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Volvo V90 Cross Country review: The best car Volvo's ever built
September 17, 2017
When the average person thinks of a Volvo, images of hilariously rectangular brown station wagons come to mind - much more often than thoughts of the decadently-upholstered, tastefully-appointed rolling Swedish fortresses. It's time to change those ideas. Just three years ago, the lush cabins of open-pore wood and metal-grilled speakers were mere concepts, as real in the eyes of the buyer as flying cars. Now almost every "all new" Volvo offers this equipment. The punishment for this rapid growth is that many people still can't seem to push the picture of an old wagon out of their brains. And the wagon is a beleaguered old shape, almost entirely forced out of the market by a shift toward crossovers. "So," someone at Volvo must have said, "let's reinvent the wagon."
That's the only logical explanation for what showed up in my driveway, in the form of the 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country.
It's the best car Volvo's ever built.
Chisel-jawed, sharp-eyed and riding on 20-inch alloys, the Volvo hits you like Thor's hammer when you see it. My God, it's a pretty thing. It should be, too, since you'll have to sign under the dotted line for a whopping $69,440 if you want one with specs like CNBC's tester.
It isn't easy to make a wagon look worth of that kind of cash, and Volvo's hasn't actually done it. No, instead, it made it look like an $80,000 car. If you can't tell from the pictures, it's undoubtedly the best-looking wagon ever to reach U.S. shores.
One thing that doesn't come across in pictures is the sheer volume the V90 occupies. It's nearly 3 inches longer than a BMW X5 and stands 5 feet tall. Of course, this is the big daddy of the V90 range, as the Cross Country model is lifted above the ride height of the standard V90. Not that you'll ever see a standard V90, as dealers will only stock Cross Country models. Standard and R-design V90s are order only.
The Cross Country model also comes with black cladding on the outside to give it a more crossover-like appearance, but the luxury package removes this, giving the exterior of my tester a cleaner, more traditional wagon shape.
Mind you, I'm not saying the V90 looks good for a wagon. No, it looks good, period. In fact, I'd say it's better looking than any other midsize luxury car on the market, sedan or wagon. Yes, even better than its stellar-looking S90 sibling.
In order, these are the most relaxing places I've ever been: The highest point on the Atlantic Drive in Achill Island, Ireland; the hotel outside of La Fortuna, Costa Rica; and the cabin of the 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country.
The S90, this car's sedan sibling, already absolutely leveled the competition in terms of interior. The V90 improves on the near-perfect formula, adding two small but extremely important features: A panoramic sunroof and massive seats.
The glass roof makes the already airy and divine Scandinavian interior an even brighter, more welcoming environment in which to spend your time. And not only do Volvo's world-beating seats keep your kidneys comfortable on long rides, they actively make you feel better with the massage setting.
Every 90 series Volvo is packed with copious amounts of wood, leather and metal that are arranged in a pleasing way. Each model uses technology to improve the experience. But the V90 just turns everything up to 11.
Of course, I'd prefer a darker leather with a lighter wood, but the folks in Gothenburg have thought of that, and offer rich brown seats complemented by lighter wood. Do yourself a favor, get that one.
It is worth noting that you should expect some issues with the infotainment system. My S90 tester had repeated crashes, and the unit in my V90 Cross Country was often very slow to start up. One day, the car's electronics said the blind spot monitoring system was down. Since it was a weekend, I decided to wait until Monday to inform Volvo. By Sunday, it was gone, but that isn't all that reassuring.
