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  • William Maley
    William Maley

    2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country Reinvents A Modern Classic

      Taking the beaten path in Scandinavian style


    Back in the late-nineties, Volvo took a page out of Subaru's playbook by taking one their wagons and making a bit of more capable off-road. The end result was the V70 Cross Country and would become one Volvo's iconic models the next two decades. Now the successor the V70 has gotten its own Cross Country variant.

    Today, Volvo revealed the 2017 V90 Cross Country. Starting with the basic V90, Volvo lifted it 2.36 inches to give it an overall ground clearance of 8.2 inches. New bumpers, wheels, and underbody protection finish the transformation. Volvo also made adjustments to the electronic chassis system, stability control, and power steering to make the V90 Cross Country handle tough conditions.

    Volvo doesn't mention what engines that V90 Cross Country will come with. We assume that it will mirror the other 90 series models - T5, T6, and T8 plug-in hybrid. No matter the engine, it will be paired with all-wheel drive.

    Volvo is planning to start production of the V90 Cross Country this fall. No word on when it will arrive in the U.S.

    Source: Volvo

    Press Release is on Page 2


    Volvo Cars reveals its adventurous side with new V90 Cross Country

    Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, has unveiled the eagerly awaited V90 Cross Country, completing its 90 Series line-up.
     
    Since the introduction of the first Cross Country almost 20 years ago, Volvo Cars has become synonymous with the rugged all-road, all-weather product category, with a growing stable of Cross Country models.
     
    Volvo Cars’ Cross Country models fulfil an increasingly important part of the Swedish automaker’s product portfolio as luxury car buyers seek out a more experienced-based lifestyle that occasionally takes them off the beaten track.
     
    “The V90 Cross Country takes the elegance of the V90 and transforms it into an all-road car that delivers safety, comfort and performance in a capable and adventurous package,” said Håkan Samuelsson, President & CEO, Volvo Car Group.
     
    With some of the harshest winters on the planet and over 77 percent of the country covered in forest and lakes, Sweden is the natural place to develop and test extreme durability and all-weather capable cars. This hard-won expertise represents a large part of Volvo Cars’ heritage, reflected in the company’s Cross Country model line-up.
     
    “Our cars are well known for their safety, strength and durability. With All-Wheel Drive, increased ride height, and a chassis optimized for comfort and control in all weather and road conditions, the new V90 Cross Country takes our versatile V90 estate and adds the heart of an explorer,” said Dr. Peter Mertens, Senior Vice President Research & Development at Volvo Cars.
     
    With Volvo Cars’ Scalable Product Architecture providing the underpinnings, the V90 Cross Country has undergone rigorous testing to ensure that it can survive the extremes in which it will ultimately find itself.
     
    From secret testing facilities in the frozen north of Sweden, where temperatures regularly hit -40 degrees to the searing desert heat of Arizona, where Volvo Cars performs its high temperature testing program, the V90 Cross Country has been built to last.
     
    With a design that clearly stands out from the crowd, the V90 Cross Country’s rugged character belies a sumptuous interior that delivers a level of luxury uncommon in the segment, combining all the benefits of the connectivity and entertainment features that were launched with the new S90 and V90, including a high-end sound system by Bowers & Wilkins.
     
    The V90 Cross Country’s exterior design cues communicate the powerful and dynamic capability that the car exemplifies, while offering the flexibility to choose from both rugged and elegant expressions.
     
    “Designing a Volvo Cross Country is not a styling exercise, a plastic job. It is based on honest capability. The Volvo V90 Cross Country brings a surprising and intriguing combination of a strong, powerful exterior and a luxurious, Scandinavian interior. It will continue the genuine tradition of the Volvo Cross Country with a new recipe: The blend of powerful off-road capability in a most elegant, sophisticated, tailored wagon suit,” said Thomas Ingenlath, Senior Vice President Design at Volvo Cars.
     
    The new V90 Cross Country takes this well-established segment to a new level of comfort-inspired capability. Production of the car is set to start this autumn at Volvo Cars Torslanda Plant in Sweden.

