Considering how much these former winners have evolved and emerged from the first time I encountered them.
A Victory & Reseda review of the 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country
This seems to be the year of belated Victory Laps of former #VOTY winners…
That’s not a bad thing. Considering how much these former winners have evolved and emerged from the first time I encountered them. In the case of #VOTY17 – the Volvo V90 wagon – there had been plenty of changes that have transpired in the past five years.
For 2022, Volvo offers only one V90 wagon – the Cross Country. To me, this is the perfect Volvo wagon that bridges the Swedish brand’s past with its present and future. Think about the six-plus decades of Volvo wagons and how they have become part of many family’s histories over this time.
Remember when you faced rearward from the third row of a Brick wagon? One powered by a Red Block engine? That is what the V90 is meant for you.
Moving a few decades up was the Cross Country itself. It was Volvo’s vision of a fun, versatile wagon that went anywhere while exuding its own style, luxury, and safety advances. Yep, this V90 ticks all of the boxes here.
One thing that has changed is that the V90 is now part of Volvo’s push towards electrification throughout its lineup. The B6 driveline combines the best in Volvo performance – the T6 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder engine – with a mild hybrid system.
This is a not a Recharge driveline, where you have to plug something in to juice up the battery. This system gets its energy from regenerative braking back to the battery pack. In turn, the hybrid system sends instant torque to the driveline, while the supercharger and turbocharger spools up to add more power to the mix.
The result is a total of 308 horsepower sent through an eight-speed automatic transmission out to all four wheels. You also have 310 pound-feet of torque in total for that instant low-end oomph that you feel when you press the accelerator pedal.
For a 4,213-pound station wagon, the B6 driveline is extremely strong and very powerful. It just goes like nobody’s business. It does a better job in linear acceleration than some sports cars that shall remain nameless.
Obviously, you do not buy or lease a Volvo V90 Cross Country for its off-line acceleration. You want something practical that can haul the goods. For starters, you can tow up to 3,500 pounds with the V90 Cross Country. It can also swallow up to 53.9 cubic feet of flat cargo space with the rear seats folded down. I could say something about “flat packed furniture,” but I promised everyone that I will not play into stereotypes – especially at my new job.
Speaking of my new job, I put the V90 Cross Country to the test as I took the magazine’s Creative Director and his camera equipment to a cover shoot in Minneapolis. We did not have to fold down the rear seat to fill up the lights, stands, tripods, and other equipment to make the cover shoot work. It is no wonder why the V90 is the largest wagon available on sale today.
As a premium vehicle, you expect luxury to go along with the practicality the V90 offers. Volvo does not skimp in that department. The seats are comfortable and supportive, wearing its leather upholstery with pride – along with a little Swedish flag flying from the inboard side of each seat. Room across both rows of seats are exceptional. And, no, there is not a third row of seats to be found on the V90.
Other changes on the V90 Cross Country worth noting are the new instrument cluster screen and the Google-driven infotainment system. The new full screen cluster has two half-dials – one for the speedometer, the other for the energy level meter – with a wide center screen that is easily filled with a map. One readout was hard to decipher – the bar graph for the fuel level. Maybe I could change the color of the bar itself to improve readability.
While I appreciate Google’s apps and architecture in the V90, I do miss having to mirror my smartphone to this new infotainment system. My two iPhones cannot be integrated. I can still Bluetooth them, though. My music files still play beautifully through the Bowers & Wilkins audio system.
As the music played on, the V90 Cross Country rode along just fine. The larger wheels and lower sidewall did add some firmness to the suspension system. The chassis did its best to absorb rougher roads left behind by an insane winter. However, it cornered very well and managed evasive maneuvers with ease.
I found the steering system pretty direct and offered a good turning radius and wheel response. On-center was fine with some adjustment needed to keep within the lanes. The braking system is pretty good, with solid stops in normal and panic situations. Although, we found pedal feel is bit on the softer side.
As for fuel economy, I gained an average of 24.5 MPG. Not bad, to be honest.
Perhaps the last thing I’ll mention is there was no real design updates on the exterior. Except for the 20-inch alloy wheels, everything else is how I remembered this winning station wagon. There is really nothing I dislike about it. That’s always a good thing in my book.
As for pricing, my 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country tester came with a sticker price of $61,990. The V90 Cross Country starts at $56,200.
There was a lot of validation during this Victory Lap of #VOTY17. To me, it is the wagon to get when you’re spending somewhere north of $50,000. It may not bring back the memories of rear-facing third row seats, Brick designs, and Red Block engines. It will elevate your want of one of the few station wagons left on sale in this country.
What will never change at Volvo is its commitment to creating the safest vehicle in any segment. With safety, comes accessibility and intelligent design. Apply all of this to the V90 and you have a winner. In fact, #VOTY17 was the second award in-a-row that was presented to Volvo by this website.
It does not necessarily take a Victory Lap to validate something once confirmed about five years ago. It takes a deeper appreciation for a wonderfully practical and luxurious vehicle to ensure its legacy will one to own.
DISCLAIMER: Vehicle provided by Volvo Car USA
All photos by Randy Stern