To this day I'm still fielding replies on Twitter asking me why I gave the S90 only 2.5 stars in the driving experience category. The reason, which I've told about a dozen people since June, is that the car didn't outperform its class in any way when on the road. It was quick, but not quicker, than anything else. Comfortable, but not obscenely so. Secure, but far from a handling champion.
The V90 drives exactly like the S90, so I'm expecting the folks at Volvo may not be happy with my conclusion in this section. But the V90 Cross Country isn't competing against cars like the BMW 5 series or Audi A6. It's competing against their SUV stablemates, the X3 and the Q5.
In a segment of standouts like the midsize luxury car segment, the 90-series drives adequately. But among midsize SUV's, the V90 is a titan. It handles better than the Mercedes GLC, is less ponderous than the Lexus RX, and is more comfortable than the rest of the class.
Volvo's excellent semi-autonomous technology, Drive Pilot, is on board as standard equipment, and only expands the V90's lead against the pack of midsize SUVs.
There's still too much noise from the super-and-turbocharged four cylinder engine and some harsh impacts make it to the driver's butt, but it easily scores near the top for a segment that often disappoints me.
It's not athletic in the slightest, but Jaguar and Porsche will gladly sell you something that is. If you want comfort and a feeling of quality, look no further.
To determine the car's value, you have to consider the V90's two types of buyers. Those who specifically want a wagon, and those that want a crossover but decide to look at a wagon.
For the first buyer, the V90 trounces its competition. Nobody else but Mercedes sells a wagon this big in the U.S., so the E400 is the car to beat. Optioned to the same level as my $69,440 tester, the big Benz will command a retail price of around $80,000.
Of course, there are some features on the E-class that you can't get on a Volvo, but the Mercedes commands a $10,000 premium, while only offering 13 extra horsepower.
On the SUV side, Volvo's own XC90 undercuts the V90 Cross Country's $52,300 starting price by nearly $6,000. If you aren't planning on checking options, that's a no-brainer. If you do option up an XC90 to the same level of kit, you'll find that the XC90's extra room and third-row come at about a $2,000 premium.
As for competitors outside Volvo, it's a bit of an awkward spot. It's bigger inside than, say, a BMW X3, but smaller than an X5. Similarly, an X3 can be had for less money with the same equipment, but an X5 will cost a good bit more with the same stuff.
But this isn't an apple-to-apples comparison, as you can't get an interior this nice or an experience this serene in anything BMW or Audi makes.
Here I am, hundreds of miles and months away from my time with the V90, and I'm still feeling wistful. This car, and the car I'm reviewing next week (stay tuned!), embedded themselves in my consciousness in a way that no car has done before.
It's surprising, given that the V90 isn't a particularly exciting car on paper. But the wonderful seats, airy cabin, stellar stereo and head-spinning looks have stuck with me - and I can trace it back to one moment.
I was cruising down I-90, at 2 a.m. in the pouring rain, seats heating and massaging me as Zac Brown Band played "Colder Weather" over the Bowers Wilkins Stereo, while Volvo Drive Pilot guided me down the freeway. This was the most relaxing time I've ever had in a car. "This is a special, special car," I thought to myself.
Months later, that feeling hasn't faded. I've completely fallen for this machine - and I bet you will, too.
Rating
Exterior: 5
Interior: 5
Driving Experience: 4.5
Value: 4.5
Overall: 5
Price as configured: $69,440
Volvo Cars Launches Stress-Free International Student Program
March 16, 2017
International Student Program
ROCKLEIGH, NJ (March 16, 2017) - Volvo Car USA, LLC (VCUSA) today announced the launch of the international student program, comprised of an all-inclusive one-time payment that allows the student to drive a new Volvo vehicle during their time studying in the US.

