The V90 Cross Country gets the 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel motor that powers the XC90 in India. It makes 235bhp and 480Nm of torque (higher than S90’s 190bhp/400Nm), and uses an eight-speed automatic transmission to lay down all that power through an all-wheel drive system. Once cranked, there’s a fair bit of diesel clatter heard outside the car, but good cabin insulation prevents it from filtering into the cabin.
Off the mark, this motor picks up pace in an unhurried linear fashion and there’s a mild surge post 1500rpm which can be felt all the way to about 4300rpm. The torque spread is quite flat, and the eight-speed automatic transmission uses the pulling power generated by the motor in an efficient manner. Aiding the driving capabilities of the V90 Cross Country are four modes: Eco, Comfort, Off-road and Dynamic.
Eco mode is meant for the best possible efficiency where upshifts are carried out quickly, and it also allows the motor to coast. Needless to say, responses from the motor are quicker in Comfort mode which makes for a little easy driving. But it is the Dynamic mode which is ideal for spirited driving experiences since more torque is sent to the rear wheels, and the transmission clings on to a lower gear for better response. However, we noticed that the downshifts are noticeably slower than the upshifts, which at times makes the power output jerky, especially when making a quick overtake.
Slotting into Off-road mode can be done till speeds of up to 40kmph, and it automatically activates the hill-descent control, hill-start assist, and also directs more torque to the rear wheels. There is no additional lift and the ride height is fixed. We didn’t go serious mud-plugging in the V90, but the all-wheel drive combined along with the altered electronics, plus the superior ground clearance aids the V90 to cross some rugged and slushy trails that you wouldn’t usually dare in a regular sedan. You do have to be careful though, considering that the V90 has low profile tyres and damaging the wheels could be an expensive affair.
The V90 uses a double wishbone front while the rear is suspended via air-springs like in the S90. Unlike in most cars, changing the driving modes also changes the damping characteristics. In Eco and Comfort mode, the ride is comfy at low speeds but as speeds rise, it tends to wallow a bit. When the road gets worse, you can hear the suspension working in the background, and the harsh bumps result in a thud filtering into the cabin without severe body movement. This is where the Dynamic mode comes handy and is the preferred setting for higher speeds as it offers a flatter ride.
With the V90 slotted in Eco or Comfort mode, the steering feels light and this eases the driving capabilities in the city. That said, Dynamic mode is better suited for sporty driving, especially around bends, since the steering feels heavier. Despite the fact that the V90 rolls a bit, grip levels are really good thanks to the all-wheel drive and the wide Pirelli tyres. We also felt that the brakes on the V90 are progressive with just the right amount of feedback.