VOLVO V90 CROSS COUNTRY OCEAN RACE: it’s a car with a conscience

1463646_215848_Volvo_V90_Cross_Country_Volvo_Ocean_Race_exteriorIT was ironic that Volvo’s big V90 Cross Country Ocean Race came to play just when the weather conditions turned to the sort of weather conditions you might encounter in the Southern Atlantic.

Squally didn’t do the day justice, but charting the Volvo’s progress via the large nine inch centre touch screen ensured the trip was completed without any undue hassle.

1463693_215842_Volvo_V90_Cross_Country_Volvo_Ocean_Race_exterior_detail1463696_215843_Volvo_V90_Cross_Country_Volvo_Ocean_Race_exterior_detailIt’s a car with a conscience, doing its bit to tackle the problem of marine pollution with its floor mats made from Econyl, a fabric made from 100 per cent recycled nylon, which includes abandoned fishing nets recovered from the seabed.

And buyers will be doing their bit to help with our understanding of our oceans. For every one of the 3,000 versions built, Volvo has donated 100 euros to the Volvo Ocean Race’s Science Programme around ocean plastics, which unless you’ve been living in a cave in the Cairngorms you’ll know is a massive problem worldwide.

The roomy cabin and supportive sculpted seats are somewhat at odds with the lack of comfort and space you’d find in an ocean racing yacht, but that’s what you get in what is one of the classiest estates around.

1463665_215852_Volvo_V90_Cross_Country_Volvo_Ocean_Race_exterior_on_locationYou won’t fail to notice the bright orange seat belts and orange piping to the sculpted seats, door trim and mats, which give it a highly distinctive but at the same time subtle interior.

And as it’s a Volvo, it’s loaded to the gunwhales with safety features, a list of which – and their readiness for action – are displayed between the two main dials on start up. It’s a long list.

Heated steering wheel is a bonus in winter, along with heated seats, which are more efficient at warming you up than the cabin heater.

1463667_215853_Volvo_V90_Cross_Country_Volvo_Ocean_Race_exterior_on_locationThe changes to this special edition model are only cosmetic, as the car is built to the same exacting standards as the basic Cross Country model. That equates to a 65mm hike in ride height to cope with off road conditions.

And when you do take to the wilds, the V90 can take what you throw at it, particularly inside. The boot floor has magnetic spots soa protective cover can be fitted over the rear bumper to avoid scratches, and there are reversible seat covers to keep the leather in top top conditions. And anything wet can go in the branded waterproof holdall in the load area.

1463750_215835_Volvo_V90_Cross_Country_Volvo_Ocean_Race_interiorLots of neat touches, not the least of which is a light on the bottom edge of the tailgate to help you locate things in the vast loading area, which also houses USB sockets, a 12v socket and a torch.
Sampled here is the entry level D4 diesel, not the quietest unit on offer but fairly well subdued in terms of noise when driving.

The ride quality is however good, and its extra ground clearance doesn’t seem to make it feel too wallowy, although it will lean a bit if you press on too hard. It feels better through corners in Sport mode but in the main a click into Comfort is probably the best for all situations.

But let’s be honest, as a way of covering hundreds of miles without any stress or fuss, it takes some beating.

In fact nothing seems capable of halting the serene progress of this all-wheel drive piece of motoring magnificence – nor Volvo’s growing reputation for bringing increasingly good cars to the market.

Volvo V90 D4 AWD Volvo Ocean Race Cross Country

Price: £51,270 (£54,345 as tested).
Engine: 2.0 litre, four cylinder, diesel
Power: 190hp
Torque: 400Nm
Transmission: 8 speed automatic
Top speed: 130mph
0-62mph: 8.8secs
Economy: 54.3mpg
CO2 emissions: 138g/km

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