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      Source: Hyundai
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      Eight-Speed Automatic Transmission
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      Specification (in.)
      Santa Cruz
      Tacoma
      Ridgeline
      Frontier
      Length
      195.7
      212.2
      210.0
      205.5
      Width
      75.0
      75.2
      78.5
      72.8
      Height
      66.7
      70.7
      70.3
      70.1
      Wheelbase
      118.3
      127.4
      125.2
      126.0
      Bed Length
      Upper 48.4
      Lower 52.1
      60.4
      63.6
      59.4
      Footprint Area
      (sq. ft.)
      101.9
      109.7
      114.6
      103.9
                         
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    • By William Maley
      It is surprising to think it has been over six years since Hyundai first showed the Santa Cruz pickup concept at the Detroit Auto Show. But today, Hyundai has unveiled the production version. The automaker isn't calling this a truck, instead using the term "Sport Adventure Vehicle". To us, it's a truck.
      We need to start with a bit of a reality check. The Santa Cruz is not a direct competitor to the likes of Chevrolet Colorado, Honda Ridgeline, or Toyota Tacoma in terms of measurements. Compared to those models, the Santa Cruz is around 10 to 17 inches shorter in length. Overall height is around 3 to 4 inches shorter. The bed measures 4.3 feet, which is about foot shorter than the Ranger. There is also an in-bed trunk like the Ridgeline.
      The model is based on the recently redesigned Tucson crossover, which explains why it shares the front end styling - complete with headlights in the massive grille. That also means it shares the same engines as the Tucson. Here's the lineup,
      2.5L four-cylinder:  estimated 190+ horsepower and 180+ lb.-ft. of torque Turbocharged 2.5L four-cylinder: estimated 275+ horsepower and 310+ lb.-ft. of torque The N/A 2.5 comes with an eight-speed automatic, while the turbo makes do with an eight-speed dual-clutch. Front-wheel drive is standard, while HTRAC all-wheel drive is optional.
      The interior looks very modern and comes with an eight-inch touchscreen in the center stack. Optional features include a 10-inch touchscreen and TFT instrument display. 
      Hyundai is keeping mum on pricing until the Santa Cruz launches sometime this summer.
      BTW: If you're wondering why the Santa Cruz took so long to reach production, I recommend this piece from Autoblog which delves into this.
      Source: Hyundai
      Hyundai Unveils Segment-Shattering Santa Cruz Sport Adventure Vehicle
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      “Santa Cruz, with its bold styling, breaks open all new segment territory, both for Hyundai and the industry as a whole. Open-bed flexibility coupled with closed-cabin security meets the changing everyday needs of its adventure-oriented buyers, while powerful and efficient engines and superb maneuverability ensure it is a pleasure to drive in urban or off-road environments. Our customers will wonder just how they managed before owning one,” said Jose Munoz, president and CEO, Hyundai Motor North America.
      Why Santa Cruz?
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      Everything about Santa Cruz reflects a duality of purpose in its design execution. This all-new category-bending vehicle holds a variety of imagery in balanced juxtaposition:
      Urban life connectivity with escape to outdoor adventure Work and play flexibility Tough yet alluring demeanor Roominess with maneuverability Open cargo area and secured, lockable storage Towing capability and fuel efficiency The forward view of Santa Cruz deploys a hidden lighting signature that becomes visible within the grille only when illuminated. The daytime running lamps (DRLs) present a parametric jewel design with high-tech precision detailing. A bold, cascading grille anchors the front view, supported by a skid plate element in the lower front fascia. Voluminous hood and fenders further communicate an imposing first impression.
