The re-Volvo-lution: new V90 Cross Country here by Spring
First Look: Volvo V90 Estate
FOR once a new car is trying not to be an SUV. Volvo decided their new V90 Cross Country estate would not follow the trend to look all macho and muscular.
The large estate, revealed in Sweden last week, has the same ground clearance as the excellent, large and 'very much SUV' XC90 - they share the same platform.
But to look at it you'd never think that. It is very much the large estate with a few 'accentuations' - more voluminous wheel arches, special tyres, labelling, etc - but nothing to declare its hidden ability.
Håkan Samuelsson, President and CEO, Volvo Car Group, revealed their thinking to me as we chatted after the reveal: "Rather than making it look like it can work off-road we decided to make it that it could go off-road without boasting about it," he said. Or as another executive said: "It's a car you can take off road or to the opera."
He described it as the 'missing link' between the XC90 and the S/V90. It is due here in the first quarter of 2017.
After looking at, and sitting in, it I think it is fair to say they have tweaked elements all over, subtly, but they paid particular attention to the chassis (double wishbone front suspension; rear integral axle). It has been raised by 65mm compared with the V90. Air suspension is optional.
All of which comes down to this: If you need a large estate and you want extra clearance and grip for bad, rutted roads but don't fancy going the SUV route, here's an option.
The big demand for the Cross Country comes in Sweden - they have the weather and conditions for it. Next up, according to Mr Samuelsson, is the US and then China. In Ireland, it has been very much a niche buy.
Its emergence did afford the opportunity to see the final piece of the jigsaw, as it were, in the Volvo 90 series (XC90, V/S90, Cross Country) and now we look to the next series - the 40s and 60s.
Which, naturally, prompted me to ask the Volvo boss: what's next? He was circumspect, of course, but made no attempt to hide the fact there are a lot of new cars planned for the next year or so; each with their own basic architecture on which variants can be built.
We've already had a good glimpse of what the next 40 series will look like. Next it is the turn of the 60 series. That will be sooner than we think.
The reVolvolution continues.