The Marathon Runner
I drove my first Volvo about a decade back. It was a nice and smooth drive through the not so nice and smooth highway between Delhi and Jaipur. After that drive, I have driven many-a-times from Delhi to Jaipur. Somehow it has never been the same. I have felt and cursed every bump on the road, I have lost my temper at all that ruckus out there and I have literally hated that highway. But that was not the case during that drive I did a decade back. A few days back, when I test drove the V90 Cross Country, memories came flooding back and I realised why I hate the Delhi-Jaipur highway. It’s not the road. I am used to those kind of highways. It’s the car. Volvos might not have had the super slick ‘cool’ quotient of its German counterparts, but one thing I am certain of is that there is none out there to beat this Swede at the game of comfort. But wait. Something has changed. There is something new about the V90 Cross Country. It is unbelievably comfortable, but there is something else as well. Let’s dive deep in and see if we can find out what these new elements are...
BOY OH BOY!
For me Volvos have always been about safety and comfort. They look very nice but have never had that element of oozing hotness. And that’s where I feel the major shift has taken place. At first glance, the V90 Cross Country comes across as a damn neat looking machine. Call me shallow, but this is hot and it knows it as well. One thing that has always fascinated me in the world of automobiles is concept cars. It’s just that somewhere between the initial idea and the actual product, the concept goes for a toss and some boring aspects like utility, profitability and a general sense of what ‘makes sense’ creeps in. I don’t know what the concept version of the V90 Cross Country looks like and I don’t even wish to know what it looks like. Cos in my head, the final product is as close to what its concept should have been like. It’s damn sleek on the outside and pretty futuristic on the inside.
AND IT KNOWS...
If we are to cut through the accepted marketing terms, the V90 Cross Country is essentially a station wagon. A segment where several manufacturers have tried entering but failed miserably. Somehow the Indian fixation with sedans and SUVs have overshadowed this segment in such a way that manufacturers are extremely wary of launching their proven station wagons in India. So it’s definitely a bold move by Volvo to launch a vehicle in this segment and what might work is their favour, apart from the no competition bit, is the packaging of the V90 Cross Country. Its initial look floors you and once you get inside the cabin, you’re whipped!
The V90 Cross Country is a machine that gives you the luxury of handing the curves the way you would with a sedan and also taking on the off-road stretches like a pro SUV. Of course, it can’t mimic the qualities of a sedan and an SUV, but it comes close, very close. So close in fact that the difference is negligible. In a way, I feel that in the world of hybrid crossovers, the V90 Cross Country is a mutant that’s going to pave the way for future automobile designs and maybe also usher in a segment that has the DNA of a station wagon but also the characteristics of a sedan and SUV… A true-blue mutant from the world of Marvel.