Parents and students alike will have the peace of mind of not having to make monthly payments, purchase separate insurance, establish US credit, or worry about routine maintenance and service. After graduation, simply turn the car in to a local dealer.

"At Volvo, we strive to develop solutions to make life less complicated for our customers," said Rick Bryant, Vice President, Sales Operations, VCUSA. "The international student program is a prime example of this: one simple payment with nothing else to worry about during their time studying in the country."

Students enrolled at a US college, with a Student Visa and valid driver's license are eligible. Full program details can be found by visiting VolvoCarsForStudents.com.

About Volvo
Volvo Car USA, LLC, (www.volvocars.com/us) is a subsidiary of Volvo Car Group of Gothenburg, Sweden. VCUSA provides marketing, sales, parts, service, technology and training support to Volvo automobile retailers in the United States. For more information please refer to the VCUSA media website at: http://www.media.volvocars.com/us.

Volvo Cars expands focus on connected services and reveals refreshed interface in the new XC60
March 14, 2017

Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, has announced a range of updates to its global connected services program and its award-winning Sensus in-car user interface, starting with the new XC60 and the company's existing and new 90 Series cars.

Volvo Cars' innovative In-car Delivery service, a part of the Volvo On Call smartphone app, which launched in 2015 and allows one-time digital access for deliveries to your car, is set to expand to five additional countries during 2017.

"This is just the start. Our roll out of one of the most comprehensive and customer-relevant services in the industry is now shifting up a gear and you will see more convenient and time-saving services offered to Volvo Cars' customers in the coming months," said Björn Annwall, Senior Vice President Global Consumer Experience at Volvo Car Group.

To support the addition of new services, Volvo On Call, the company's connected smartphone app has undergone a total redesign. The app is now one of the most widespread connected car platforms available today. It will be available in around 50 countries by the end of 2017, covering more than 90 per cent of Volvo Cars' global sales.

The organic growth in both penetration and popularity of the Volvo On Call app is based on an increasing desire amongst premium car drivers to access car features and related services while not in their car. Volvo Cars' approach with Volvo On Call is firmly based on its commitment to make life easier for its drivers.

Volvo car owners can now send navigation destinations based on their calendar directly to their car, find nearby fuel stations and even get help finding their car in large car parks or on unfamiliar city streets using the remote smartphone app.  

"The role of Volvo On Call has changed from remote car access app to a platform that functions as the main entry point for Volvo Cars' customers to an increasingly broad selection of connected services.  We are at the forefront of this shift in car technology and service provision. Eventually you might not even need to own a Volvo to benefit from the services offered via the Volvo On Call smartphone app," said Björn Annwall.
The new Volvo XC60 Sensus centre display updates

The Swedish marque has performed a graphical refinement of the Sensus user interface in the new XC60 and in its 90 Series cars, improving usability while presenting a refreshed, clean and appealing design.

"As we learn more about our customers' interaction with our user interface we refine the logic and design to increase ease of use and enhance its appearance. The updated interface is focused on the navigation experience in the car which is one of the core applications," said Ödgärd Andersson, Vice President Software & Electronics at Volvo Car Group.

The new Volvo On Call updates will apply to all new models across the brand and to Volvo On Call enabled cars back to 2012. The Sensus user interface design in the new XC60 will come pre-installed in new 90 Series cars. Existing 90 Series cars will be updated at the next service.
 
Note to Editors:

Volvo On Call was one of the first automotive telematics services available when launched in 2001. It was initially developed as telematics safety system that alerts the emergency services if you are involved in an accident or if you require roadside assistance due to a flat tyre. Volvo On Call also acts as a security system which allows stolen vehicles to be tracked. Over the years Volvo Cars has added a wide range of features and functions to this distinctive subscription service that enables Volvo Cars' customer to stay in touch with their car - no matter where they find themselves. In the last number of years it was grown into a connectivity and convenience platform, delivering a broad range of relevant connected services for Volvo Cars' customers. 
 
Volvo Car Group in 2016

For the 2016 financial year, Volvo Car Group recorded an operating profit of 11,014 MSEK (6,620 MSEK in 2015). Revenue over the period amounted to 180,672 MSEK (164,043 MSEK). For the full year 2016, global sales reached a record 534,332 cars, an increase of 6.2 per cent versus 2015. The record sales and operating profit cleared the way for Volvo Car Group to continue investing in its global transformation plan.

