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Volvo V90 Cross Country B5 AWD Plus Geartronic

Diesel & Eco Car Diesel Car

Report 4

There’s something reassuring about driving a Volvo in winter. It stems from an assumption that surely any cold or snow we face here must pale into insignificance compared with a Swedish winter, where the V90 is designed and engineered, and much of its testing takes place. You only have to watch the wipers sweep the windscreen to observe that they look as tough as any fitted to a high-speed locomotive.

And so far, so good. There have been a couple of cold snaps during its stay, with temperatures getting down to about minus seven degrees Celsius at night, and the V90 Cross Country is one of the fastest cars to defrost on a wintry morning that I’ve ever owned. Two presses of a button on the centre console activates the heated windscreen and sets the blowers to maximum. This and the rear windscreen elements are enough to shift even a stubborn covering of ice within a minute or so, leaving the side windows as the only chore for the driver to tend to with some manual scraping.

It also gives time for the heated seats and steering wheel to get toasty, so you can quickly dispose of chunky gloves once inside the cabin. Like most modern diesel engines, clever programming means it also doesn’t take long for it to get up to a reasonable temperature. One of my favourite small touches in the Volvo is the memory for the heated elements, so the heated steering wheel and seats stay on if that’s how you left them when you got out of the car. Chances are, the weather will still be cold, so it saves a lot of extra prodding at the touchscreen. If you have a daily routine, it’s even possible to programme pre-conditioning of the cabin so de-icing is a thing of the past, but as a freelance and home-based journalist, I tend to hop in to the car at different times every day.

Christmas meant loading up the boot with a folding table and borrowing chairs from family to extend the capacity of our own dining table, and while not very heavy, these bulky items meant folding down the rear seats. Unlike some rivals, there’s no seat folding button just inside the boot, so it’s necessary to walk to each rear door to drop the seats manually. At least this means you can check you haven’t left any items on the back seats – the backrests are so weighty they’d likely crush any delicate items as they drop with a thud.

Once stowed, the 551-litre boot expands to a size of 1,517 litres, with a maximum width of 1,100mm at its narrowest point (between the rear wheels) and a load length just shy of two metres (1,988mm). While not class-leading, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class boasts figures of 640 to 1,820 litres. The space itself is well thought out, with a smooth floor, and underneath there is a second layer with different-sized oddment trays for valuables or smaller items you don’t want rolling around the boot. Our test car also came with a second metal beam behind the rear seats, out of which you can pull up a mesh retractable dog guard which hooks to either side of the headliner. We tried it out on a recent trip where we were looking after two large dogs, and it was reassuring to know they were safely confined to the boot whilst driving, or if we had to pop into a shop for a few minutes to pick up some essentials.

Mileage 3,512
Arrived 15th September 2022
Price when new £57,950
Price as tested £59,500
Economy 44.8mpg (combined) 37.2mpg (on test)
Costs None Faults None

What's Hot

The retractable dog guard is a neat feature – Volvo knows its target audience.

What's Not

There’s no way to flip down the back seats remotely from inside the boot.

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