2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country Review
Introduction - Find the best Volvo deals!
In an era when crossover SUVs dominate the market, it is refreshing to review a vehicle that is unabashedly something else. And that is just what the 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country is. It is not a crossover SUV, and it is not a station wagon in the same sense that its now-discontinued sibling, the V90 was. The V90 Cross Country, despite its discreet side cladding, is more sedan than SUV. Though many Americans have traditionally found station wagons to be cloddish and borderline dorky, the V90 Cross Country is neither of those. Compared to the average SUV, it is long, lithe, and energetic. Volvo has also graced it with a new mild-hybrid power plant, giving it even more contemporary credibility.
In years past, the Volvo V90 Cross Country was a variant of the V90 station wagon, the flagship of the Swedish brand's proud station wagon tradition. But for the 2022 model year, the popularity of the V90 Cross Country so overwhelmed that of the traditional station wagon that Volvo dropped the latter from its U.S. lineup. So, if you want a large station wagon-like vehicle from Volvo—or almost any other brand—the V90 Cross Country is your choice.
Beyond eliminating the standard V90 station wagon, the most important change for the 2022 model is a new drivetrain. Volvo replaced the previous turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine with a mild-hybrid version of the same basic power plant. In the new V90 Cross Country B6, an electrically driven supercharger replaces the mechanical supercharger. Volvo also added an electric starter-generator motor. The electric motor, which contributes 13 horsepower, runs off a new 48-volt electrical system. Though the overall system is down on power versus the previous top powertrain, the instant addition of extra torque from the integrated starter-generator delivers excellent overall drivability.
What Owners Say About the Upper Midsize Premium Car Segment - Find the best Volvo deals!
Photo: Jack R. Nerad
The Volvo V90 Cross Country competes in the Upper Midsize Premium Car market segment. According to data collected from verified new-vehicle buyers for the J.D. Power 2021 Automotive Performance, Execution and Layout (APEAL) Study, 78 percent of new Upper Midsize Premium Car buyers are male (vs. 61 percent for the industry as a whole), and the median age of a new Upper Midsize Premium Car buyer is 63 years (vs. 57).
As part of the APEAL Study, owners rated the Upper Midsize Premium Car segment in 10 primary categories. Listed below in descending order, you'll find their preferences from their most favorite thing about the vehicles to their least favorite:
- Exterior styling
- Driving feel
- Feeling of safety
- Interior design
- Driving comfort
- Setting up and starting
- Infotainment system
- Getting in and out
- Fuel economy
In the 2021 APEAL Study, the Volvo V90 Cross Country did not officially rank in the Upper Midsize Premium Car segment due to a small sample size.
What Our Independent Expert Says About the Volvo V90 Cross Country - Find the best Volvo deals!
In the sections that follow, our independent expert analyzes a V90 Cross Country B6 equipped with the following options:
- Climate package, including a heated steering wheel and heated rear seats
- Advanced package, including a surround-view system and head-up display
- Adaptive air suspension
- Bowers & Wilkins premium audio system
The price of the test vehicle came to $63,945, including the $1,095 destination charge.
Getting In and Getting Comfortable
Photo: Jack R. Nerad
A lot has been made of the easy entry and exit fostered by contemporary crossovers, but there is something very pleasant about slipping behind the well-formed steering wheel of the 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country. While the driver's seat height is lower than a crossover, positioning oneself in the seat isn't like dropping into a hole. It's more like sitting in your favorite easy chair because the world-renowned Volvo seats are so comfortable, supportive, and adjustable.
The interior design is first class, featuring genuine leather and natural wood. And that real wood is finished more simply and naturally than in some other luxury cars where the lumber is so highly processed it looks fake.
The between-seats console is very conventional with a stubby shift knob, a pair of cupholders with a sliding cover, and a large bin topped with an armrest. Nothing is startling, but it is all well-rendered. A 9-inch touchscreen infotainment system is well integrated into the center of the dash, though Volvo mounted it a bit lower than some "standalone" infotainment screens in competitive vehicles.