 About Volvo Car Group

Volvo has been in operation since 1927. Today, Volvo Cars is one of the most well-known and respected car brands in the world with sales of 534,332 cars in 2016 in about 100 countries. Volvo Cars has been under the ownership of the Zhejiang Geely Holding (Geely Holding) of China since 2010. It formed part of the Swedish Volvo Group until 1999, when the company was bought by Ford Motor Company of the US. In 2010, Volvo Cars was acquired by Geely Holding.

 As of December 2016, Volvo Cars had over 31,000 employees worldwide. Volvo Cars head office, product development, marketing and administration functions are mainly located in Gothenburg, Sweden. Volvo Cars head office for China is located in Shanghai. The company's main car production plants are located in Gothenburg (Sweden), Ghent (Belgium), Chengdu and Daqing (China), while engines are manufactured in Skövde (Sweden) and Zhangjiakou (China) and body components in Olofström (Sweden).


Volvo Cars named as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies in 2017

March 13, 2017

 

Volvo Cars, the premium car maker, announced today that it has been recognised by the Ethisphere Institute, a global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices, as a 2017 World's Most Ethical Company®. This is the first time that Volvo Cars has received this recognition. 124 companies have been listed this year, with Volvo Cars one of only four from the automotive industry.

 "I'm very proud that Volvo Cars has been recognised as one of the world's most ethical companies," said Håkan Samuelsson, President and CEO of Volvo Cars. "Responsible business is a fundamental part of Volvo Cars' heritage, and engrained in our corporate culture. An ethical approach is not just the right thing to do, but it brings financial value too."

Maria Hemberg, Senior Vice President Group Legal, General Counsel and Chair of Volvo Cars' Sustainability Board, commented: "The World's Most Ethical Company assessment process has helped us drive the continuous improvement of our Compliance & Ethics programme. This achievement is a welcome acknowledgement of our work to date in promoting ethical and responsible practices, both internally and externally."

"Congratulations to all at Volvo Car Group for being recognised as one of the World's Most Ethical Companies," said Timothy Erblich, Ethisphere's Chief Executive Officer. "Volvo Cars embraces policies of diversity and inclusion, is committed to ethical leadership and demonstrates the values of a true global citizen."

Volvo Cars has a comprehensive Compliance and Ethics Programme aiming at preventing and mitigating a range of legal and ethical risks, covering areas such as corruption, human rights, competition law, export control and data privacy. This includes a Code of Conduct, based on international conventions and standards, which governs and guides the actions of all our employees and business partners. Volvo Cars is committed to fostering a culture of Ethical Leadership. Last year, a new training program for managers was launched, focusing on responsible and ethical business practices. To date, over 400 employees have received this training.   

Note to editors: 

About the Ethisphere Institute

The Ethisphere® Institute is the global leader in defining and advancing the standards of ethical business practices that fuel corporate character, marketplace trust and business success. Ethisphere has deep expertise in measuring and defining core ethics standards using data-driven insights that help companies enhance corporate character. Ethisphere honors superior achievement through its World's Most Ethical Companies recognition program, provides a community of industry experts with the Business Ethics Leadership Alliance (BELA) and showcases trends and best practices in ethics with the publication of Ethisphere Magazine. More information about Ethisphere can be found at: http://ethisphere.com.

The World's Most Ethical Company: Methodology & Scoring

The World's Most Ethical Company assessment is based upon the Ethisphere Institute's Ethics Quotient® (EQ) framework which offers a quantitative way to assess a company's performance in an objective, consistent and standardized way. The information collected provides a comprehensive sampling of definitive criteria of core competencies, rather than all aspects of corporate governance, risk, sustainability, compliance and ethics.

Scores are generated in five key categories: ethics and compliance program (35%), corporate citizenship and responsibility (20%), culture of ethics (20%), governance (15%) and leadership, innovation and reputation (10%) and provided to all companies who participate in the process.

