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  • Anthony Sophinos
    Automotive Editor - February 13, 2019

    2019 Volvo V90 OVERVIEW

    Of all the car manufacturers, Volvo is perhaps the most commonly affiliated with station wagons. It's no surprise, then, that the company which built their brand on the strength of their wagons remains committed to the small but important niche. The 2019 Volvo V90, their flagship longroof, is available in both traditional form as well as in jacked-up Cross Country trim. Either option is a fine way to enjoy elegant Scandinavian design in a practical package that stands apart on America's increasingly homogeneous highways.

    What's New for 2019

    As the V90 was all new for last year, there are no updates for 2019.

    Volvo V90

    Choosing Your Volvo V90

    Volvo builds two versions of the V90: the low-riding wagon that's simply called V90 and the high-riding Cross Country. The former is only available as special order, so don't expect to find one hanging around on the lot of your local dealership. Despite the limited nature of such an arrangement, Volvo does offer the V90 with the full gamut of features and options.

    The Cross Country, however, isn't hampered by special order availability. Compared to the V90, the Cross Country raises the ride height from 6.0 to 8.3 inches, adds black plastic cladding around the wheel wells, and is only available with all-wheel drive. The result is a wagon that offers superior soft-roading capabilities over its more street-focused sibling.

    Both wagons come standard with a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine dubbed T5. It produces 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque and can be paired with either front- or all-wheel drive. An eight-speed automatic transmission is tasked with shifting duties. The whole shebang is good enough to let a V90 return an EPA-estimated 23 miles per gallon city, 35 mpg highway, and 27 combined.

    The optional T6 is the same engine but with a supercharger augmenting the turbo. This unusual method of forced induction results in 316 horses and 295 lb-ft of torque. Unlike the T5, the T6 is exclusively paired with all-wheel drive. The extra power and two additional driven wheels don't help gas mileage, which drops to 21/31/25 mpg (city/highway/combined).

    In typical Volvo fashion, safety features abound. All models come with every bit of safety tech currently available as standard: adaptive cruise control, oncoming lane mitigation, lane keeping assist, blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert, automatic emergency braking, and emergency steering support. The brand is attempting to realize their Vision 2020 plan of ensuring no one gets seriously hurt or killed in a Volvo by 2020, and the V90's impressive safety equipment is a big step in that direction.


    At $52,445 (all prices include the $995 destination charge), the V90 R-Design is the cheapest iteration. That price buys front-wheel drive and the T5 engine, as well as a litany of luxurious standard features. Stepping up to the T6 with all-wheel drive costs $6,000, bringing the starting price up to $58,445.

    The list of technology baked into the V90 speaks loudest about the luxurious nature of these wagons. There's a 12.3-inch touchscreen, Harmon Kardon audio system with 13 speakers, navigation, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and speech recognition for controlling audio, climate, and navigation functions.

    Other features built into every V90 include four-zone climate control, power front seats with memory functionality, an electric-folding second row, leather upholstery, auto-dimming mirrors, and a panoramic moonroof. On the outside there's 19-inch wheels, fog lights, and a special lower front fascia that is sportier than what's used on the Inscription model. Also adding to the R-Design's sporty flavor are paddle shifters, multiple drive modes, and an exclusive R-Design leather steering wheel.

    With so much as standard, there's little in the way of packages. Just two are available: the $750 heated front seats and steering wheel, and the $2,500 Advanced Package. The Advanced bundles a surround-view camera system, high-pressure headlight cleaner, active headlights that bend with the contours of the road, a head-up display, and park assist.

    A variety of standalone options are offered. These include a $150 CD player, $300 heated windshield, $500 integrated second-row booster seat, and $500 heated rear seats. Most of the contents from the Advance Package are available à la carte as well. Audiophiles will want to splurge on the $3,200 Bowers and Wilkins audio system with 15 speakers and 1,100 watts.


    Compared to the sport-inspired R-Design, the $54,445 Inscription adheres to the traditional look of luxury. There's a unique grill and lower front bumper, more chrome brightwork trimming the windows and doors, special 19-inch wheels, and color-coordinated exterior mirror caps. The interior also benefits from a splash of extra posh. Real walnut wood trim adorns the doors and dashboard, and ventilated seats with plusher padding make for a more serene motoring experience compared with the R-Design.

    The T5 engine with all-wheel drive is standard, while the T6 motor is again a $6,000 premium. Oddly enough, the option package for heated seats and steering wheel isn't available, though both options remain available individually. The Advanced Package returns for $2,500, and all options available on the R-Design can be found here.

    Cross Country

    The Subaru-esque Cross Country will be more widely available than the order-only V90. A T5-powered model is $53,545, while a T6 starts at $57,345. Both models come standard with all-wheel drive.

    The V90 loses some of its luxury trappings when it morphs into a Cross Country. The four-zone climate control is trimmed down to dual-zone, the electrically-folding second row becomes manually actuated, the 13-speaker audio system is traded off for a 10-speaker one, and the ventilated seats are switched out for heated thrones.

    It's the same story with the options sheet. The Cross Country limits standalone extras to an $800 Harmon Kardon audio system, $4,000 Bowers and Wilkins audio system, $500 integrated second-row booster seat, and $150 foldable cargo floor with extra storage area. The $2,500 Advanced Package returns, and a $750 package bundles heated rear seats with a heated steering wheel.

    Cross Country Ocean Race

    This special edition Cross Country Ocean Race costs $61,495 and comes with the T6 engine and all-wheel drive. It pays homage the eponymous race with a distinctive grille, 20-inch wheels, and interior trim. Additional standard features include Harmon Kardon audio, rear air suspension, adaptive dampers with five selectable modes, Nappa leather, and a heated steering wheel.

    Options are essentially unchanged from the standard Cross Country. The Advanced Package drops to $1,600 as the high-pressure washers and active-bending headlights come standard.

    CarsDirect Tip

    The R-Design's long list of standard features, impressive gas mileage, and slick styling make it our choice of the 2019 Volvo V90 litter. It's disappointing Volvo has made it special-order only, but the superior product and resulting exclusivity might make it worth the effort and delivery time. After all, sometimes the things worth having are the things worth waiting for.

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