If the first thought of a station wagon brings back memories of National Lampoon’s Vacation, you’re not the only one. The 1980s-era movie immediately comes to my mind when I think of a wagon, er, make that, station wagon. Flash-forward to 2021 and wagons, much like the minivan, are staging a comeback and they’re doing a good job of it, too. Case in point, the 2021 Volvo V90, an off-road minded wagon that most certainly could have handled Chevy Chase’s escapades, and in a lot more comfort, too.
The V90 is unmistakably Volvo with its sleek, scandinavian design. The Thunder Grey Metallic premium paint hue really sets off the upgraded 20-inch matte graphite diamond cut alloy wheels. The Cross Country’s refreshed front grille features vertical black bars and chrome accents. Of course you get Volvo’s hallmark LED Thor Headlights accompanied by LED fog lights. Also new for 2021, a new spoiler, a skid plate and new full LED rear lights. The tailpipes are hidden but you will see an integrated roof rail on top.
The V90 interior is a luxurious place to be where everything is so well-designed, you feel at home right away. The gray ash interior with handcrafted wood decor and glossy black accents features a tailored soft-touch dash and door panels. The Lounge Package provides amazing ventilated Charcoal Nappa Leather upholstery and power Comfort front seats - with yes - backrest massage! (Chevy Chase would be jealous I am quite sure.) The front seats also benefit from power cushion extenders. Volvo’s leather is just incredible. The seats are so comfy with impeccable stitching with perfect seat bolstering.
The leather-wrapped and heated steering wheel is polished-looking but on the thin side for me. For comparison, Lexus steering wheels are a bit thicker and more cushiony.
The V90s hardware is polished and premium. You’ll find the start/start knob, not a push button, on the center console. It’s where you also find the leather-wrapped gear shifter, drive mode selector and auto brake hold.
The second row offers the same Lounge Package attributes including leather seats, plus window sun curtains. A drop down center console hides storage space as well as two retractable cup holders. A climate package adds integrated 2nd-row booster cushions. Power 2nd-row headrests are standard and you can operate them via the multimedia system.
Overhead the roomy interior, the V90 Cross Country sports a laminated panoramic moonroof with a power sunshade.
Interior features also include aluminum volvo tread plates and a new for 2021 optional advanced air quality system.
Utility is the V90s Cross Country middle name. It has a power hands-free liftgate with a tough rubber cargo mat ready to handle whatever you throw in its 53.9 cubic-feet of cargo space. It also offers a 12-volt outlet. You’ll also get a stainless steel scuff plate and a nice, thick load cover. A pass-through from the trunk to the 2nd-row can handle long items. You’ll also find impressively durable rubber mats in the 1st and 2nd-row. I appreciated those when I headed out for some rainy afternoon sweet treats.
Volvo offers top-notch technology. You have a terrific 12.3-inch all-digital driver gauge and information display which can host a navigation map.
A responsive huge 9-inch tablet-style multimedia touch screen with swipe and zoom capability offers great graphics and controls most vehicle functions, including the massage front seats. Backup camera quality is excellent and one of the best out there.
Maps are exceptional and Senus Navigation Pro is excellent when it comes to finding and mapping destinations. You can enter addresses using gesture control to write in letters on the touch screen. This tool came in handy for me as I journeyed to a new camera repair shop (to drop off something for my dad) in an unfamiliar area.
The V90 supports wireless charging, along with both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, a WiFi Hotspot, Bluetooth, HD Radio, and Sirius XM with a trial subscription. The optional Bowers and Wilkens Sound System is amazing with great-looking speakers.
You’ll get two USB ports in front, two in the back supporting A- and C- ports.
An Advanced Package provides a nice Head Up display, 360-degree surround view camera, and high level interior illumination.
The V90’s powertrain feels great. It’s the T6 with a 2.0L super- and turbo- charged engine. It’s 316-horsepower and 295 lb.-ft. of torque feel great. (You’ll want to fuel up on premium as Volvo notes in the specs.) It’s mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission and is equipped with all-wheel drive.
Ride and Drive
Volvo has a distinctive ride and drive all its own. It’s a smooth ride -- but a different smooth from say, Lexus. I attribute that a great deal to Volvo’s optional rear air suspension and Touring Chassis. It rides amazing on the highway ride and is quiet too. It’s easy to drive despite its length, has a great turning radius for making uturns and has great braking capability. All-wheel drive really gives you planted confidence in rainy weather, too. It offers three drive modes, Eco, Comfort and Dynamic, with differences in driving engagement and steering response between the three. Dynamic is sportiest and quicken steering, transmission and braking responses.
Volvo is highly regarded for its cutting-edge driver’s assist technology. Some of those features on the V90 include Collision Avoidance with pedestrian, cyclist, and large animal detection, Blind Spot Monitoring with Steer Assist and Rear Cross Traffic Alert with Autobrake. I have to stop here and say this is an outstanding feature. The technology actually brakes for you if it senses something is behind you. Yes, I experienced this first-hand in action. It works. It’s also equipped with Volvo’s Pilot Assist driver’s assistance program with adaptive cruise control.
Options include the Lounge Package ($2,800), Advanced Package ($1,700), Climate Package ($450), Bowers and Wilkins Audio System ($4,000), adaptive air suspension ($1,200), 20-inch alloy wheels ($800),
2021 Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 AWD Review
- What I liked most: Ride, Comfort, Luxury, Sound System, Navigation.
- What I would change: Can’t think of a thing.
- MSRP: Base price $54,900, $67,740 as equipped with transportation.
- Fuel Economy: Rated at 20 city/30 highway/24 combined.
- Official Color: Thunder Grey Metallic ($645)
- Odometer reading when tested: 6,937 miles.
- Weight: 4,213 pounds.
- Spare Tire: Compact spare.
- Length-Width-Height: 195.2” long/80.8” wide/60.7” high.
- Fuel Tank Capacity: 15.9 gallons with the filler on the passenger side.
- Towing Capacity: 3,500 pounds.
- 2021 Volvo V90 Cross Country in a few words: A luxury wagon for your rugged adventures.
- Warranty: 48-month, 50,000 mile Limited Coverage Warranty/ 144-month Corrosion Protection/3-year/36,000 mile complimentary factory maintenance
- Final Assembly Location: Gothenburg, Sweden.
- Manufacturers website: Volvo.