry-on suitcases behind their rear seats than did the Volvo. With all the seats folded, the V90 Cross Country held 21 cases while the Outback had room for 22 and the E-class, 24.