The driver faces a customizable 12.3-inch digital instrument display in the V90 Cross Country. The display can show navigation, media, and, happily, vehicle speed, among other tidbits of driver information. The display is not only large, but it is also colorful and clear. When providing navigation information, the driver display is less distracting than looking at the display on the center of the dash.
Volvo Android Automotive Infotainment System Review
Photo: Jack R. Nerad
Several years ago, Volvo took a page from the Tesla playbook and installed what was then regarded as a large infotainment screen with its Sensus infotainment system. The system put Volvo out ahead of the pack in terms of infotainment, but development and competition have been fierce since then. This prompted Volvo to team with Google to develop its latest system that powers the infotainment in the V90 Cross Country and most other Volvo models. The system uses the Android human-machine interface modified by Volvo to use its unique typeface and color scheme, essentially building on the successful Sensus system.
The V90 Cross Country's infotainment system features a 9-inch portrait-oriented touchscreen in the center of the dashboard. The touchscreen uses infrared technology, which means it will respond even if the person using it is wearing gloves. (It gets very cold in Sweden, doesn't it?) Beyond the touchscreen, the system also heavily leverages Google Assistant's natural-voice-recognition technology, and in practice, that is often the easier way to use the system.
As with the previous Sensus system, the new infotainment scheme uses Volvo's patented four-tile on-screen layout to help organize functions. That is helpful because many of the vehicle's functions—things like radio controls and heating and ventilation—are embedded in the system. Those familiar with Android phones will immediately be familiar with the Google keyboard. Volvo employs the also-familiar Google Play Store to access additional apps, like Spotify. Volvo uses Google Maps for navigation, which includes real-time traffic information. Familiar apps like Google Maps simplify the owner's learning process in setup and use.
Music selection and playing are as simple as using one's favorite apps on a smartphone. Though the new system is Android-based, it offers good Apple iPhone compatibility, so if you are an iPhone user, you won't feel obligated to switch to an Android phone. Drivers can stream audio via Bluetooth, and pairing a device is simple and durable.
You can initiate telephone calls (remember them?) using the appropriate smartphone touchscreen interface or voice assistant. Typically, using a voice assistant is easier and enables the driver to keep attention on the road ahead. Google Assistant does a commendable job of "understanding" natural speech commands, making that portion of the interface particularly useful and satisfying.
Google Maps is a very popular navigation app used by many iPhone owners and those with Android phones. In the V90 Cross Country, it is as simple to use as on a smartphone, with the added bonus of a larger display. Unlike some children, it also responds well to spoken commands.
Input to the system is via USB-C. The V90's infotainment also offers 4G LTE connectivity with an in-vehicle hotspot that works well. Like a smartphone, the system supports over-the-air updates that should keep it operating in tip-top fashion well into the future.
A Harman Kardon premium audio system is one audio option. It boasts 13 speakers and a 600-watt amplifier. The test vehicle had the significantly more expensive Bowers & Wilkins super-premium system. It features a 1,460-watt amplifier and 19 speakers, including the system's signature Tweeter-on-Top center speaker. Designed to produce an immersive experience, the B&W system delivers full, rich sound across various genres, including classic rock and contemporary country.
In today's context, the 9-inch touchscreen is beginning to feel a bit small compared to the digital displays in competitive vehicles. That said, the new Volvo system is obviously faster than the automaker's previous system and, in most ways, is easier to use, especially if you rely heavily on the Google Assistant voice-command functionality.
What It's Like to Drive the 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country
Photo: Jack R. Nerad
While the driving experiences offered by most contemporary luxury crossovers are just fine, the Volvo V90 Cross Country delivers much of the same functionality in a vehicle that is more engaging to drive. The Volvo V90 Cross Country performs like a well-sorted-out large luxury sedan in all circumstances. That shouldn't be surprising since the V90 shares its chassis, suspension, brakes, and powertrain with the well-regarded Volvo S90 luxury sedan.