      In profile, Santa Cruz signals a sporty yet capable spirit. The A- and C-pillars present faster forward and rearward rakes than typical open-bed utility vehicles. Large 20-inch alloy wheels with a multi-faceted, triangular design are surrounded by armor-like wheel arches, conveying both wheel-articulation potential and off-road capability. Powerful body side volumes contrast with precise triangular sheer-edged surfaces and tight radius character lines.
      From the rear, a horizontal “T” lighting signature adds visual width and distinguishes Santa Cruz from anything on the road. The functional rear open bed area features secure, lockable in-bed storage, integrated corner bumper steps and a lockable tonneau cover, seamlessly integrated with the overall design. The rear tail lamps are embossed with: “Designed in California” as a testament to the passion of Hyundai’s California-based design team. Small, discrete design details such as this can be found throughout the exterior and interior.
      Interior Design
      The interior of the Santa Cruz expresses a sophisticated and refined appearance. The contrasting rugged yet refined motif matches the boldness of the exterior, boasting a technical ambience that appeals to those who appreciate cutting-edge technologies in their daily lives. It features an enveloping dual-cockpit design that encapsulates each passenger. Design teams focused on ease of ingress and egress and ergonomic comfort on long drives. The premium center stack display features an edgeless infotainment screen appearance, with an impressive 10 inches of visibility. The optional center digital cluster display also measures 10 inches. Under the rear seats is convenient, in-cabin storage. Completing the premium ambience is an available Bose® audio system.
      Powerful and Efficient Powertrains
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      Eight-Speed Automatic Transmission
      The eight-speed transmission for the standard 2.5-liter engine provides quick and crisp shifts for an engaging and efficient driving experience. This automatic transmission adds ratio range at both the top and bottom of output speeds allowing for extra thrust off-the-line and a quieter, more fuel-efficient trip on the interstate. A multi-disc and individually controlled hydraulic channel torque converter improves responsiveness by expanding the direct connection band, while a downsized oil pump and double ball bearings minimize frictional losses.
      Advanced HTRAC® AWD and Towing Capability
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      Compact Dimensions Yield Superb Maneuverability
      Santa Cruz makes efficient use of its compact dimensions by offering high utility with excellent maneuverability. Its shorter wheelbase and smaller overall footprint make it a joy to maneuver and park in challenging urban parking, with an exceptional curb-to-curb turning radius of only 20.0 feet.
      Specification (in.)
      Santa Cruz
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      Ridgeline
      Frontier
      Length
      195.7
      212.2
      210.0
      205.5
      Width
      75.0
      75.2
      78.5
      72.8
      Height
      66.7
      70.7
      70.3
      70.1
      Wheelbase
      118.3
      127.4
      125.2
      126.0
      Bed Length
      Upper 48.4
      Lower 52.1
      60.4
      63.6
      59.4
      Footprint Area
      (sq. ft.)
      101.9
      109.7
      114.6
      103.9
                         
