Volvo's V90 Cross Country deserves to succeed
Cape Town - I spent more time driving the luxurious Volvo V90 Cross Country than any other car in 2017.
I took it on two road trips; the first, a journey to the National Arts festival in Grahamstown in July, was followed by a leisurely drive down the West Coast to the Langebaan lagoon later in the year.
Both of those journeys provided ample time to get under the skin of the 4939mm uber wagon. Boasting 210mm of ground clearance the V90 Cross Country was peerless on the drive from Cape Town to the Eastern Cape.
I had smartly opted for the D5 model, boasting 173kW and 440Nm from its 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine. It performed admirably, offering effortless performance and decent economy, the 60 litre fuel tank was a boon.
Because it's lower than a full-size SUV the Swede boasts a drag coefficient of 0.30, aiding fuel consumption by virtue of having less resistance to the wind.
The V90 Cross Country is versatile, it drew attention from the arty, well-heeled crowds attending the arts festival and also turned heads. The 360o camera made the almost two metre car easy to park and manouvre around the University town.
Items like electrically-powered heated seats with a massage function might seem opulent but goodness they kept us refreshed like waiting for your crush to reply to a DM.
I know it's not new or anything majorly fancy but the adaptive high beam assist made driving at night easier because I didn't incur any flashing lights from other motorists.
The 560 litre boot capacity did a fine job of gobbling up two luggage bags and a few sundry items. At the touch of a button the back seats fold completely flat, they adopt a 60/40 split.
The car, decked in a gorgeous brown hue was brilliant on the gravel roads on a visit to Mountain Zebra National Park, which I squeezed in, on my Eastern Cape odyssey.
The second trip was on a brilliant sunny Sunday afternoon in early December down the R27 to frolick in the warm(ish) water of the Langebaan lagoon.
This time I was behind the wheel of the petrol-powered T6 version which employs a 2.0-litre turbocharged and supercharged engine producing 235kW/400Nm, 40Nm less than the D5.
The long stretches of the R27 gave me the perfect opportunity to use the Volvo's semi-autonomous driving aids which use radar-guided cruise control and lane assist (it'll steer itself) to keep the vehicle traveling at the speed (with a safe buffer) of the car ahead. The system works well, but after a few seconds warned me to put my hands back on the steering wheel.
The rest of the drive down the West Coast was faultless. The smooth 8-speed auto is a boon on the long road and the plush seats provided more support than an ANC rally in the Western Cape.
So, after two road trips and countless kilometres of city driving, I can applaud Volvo for sticking to their heritage and producing a stylish, economical, practical and well-made car.
It doesn't need to sit in an ivory tower like flashy R1-million-plus SUVs that most likely won't get taken off the beaten track. So if in 2018, you are in the market for a swanky SUV, take a moment and consider the V90 Cross Country. New Year, new wagon. Right.
Volvo V90 Cross Country D5 AWD - R867 166
Volvo V90 Cross Country T6 Inscription AWD - R954 784