At the heart of the V90 Cross Country is the new B6 mild-hybrid powertrain. It uses the very familiar Volvo 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine fitted with both a turbocharger and an electrically powered supercharger. The turbocharger helps the engine offer more horsepower once spooled up, while the e-supercharger helps supplement the engine's low end. The powertrain's 13-hp integrated starter generator (ISG) is an equally important supplement. According to Volvo, using energy from the new 48-volt electrical system, the ISG contributes its power and torque at launch and shift points to smooth power delivery.
No internal combustion engine will feel as smooth as a contemporary electric vehicle, but the B6 powertrain in the V90 Cross Country approaches that level of buttery, effortless power delivery. On a gross-horsepower basis, it is less powerful than the previous top powertrain in the V90, but moment to moment, it feels strong and smooth.
The V90 Cross Country achieves a nice balance between performance-oriented handling and boulevard ride. It uses a sophisticated double-wishbone front suspension, while an adaptive air suspension in the rear is optional.
Volvo equips every 2022 V90 Cross Country with all-wheel drive (AWD). The system is front-biased, sending virtually all the driving torque to the front wheels under most normal conditions. If the system senses the need, it can distribute up to 50 percent of its torque to the rear axle in microseconds. The V90 Cross Country also launches from a stop with all wheels powering the vehicle. The result is a feeling of safety and security in all weather conditions short of a Force Five hurricane.
The V90 uses shift-by-wire and brake-by-wire technologies. Braking effort is appropriate, and the discs do an excellent job of pulling the large wagon to sure stops. The rack-and-pinion steering might not be as communicative as in some German-brand sport sedans, but it is entirely appropriate for the V90 Cross Country's overall mission.
The competitive Mercedes-Benz E 450 station wagon is a bit faster from zero-to-60 miles per hour, but the V90 Cross Country's acceleration won't leave its drivers wanting more. With the e-supercharger and the ISG, the V90 has plenty of mid-range power for passing and quick maneuvers in traffic. The 8-speed automatic transmission operates flawlessly.
2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country Driving Assistance Technology Review
Photo: Jack R. Nerad
Volvo is working hard to achieve an all-electric future, but it hasn't turned its back on its robust reputation as a leader in vehicle safety. Unlike many other brands, Volvo doesn't give its advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS) an umbrella name. Instead, its vehicles contain a robust collection of individual systems, several of which work in concert to deliver a high level of overall safety.
The headlining system in the V90 Cross Country is Pilot Assist Driver Assistance. Though a trifle redundant, it combines systems enabling it to help drivers with steering, acceleration, and braking in certain defined circumstances. It is a hands-on-the-wheel system that requires driver attention and monitors that attention. Volvo designed the system to ease the driver's burden in highway travel that might include a combination of high-speed cruising—at up to 80 mph—and stop-and-go traffic. It leverages the V90's lane-keeping assistance and adaptive cruise control with stop-and-go functionality.
Another leading-edge ADAS is Oncoming Lane Mitigation. This enables the car to steer its way out of a potential head-on collision automatically if the driver does not respond to warnings and takes no action to avoid the collision. The driver can override the automatic steering by taking overt action.
The V90 Cross Country also features more common driver-assist and automated safety systems that include:
- Automatic emergency braking with pedestrian detection
- Blind-spot warning
- Rear cross-traffic warning
- Surround-view parking assistance
While it might seem ironic, the best facet of the V90 Cross Country's extensive suite of ADAS is that none of them are obtrusive. While, for instance, some lane-keeping systems are annoyingly insistent about "helping" the driver steer, the Volvo systems do their jobs without undue drama or annoyance.
