Volvo V90 Cross Country long-term review: report 2

Our senior photographer wants to mix off-road ability with comfort and space. Will Volvo's jacked-up estate fit the bill? He's got four months to find out...

LT Volvo V90 Cross Country compared with V60 Cross Country

The car Volvo V90 Cross Country D5 PowerPulse AWD Plus Run by Will Williams, senior photographer

Why it’s here Does the desire for space and off-road ability automatically mean you need an SUV, or can a jacked-up estate do the job better? We're finding out

Needs to Be able to pack in my camera gear and still have room for passengers, be comfortable on long journeys, be fuel efficient and function as a mobile office

List price £50,610 Target Price £45,577 Price as tested £59,980 Miles 4018 Official economy 49.6mpg Test economy 35.1mpg

18 October – 60 vs 90

I've just finished shooting an estate test for the December issue of What Car?, in which we pitch a four-wheel-drive BMW 3 Series Touring against Volvo’s V60 Cross Country. And while I'm not allowed to reveal the result yet, it did give me a chance to see if the V60 feels like a bargain compared with my V90 Cross Country, or if that’s clearly worth the extra.

These two Volvo estates certainly look pretty similar on the outside. And it’s much the same story inside; each feels incredibly classy and has a well-shaped boot.

LT Volvo V90 Cross Country at Goodwood

However, although I’ve previously said “size isn’t everything”, in this case my car’s longer load area really does offer a significant advantage. So much so, in fact, that if you regularly carry lots of luggage (as I do) and can’t stretch to a new V90, I’d seriously consider choosing a used one over a new V60.

It’s not just the extra space that makes the difference, either. In the V60, the luggage cover retracts up and back on rails, but you have to unhook it manually. But my car goes one better, featuring a cover that automatically retracts when you open the tailgate to save you struggling with it when you've got your hands full.

Just as handy are the V90’s large rear door apertures – particularly given the size of modern child car seats. They make loading my two-month-old son, Callum, much easier, and mean I don’t find myself yearning for yet another high-rise, faux 4x4. 

LT Volvo V90 Cross Country - putting baby in back

The V90 is also noticeably quieter and smoother-riding at all speeds, so is the more relaxing choice. And while the V60’s seats are very supportive, they aren’t quite as comfy as the distance-shrinking, lounge-like chairs in my car.

Go for the Xenium Pack, as I have, and comfort is further enhanced by four-zone climate control, meaning there are no arguments with your passengers (well, not temperature related). Callum can have a setting that keeps him from overheating, while Grandma can authentically replicate the heat of a Swedish sauna.

The Xenium Pack also brings the classiest ambient lighting I've yet seen and a panoramic glass sunroof that distracts Callum from deploying his occasional blood-curdling scream by letting him see what's going on outside.

LT Volvo V90 Cross Country blindspot

In fact, so far the only feature of the V90 Cross Country that I don’t like is its door mirrors, because they’re mounted so high that unless you peer above and around, it is entirely possible to lose an entire SUV behind them. This seems like a strange oversight from such a safety-conscious brand, especially given that the V60’s mirrors are perfectly placed.

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