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Perceptions - weird things they are. For blood or money, I've tried to convince my friends that wagons are cool. I failed. Alas, my motoring clique agrees with my sentiments. So here goes - a literary attempt to show you the light that is the V90 Cross Country. 

 

SUV's have killed the wagon, like video killed the radio star. 

I'm being dramatic – locally, wagons have never been big sellers, but the European's love them. 

 

Safer and more efficient than their high-heeled counterparts, wagons are the perfect compromise that make sense. Let's compare the large and in charge, XC90 to the Cross Country. It is more expensive and thirstier. In favour of the Cross Country, it sits lower, so handles better, which means it's potentially safer too. 

 

The V90 Cross Country plan piggy in the middle to the XC90 mentioned above and the stately business executive, the S90. Its tailored attire limits this large and handsome sedan. Good only for the highways, urban boulevards, and corporate parking lots - it lacks the ability for adventure. Hence the perfect compromise, the Cross Country. 

 

The delectable brisket in the center of the 90 Series is arguably a dark horse. It shares the same underpinnings as its brethren but enhanced for off-road duties. As an example, it sits about 6cm higher than the standard V90, which we don't get in South Africa. It can also wade in water with a depth of almost 30cm. To look the part, the V90 Cross Country is garnished with suitable armour that does not only look the part but protects it from environmental hazards. 

 

The Cross Country is a premium vehicle. It's pricey, not by comparison to its competition, but rather by numerical number - R780 000 to R930 000 before adding any options. But before you gawk at the almost one bar price tag, I'd like to say that it feels worth every cent! Everything mechanical and tactile feels polished, honed and of a very high quality. 

 

The options list is long, but the standard features list is even longer. Things like fancy LED headlamps with Active Bending and Active High Beam. The lighting system is phenomenal - the night's road is illuminated with an orchestra of strategically placed beams. You also get and all-wheel drive system for off-road capabilities. 

 

Another nice touch is the silky smooth Nappa leather. There's a choice of colours which also envelopes the Volvo's smart key, reminding you of which tone you chose. Mine was toffee-coloured. 

 

The brilliance behind the 90 Series design is its ability to mask its sheer size. All the 90 vehicles are large. From the inside, it's appreciated by the driver and passengers. Like a large sumptuous lounge with cavernous space for five, mountain bikes too. But driving a big car can be a thorn that you don't want in your side. 

By some Swedish marvel, the voluminous chassis feels nimble and easy to maneuver. 

 

The Cross Country is available is either turbo petrol or diesel. Both 2.0-l in capacity. The 140/173 kW diesel is good for brisk transport - hit 100 km/h in 7.5 seconds and sipping on, my average run, 8-liters per 100 km. Or, the 187/235 kW petrol. The petrol motors are quicker than the diesel options, being quick; the T6 will hit the legal limit in 6.3 seconds. All cars are mated to a fast shifting 8-speed gearbox that's both undetected and efficient. 

 

There's no question, pick any of the 90 range of products, and you'll be happy with your intelligent decision. Do you go high-heeled, smart dress shoe or active sneaker? I know what I'd pick. 

 

PLUS +

Handsome

High levels of quality

Lots of standard equipment

Refined chassis and engines

Some off-road ability

Huge boot

 

MINUS –

Wagon’s aren’t everyone's cup of tea

 

The competition 

Subaru Outback and all the big premium SUVs.

 

Pricing 

T5 AWD Momentum R774 206

D4 AWD Momentum R801 300

D5 AWD Momentum R840 298

T6 AWD Momentum R896 030

 

T5 AWD Inscription R809 000

D4 AWD Inscription R833 100

D5 AWD Inscription R878 300

T6 AWD Inscription R930 200

 

Service and warranty 

The Volvo V90 Cross Country comes standard with a 5-year/100 000 km warranty and a full 5-year/100 000 km maintenance plan. 

 

My choice 

D4 AWD Inscription R833 100 

With an optional Premium Pack R65 000

www.volvocars.com/za

 

 

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