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.
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2019 Volvo V90 Overview
What's New for 2019
As the V90 was all new for last year, there are no updates for 2019.
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.
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.
2019 Volvo V90 Review
Upscale styling. Wagons have never been the most handsome vehicles on the road, but the 2019 Volvo V90 oozes class. Volvo's unique grille and headlights, which have a design that's inspired by Thor's hammer, are beautiful elements.
Instead of trying to hide its lines, Volvo has accented the V90's long roof with a curvy rear end. If you're looking for something that's rugged instead of stylish, the V90 Cross Country brings SUV-like qualities into the mix.
Long a champion of interior designs, Volvo has worked its magic on the V90's interior. Not only is there a generous amount of space in both rows, but the front seats are supportive and offer a wide range of adjustments. A massive 12.3-inch touchscreen dominates the center console, but keeps things on the inside simple and elegant.
Decent cargo space. While not as spacious as some of its key rivals, the V90 has a good amount of cargo space that's on par with some SUVs.
Behind the rear seat, the wagon can hold up to 19.8 cubic feet of cargo. Fold the rear seat down, and the V90 opens up to offer 69 cubic feet of space. If you have small pieces of cargo, the V90 has a small cargo area underneath the cargo floor.
Above average fuel economy. Despite being a large wagon, the V90 and V90 Cross Country both have good fuel economy figures. There are two four-cylinder engines available on the V90 models.
The base engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder that makes 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. With an eight-speed automatic and front-wheel drive, this engine gets up to 23 miles per gallon city, 35 mpg highway, and 27 combined, according to the EPA.
A supercharged and turbocharged version of the same engine is available that pumps out 316 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. The engine is only available with all-wheel drive and can get up to 21/31/25 mpg (city/highway/combined).
The Cross Country comes with the more powerful engine standard, but loses one mpg in each driving condition because of its higher ride height (6.0 inches compared to 8.3 inches).
Good luck finding one. The V90 might be one of the best wagons on the road, but finding one at a dealership will be a difficult task. The V90 is available by special order only.
So, unless it's a used V90, chances are incredibly slim that you'll run into one at your local dealer. The more rugged V90 Cross Country, though, isn't held back by being a special order only vehicle.
Final thoughts. Consumers that aren't convinced by SUVs will find a lot to like with the 2019 Volvo V90 and V90 Cross Country. Upscale styling inside and out, a lengthy list of standard equipment, a spacious cabin for five passengers, and decent cargo space are all things V90 models possess.
While the V90 strikes a good middle ground between offering a comfortable ride and decent performance, there a few things we were left wanting for. Both four-cylinder engines sound unrefined and don't have the same oomph as rivals, while the ride on the standard V90 can be harsh on rough roads. The V90 Cross Country's ride, though, isn't as bad. Cargo space is down compared to other wagons, too.
The Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon is more luxurious, has a nicer cabin, and is available in a high-performance variant. The Audi A4 Allroad is more of a competitor to the V90 Cross Country and packs more tech in a business-like design. The Subaru Outback has been one of the more popular wagons for decades and has more cargo space and a more rugged design than the V90 Cross Country.