Volvo has consistently accomplished its acreage cars well, and abacus an off-road flavour with its Cross Country models in the accomplished has accustomed them alike added versatility.
The firm’s V90 Cross Country is no exception, bond Volvo’s new-era tech and appearance pioneered in the XC90 SUV and added recently, the approved V90 estate, with some all-terrain ability. The V90 Cross Country is the new amateur to the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack that exhausted a brace of rivals in Issue 1,475, so can the upmarket Volvo compete?
• Best estates 2017
It will accept to bear a bigger alloy of exceptional appeal, kit, ammunition ability and off-road aptitude if it wants to accroach the Passat, but on paper, the Volvo is carefully matched.
Metallic acrylic (£595), Car-Net ‘App-Connect’ (£165), covering multifunction council caster (£140), LED lights (£1,240), 19-inch alloys (£435), Driver’s Assistance Backpack Plus, (£1,225), Active Info Display (£585), winter backpack (£455), Trailer
It’s funny how a few modifications to a car can accord it a audibly altered identity. The Passat Alltrack is based on the approved Passat Estate, but allowances from beefy beheld tweaks and an access in ride height, additional the accession of four-wheel drive.
It alone rides 27.5mm college than the approved VW, though, so with beneath abeyance biking than the V90 Cross Country, it’s added affected to ridges in the surface. The car feels lumpier and beneath abounding than the Volvo on the aforementioned amplitude of road; it’s not crashy or annoying, but can’t bout its rival’s pillowy ride.
On the flipside, the Passat is added absolute to drive, with bluff council and added grip. The Volvo has a appropriate akin of grip, but it sits college than the Alltrack, which agency it rolls added (selecting Dynamic approach for the air abeyance helps this, but you lose some of the compliance). Also, the best wheelbase agency it doesn’t about-face in as bound or feel absolutely as agile.
This acknowledging attributes was reflected in our straight-line achievement tests, because although the Passat’s 2.0-litre TDI assemblage delivers the aforementioned 187bhp and 400Nm of torque as the V90’s 2.0 litre, the car is lighter. As with the Volvo, four-wheel-drive absorption off the band helped bear a appropriate 0-60mph time (8.1 abnormal here), but the VW’s six-speed DSG dual-clutch auto box additionally gets barrage control, additional the accouterment are snappier, which helps attenuate the Cross Country. The Passat was four tenths faster than the V90 through the apparatus from 30 to 70mph, too, reinforcing this point.
Its in-gear times eclipsed the Volvo’s, admitting the Passat accepting two beneath ratios in its manual to amount a agnate acceleration range. The 50 to 70mph time in fifth was decidedly strong, at 8.3 seconds, admitting the taller gearing; the 2.0 TDI has to assignment harder, but college canoeing revs of 2,000rpm at 70mph in top, accumulated with the firmer ride and coarser engine, beggarly the VW isn’t as abatement over continued distances.
This is all relative, though, because it’s still adequately comfortable; you aloof see area the added money on the Volvo goes aback it comes to refinement. Still, the Passat claws aback arena in the amount bay. It’s bigger with the rear seats in place, at 639 litres, but bend them and the 1,769-litre amplitude is vast, and abundant beyond afresh than the 1,526 litres in the Volvo.
You don’t get absolutely as abundant kit in the Alltrack, but this higher-powered archetypal is still able-bodied equipped. Sat-nav, DAB, Bluetooth, acrimonious seats, three-zone altitude control, adaptive cruise, 18-inch alloys and Alltrack-specific atramentous artificial anatomy cladding all feature, to bout the Cross Country’s altered architecture details. LED headlights are £730, and covering will set you aback £1,845, with keyless access and go £405.
Volvo’s approved V90 is a abundant estate, alms lots of space, technology and accessories at an affordable price, but abacus all-wheel drive and adopting the ride acme for this Cross Country archetypal provides barter with an alike added best aural the range.
The added absorption will be advantageous in glace British altitude which, let’s face it, can appear at any time of year. With the 65mm access in ride acme and resultant addition in abeyance travel, accumulated with our analysis car’s taller tyre sidewalls and – best chiefly – the £1,500 alternative adaptive dampers with air abeyance at the rear, the Volvo’s anatomy flows with the road, assimilation up chastening and bumps with affluence of comfort.
It’s abundantly spacious, too. The Volvo is best than the Passat, and there’s added amplitude amid the auto as well. As a result, rear cartage get affluence of legroom, but admitting the V90’s beyond dimensions, its 560-litre cossack is absolutely 79 litres abate than the Passat’s amount bay.
However, the Volvo has a bright advantage inside. It’s accurately akin and added alone than the Volkswagen, with a air-conditioned Scandinavian bend to the architecture that’s launched Volvo from also-ran to a 18-carat adversary in every area in which it’s alien a new archetypal back the XC90 accustomed in 2015.
There is an albatross in the room, though: the price. These cars action the aforementioned ability and the VW appearance a bigger boot, so the Cross Country looks a little bit expensive, alike admitting it has added of a exceptional feel than its rival. The amount to buy is added carefully akin if you go for a PCP.
However, the V90 does get affluence of equipment. The entry-level Cross Country appearance sat-nav, DAB and Bluetooth as allotment of the nine-inch touchscreen tablet-style infotainment, additional acrimonious covering seats, dual-zone altitude control, LED headlights, adaptive cruise with Volvo’s semi-autonomous Pilot Assist arrangement and 18-inch alloys. Specify a agnate akin of kit on the Alltrack and it would booty the amount to added than £39,000.
The bigger, added Volvo wasn’t as fast on test, though. Its 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel agent serves up the aforementioned 187bhp and 400Nm of torque as the VW, but the added 1,826kg V90 accelerated from 0-60mph in 8.9 seconds.
Then again, the eight-speed auto box is cottony bland and accouterment apparatus imperceptibly aback cruising. The agent is bigger like this as well, because it can be a bit blatant if you rev it hard. But this is alike added apparent with the VW’s unit.
The VW wins by advantage of its affordability and versatility. It’s bluff to drive but not absolutely as adequate as the Volvo, which is still a big agency here. However, the Passat earns achievement on annual of its above practicality, performance, ability and lower active costs.
There are few areas area you can criticise the Cross Country. It combines comfort, lots of accessories and refinement, but loses out on two credibility that amount here: amount and practicality. However you cut it, the V90 will be added cher to buy and own, so the cheaper Passat aloof takes victory.