Of course, some electronic safety systems are virtually impossible to test on public roads. For example, trying to make a lefthand turn with oncoming traffic ready to cross one's path would be unwise. But the combination of safety systems will help deal with issues like that and many others.
Though other brands also offer robust safety and driver-assistance arrays, Volvo remains at the forefront of safety technology. Further, the brand typically makes the vast majority of its ADAS offerings standard equipment, as they are on the V90 Cross Country.
2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country FAQ - Find the best Volvo deals!
Photo: Jack R. Nerad
How much cargo space does the 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country have?
The Volvo V90 Cross Country offers an ample enclosed cargo area behind the second-row seatback. It provides 19.8 cubic feet of carpeted luggage space. The vehicle's forward-sloping rear window wins it style points but somewhat encroaches on the cargo area. The Mercedes-Benz E 450 All-Terrain Wagon with a more vertical rear windscreen will hold more cargo in the rear compartment.
With the second-row seatback folded, the V90 Cross Country offers a remarkable amount of cargo space—69 cubic feet. That's 5 cubic feet more than the E 450 All-Terrain Wagon.
Does the 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country get good gas mileage?
The car's mild-hybrid system enables the 2022 V90 Cross Country to turn in good fuel-economy figures for a vehicle of its size and carrying capacity. It is EPA-rated at 22 mpg city/29 mpg highway/25 mpg combined—all slightly better than the E 450 All-Terrain.
In testing that included an abundance of around-town driving, the V90 Cross Country achieved a 22-mpg average. Based on its 15.9-gallon fuel tank capacity, it has an effective range of about 350 miles.
Is the 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country safe?
As of this writing, neither the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration nor the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has rated the crashworthiness of the 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country.
How much is the 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country?
The 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country has a base manufacturer's suggested retail price of $56,295. It is available in a single trim level—B6—with the standard mild-hybrid powertrain and AWD. Buyers can add a number of packages and options to the V90 Cross Country. Prominent among them is the Lounge package, which features 4-zone automatic climate control and several seating enhancements, including massage and two upscale audio systems. The destination charge for the Volvo V90 Cross Country is $1,095.
What are the 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country competitors?
In the J.D. Power 2021 Initial Quality Study (IQS), the Genesis G80 ranks highest in the Upper Midsize Premium Car segment. The BMW 5 Series and the Mercedes-Benz E-Class are the next highest-ranked models.
In the 2021 APEAL Study, the Genesis G80 ranks highest in the Upper Midsize Premium Car segment. The Audi A6 and the BMW 5 Series are the next highest-ranked models.
The nearest competitor to the 2022 V90 Cross Country is the Mercedes-Benz E 450 All-Terrain.
Independent Expert Opinion - Find the best Volvo deals!
Photo: Jack R. Nerad
The 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country is a delightful combination of luxury sedan and versatile crossover. Its standard AWD system, robust safety equipment, and lithe suspension help the driver feel secure in any weather condition. It's not a performance vehicle, but its level of performance provides even the most demanding drivers with an enjoyable experience. Volvo improved its infotainment system over the previous version, and its voice-recognition abilities help keep driver distraction at bay.
The interior of the V90 Cross Country is a pleasure to look at and even better in which to travel. The seats are supremely comfortable, and the design is decidedly upscale without being baroque. No, the V90 Cross Country won't tote quite as much stuff as a contemporary crossover SUV like the Volvo XC90. But at the same time, it seems at once both more stylish and more effortless than the typical luxury crossover.
Jack R. Nerad has been reviewing cars, trucks, vans, and sport utilities for more than three decades. He managed the editorial efforts of Motor Trend magazine and Kelley Blue Book and currently is the host of the SportsMap Radio Network program America on the Road, which is available on Apple Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, Stitcher, and other outlets.
The opinions expressed in this review are the author’s own, not J.D. Power’s.
No portion of these reviews may be reproduced, distributed, publicly displayed, or used for a derivative work without J.D. Power’s written permission. © 2022 J.D. Power