      Responsive and Refined Chassis Tuning
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    • By William Maley
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      Year: 2020
      Make: Volvo
      Model: V60
      Trim: T8 Polestar Engineered 
      Engine: 2.0L Twincharged DOHC 16-Valve Four-Cylinder, Two AC Electric Motors
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 328 (gas), 46 (electric motor front), 87 (electric motor rear), 415 (combined)
      Torque @ RPM: 317 (gas), 111 (electric motor front), 177 (electric motor rear), 494 (combined)
      Fuel Economy: Combined MPGe/Gas - 69/30
      Curb Weight: 4,522 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Gothenburg, Sweden
      Base Price: $67,300
      As Tested Price: $68,940 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Metallic Paint - $645.00

      View full article
    • By William Maley
      Back in the spring, I spent some time with two different Volvo 60 series models - the S60 Momentum and V60 Cross Country. I came away impressed with the work Volvo had done, picking Cross Country as my favorite. A couple months back, another 60 series model rolled up for a week long evaluation. This one is very different.
      Unlike most performance wagons that grab a bullhorn and shout for attention, the V60 Polestar goes for a more sedate approach. From afar, it looks like your standard V60. Get closer and you begin to see the small changes such as the lowered ride height, 20-inch grey wheels that cover up the massive gold brake calipers, and the two Polestar badges. Only changes for the interior are the Polestar logo embossed on the front headrests and gold seatbelts. Under the hood is Volvo's T8 powertrain. This is the 2.0L twin-charged four-cylinder paired with an electric motor on the rear axle to produce a total output of 415 horsepower and 494 pound-feet of torque. This setup also provides all-wheel drive. It is quite shocking (pardon the pun) as to how fast the V60 Polestar goes. Step on the accelerator and it feels like you have engaged warp drive as the two powertrains work together.  But there were times where the gas engine and electric motor didn't seem to be on the same page. There would be the odd delay or surging of the gas engine when driving around town in the hybrid mode. Hopefully, this is something that could be addressed with an update to the engine software. The other party trick of the V60 Polestar is the ability to run on electric power alone. This comes from an 11.6 kWh lithium-ion battery pack underneath the cargo floor. Volvo claims a range of 22 miles on electric power alone, but I was able to stretch it out to around 23 to 25 miles throughout the week. Recharging took around eight to eleven hours if the battery was near or fully depleted.  For the week, I saw an MPGe average of 52.1. With the battery drained, I saw the average fall to around 29.1 MPG.  Volvo turned to suspension supplier Öhlins to develop something bespoke for the V60 Polestar. What was delivered is a special set of dampers that are manually adjusted by gold-colored aluminum knobs. You'll easily find the ones in the front by opening the hood - sitting on top of the shock towers. The ones in the back are slightly harder to find as they're located above the wheels in the wheel housing. This is something that feels like more of a talking point when showing off the wagon, not something you want to mess with unless you are knowledgeable on damper tuning. The V60 Polestar may be the best handling Volvo I have driven in quite some time. The Öhlins dampers do make a difference as they minimize body roll. But the dampers cannot fully hide the massive weight of the Polestar - tipping the scales at 4,522 pounds. This makes the wagon not feel as nimble. In terms of ride quality, the V60 Polestar does well on smooth roads. Take it on a road with a litany of bumps and potholes and the ride becomes very choppy. This is where I wished Volvo had gone for a computer-controlled damper system to make the ride slightly smoother. A price tag of over $68,000 is a bit much for a Volvo, but you need to take into consideration that you're getting everything as standard. That includes the premium B&O audio system, full LED headlights, Nappa leather upholstery, heated/ventilated front seats, Pilot Assist, and more. The only option on our tester is the metallic paint. Despite the price tag and rough ride, I'm happy to see Volvo venturing out and doing some wild as the V60 Polestar. This vehicle is a prime example of having your cake and eating it by delivering excellent performance and efficiency in one package. The fact that this package is in a wagon shows this for someone who doesn't want to follow the Joneses and get a performance crossover. Would this be the 60 Series model I would buy? No, that honor falls to the V60 Cross Country I drove in the early spring. But the Polestar runs a close second. Disclaimer: Volvo Provided the V60 Polestar, Insurance, and One Tank of Gas
      Year: 2020
      Make: Volvo
      Model: V60
      Trim: T8 Polestar Engineered 
      Engine: 2.0L Twincharged DOHC 16-Valve Four-Cylinder, Two AC Electric Motors
      Driveline: Eight-Speed Automatic, All-Wheel Drive
      Horsepower @ RPM: 328 (gas), 46 (electric motor front), 87 (electric motor rear), 415 (combined)
      Torque @ RPM: 317 (gas), 111 (electric motor front), 177 (electric motor rear), 494 (combined)
      Fuel Economy: Combined MPGe/Gas - 69/30
      Curb Weight: 4,522 lbs
      Location of Manufacture: Gothenburg, Sweden
      Base Price: $67,300
      As Tested Price: $68,940 (Includes $995.00 Destination Charge)
      Options:
      Metallic Paint - $645.00
    • By William Maley
      Next up for an interactive review is the most expensive Volvo I have driven, the 2020 XC90 T8 Inscription - as-tested price of $86,790 with a $995.00 destination charge. Sadly, there is no kitchen sink to find, but this vehicle is loaded. It has four-corner air suspension, 21-inch wheels, a Bowers and Wilkins audio system, massaging front seats, heated steering whee, captain chairs for the second row with heat, panoramic sunroof, and 360-degree camera.
      Power comes from the T8 plug-in hybrid powertrain that I tried in the V60 Polestar a few weeks back. While not as potent as the Polestar, the XC90 still posts some impressive numbers of 400 horsepower and 472 pound-feet.
      Here are some initial impressions
      Despite the hefty pricetag, I don't get the feeling of luxury that the Inscription is supposed to bring. I have to wonder if its due to the black leather and dark wood trim being used. Did I mention that this comes with a crystal gearshift? Ride quality seems to be ok with the 21-inch wheels, but there is a fair amount of tire noise on rough pavement. I'll have more thoughts as the week goes on. In the meantime, if you have any questions, drop them below.


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