We head to frigid north Sweden to sample Volvo’s rugged all-wheel drive estate that's headed to India later this year.
Published on Feb 13, 2017 11:55:00 AM
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What’s it like to drive?
While the V90 Cross Country is available with a ‘T6’ petrol engine – a supercharged and turbocharged four-cylinder with over 300hp – Volvo says it will only consider bringing it to India if a demand for it ever arises.
What we will get is the 2.0-litre diesel, but not the 190hp D4 from the S90, but rather a new 235hp D5 – 10hp up from the D5 in the XC90. We didn't really get to push it – less because of the speed limit, more because of the sheet ice spread comprehensively all over the Swedish roads – but first impressions were good. It may be heavier than an S90 but it's still lighter than an XC90, so the D5’s 480Nm of torque is more than ample. Power delivery is not ferocious, so enthusiast drivers shouldn't go into this expecting anything more, and as with the S90, the driving experience is far more relaxed; also the reason why you won't miss those shift paddles.
As with the power, the very Scandinavian winter, combined with mostly straight and smooth roads meant we didn't really get a good indication of the V90 Cross Country’s ride and handling. Over the few rough patches we did encounter though, it seems the raised ride height hasn't compromised comfort, but then again, it does also have air suspension. Speaking of which, there isn't a raise/lower function like in some other cars equipped with air suspension at all four corners. Instead, the car chooses a preset ride height and firmness setting based on the mode you're in – Eco, Rough Road, Comfort or Dynamic. Again, the steering isn't one for the enthusiast, as we discovered in greater detail when we were let loose to have some fun on a frozen lake bed. It's a bit too light and lacking in feedback to be thoroughly enjoyable, but it should be good enough to let you make a quick lane change on the expressway.
Should I buy one?
The V90 Cross Country will go on sale in the middle of this year, likely in May or June, at an expected price of Rs 60-65 lakh (ex-showroom). This puts it bang in between the S90 and the XC90, in a region where Volvo doesn't currently have any offerings. The simple answer at this point – to whether you should buy it – would have been ‘Yes’, if you're in the market for this sort of a niche product; Volvo isn't even aiming for big numbers with it. However, it's worth noting that Audi and Mercedes-Benz are also mulling launching their own rugged estates – the A6 AllRoad and the E-class All-Terrain, both direct rivals for the Volvo V90 Cross Country – possibly before the end of 2017. So in the next 10 months, we could go from having no crossover luxury estates to having three. Traditionally, Volvos aren't as popular as their German counterparts in the conventional sedan and SUV segments, but this could be the one time the Swedish brand has the advantage. The V90 Cross Country takes everything we love about the S90 (in our eyes currently the best car in its segment) and adds loads more practicality and near-SUV levels of go-anywhere ability. Plus, aside from safety, estates are a big part of brand Volvo, and if that resonates even slightly with the small number of buyers Volvo is targeting with this car, they will be drawn to it, and they will be very happy with what they get.
₹ 78.58 lakh
₹ 46.24 - 53.74 lakh
₹ 64.27 lakh
₹ 78.11 lakh
₹ 1.06 - 1.64 crore
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