 -------------------------------

 Volvo Car Group in 2016

For the 2016 financial year, Volvo Car Group recorded an operating profit of 11,014 MSEK (6,620 MSEK in 2015). Revenue over the period amounted to 180,672 MSEK (164,043 MSEK). For the full year 2016, global sales reached a record 534,332 cars, an increase of 6.2 per cent versus 2015. The record sales and operating profit cleared the way for Volvo Car Group to continue investing in its global transformation plan.

 About Volvo Car Group

Volvo has been in operation since 1927. Today, Volvo Cars is one of the most well-known and respected car brands in the world with sales of 534,332 cars in 2016 in about 100 countries. Volvo Cars has been under the ownership of the Zhejiang Geely Holding (Geely Holding) of China since 2010. It formed part of the Swedish Volvo Group until 1999, when the company was bought by Ford Motor Company of the US. In 2010, Volvo Cars was acquired by Geely Holding.

  As of December 2016, Volvo Cars had over 31,000 employees worldwide. Volvo Cars head office, product development, marketing and administration functions are mainly located in Gothenburg, Sweden. Volvo Cars head office for China is located in Shanghai. The company's main car production plants are located in Gothenburg (Sweden), Ghent (Belgium), Chengdu and Daqing (China), while engines are manufactured in Skövde (Sweden) and Zhangjiakou (China) and body components in Olofström (Sweden).


Top Editors Put New Volvo on Their All-Star Team
March 11, 2017

The all-new Volvo S90 luxury sedan has been named a 2017 AUTOMOBILE All-Star, a title usually reserved for the likes of Porsche, Ferrari and Bentley.

According to AUTOMOBILE's editors, the S90's cohesive package of safety, style, sensibility, and supple ride make it not just a standout luxury sedan, but a car truly worthy of All-Star standing. "With the S90, it's not about how fast it gets you there; it's about how it makes you look and feel as it does," added AUTOMOBILE editor-in-chief Mike Floyd.

"That the S90 sits alongside childhood dream cars as an AUTOMOBILE All-Star speaks volumes about how Volvo can build truly compelling car," said Lex Kerssemakers, Senior Vice President Americas and President and CEO, Volvo Car USA.

The S90 starts at less than $49,000 and is the first car to come standard with semi-autonomous drive functionality. It is available with a T6 316hp turbo- and supercharged Drive-E all-wheel-drive powertrain or a T5 250hp front-wheel-drive layout, features a nine-inch tablet like touch screen control panel, and all the safety for which Volvos have always been known. Consumers can learn more by visiting www.volvocars.com/us.

Being named an AUTOMOBILE All-Star isn't the first recognition the S90 has seen. The car was also a finalist for the 2017 Motor Trend Car of the Year and the 2017 North American Car of the Year.

From the beginning, choosing the AUTOMOBILE All-Stars has been about cutting through the hype and noise in search of a select group of vehicles with style, class, importance, and desirability. While the format has changed some over the years, the overall formula remains simple. No complicated criteria to hue to, no price caps, no narrow categories. We drive them. We argue about them. We vote on them. Done.

AUTOMOBILE chooses its All-Star vehicle contender list from the entirety of all-new, heavily revised, or newly significant variants on sale or otherwise available in the U.S. in the 12 months preceding our test. Then the editorial staff spends multiple days driving the assembled array of All-Stars contenders on both road and track and casts their votes for the winners by private ballot. After choosing the All-Stars winners, the number of which will vary from year-to-year, the staff sets out to get even more extensive seat time with them through long-term tests and other epic, feature-based drives.
 
About Volvo
Volvo Car USA, LLC, (www.volvocars.com/us) is a subsidiary of Volvo Car Group of Gothenburg, Sweden. VCUSA provides marketing, sales, parts, service, technology and training support to Volvo automobile retailers in the United States. For more information please refer to the VCUSA media website at: http://www.media.volvocars.com/us.
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