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V90 joins Cross Country stable 

VOLVO produced its first Cross Country model 20 years ago so it’s no surprise to learn that the latest member of this club is a bit special.

The Swedish car manufacturer knows a thing about big, luxurious, comfortable cars – and the V90 has all these in spades.

It has won lots of awards since being launched last year.

It was the top car in Scotland in 2016 – being the Association of Scottish Motoring Writers’ top estate and car of the year.

We Scots are not alone in admiring this big, luxury load-lugger as many more accolades have followed.

But not content to settle for what is a top prestige estate, Volvo added some more sporting editions – and a Cross Country model.

I’ve just sampled one of these and once again enjoyed my time in what is a very stylish estate.

It comes with the same quality interior and high-tech goodies you get with the regular V90 – but with a more muscular look.

The Cross Country is capable tackling all sorts of weather conditions and can also venture off road.

It has permanent four-wheel drive, sits up to 65mm higher and the exterior toughens up with extra plastic cladding along the sides with front and rear skid plates to prevent off-road damage.

I sampled a D4 AWD model that has a 2-litre 190PS engine under the bonnet, with a more powerful 236PS version of this diesel unit also available.

The engine didn’t disappoint with this big car lurching forward quietly and smoothly.

The power came though a responsive eight-speed automatic transmission.

Acceleration from standstill is pretty impressive, going from zero to 62mph in 8.8 seconds.

Kick-down brought imme-diate power and also a nice engine roar.

With a top speed of 130mph, the V90 purred along at motorway speeds with little engine, road or wind noise coming through to the cabin.

Despite its raised height, the Cross Country also displayed exception road holding when cornering at speed.

Ride comfort, even on some minor roads, was as good as you would expect from a big Volvo wagon.

The test model was fitted with the Active Four-C Chassis £1,500 option and this brings four-corner adaptive dampers with air suspension at the back.

This added to the enjoyable ride experience for driver and passengers – as did the super, large interior that offered lots of room up front and in the rear.

Quality finish includes leather-faced upholstery with power-adjustable heated front seats.

Centre of the dash is a nine-inch touch screen as standard with a 12.3-inch TFT colour display £400 option on the test model.

Other standard spec includes Sensus navigation and connect, voice control system, automatic city emergency braking, adaptive cruise control, run-off road protection and power tailgate.

It is also economical with Volvo figures giving a claimed 54.3mpg, although I averaged 42mpg.

The Cross Country is capable of towing up to 2.4 tonnes and you get 500 litres of boot space, expanding to 1,525 litres with rear seats folded.

The V90 Cross Country is up against some classy competition at the top end of the luxury estate off-road market but it is more than a match for them – and a whole lot cheaper.

Prices start at £40,605 but look out when selecting options as those on the test model raised the vehicle’s cost to £52,205.

If music is your thing when driving, the superb Bowers and Wilkins system with its 18 speakers/1,400W output and subwoofer comes in at £3,000.