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TALKING CARS

All-new Volvo XC90 blazes trail to the Swedish brand’s future

Plus, the Volvo V60 Cross Country makes a tough case for wagons

Published: July 07, 2015 12:00 PM

Jake, Tom, and Gabe

“All new.” It’s one of the most abused phrases in automotive marketing; we’ve seen it applied to as little as a nip-and-tuck facelift with a new radio and restyled headlights. But if any car really and truly qualifies as being all-new, it’s the 2016 Volvo XC90. We get our first look at the future of Volvo on this episode of “Talking Cars with Consumer Reports.” (A first drive report will soon follow.)

Think of the XC90 as a modern day Martin Luther, nailing the Swedish brand’s mission statement to the SUV market’s front door. Four-cylinder only engines, advanced infotainment, super-luxurious interior appointments, and sophisticated safety equipment all play a big part for the modern Volvo.

In contrast, we also discuss our Volvo V60 Cross Country, which dutifully reflects the brand’s past. Following the marque’s previously successful recipe, it takes a normal V60 station wagon and jacks up its ride height to create a faux-SUV. Problem is, Volvo already has a popular compact upscale SUV—the XC60—that offers more room and drives as well, all for about the same price. We love wagons, but this one misses the mark.

Maybe the V60 Cross Country doesn’t make a convincing case. Leave that to our Volkswagen Golf SportWagen test car, which quickly became a staff favorite. We rave about its compact size, spacious practicality, and fun-to-drive nature. But the TDI diesel engine comes in for some criticism, despite its cult following and fuel economy. The episode wraps up with a discussion about the sports sedan market, and why it lacks a clear stand-out choice that balances driving enjoyment, luxury, and reliability.

As with the other shows, this episode is also available free through the iTunes Store. Subscribe to the video or audio. You'll also find the video on YouTube.

Share your comments on this show below, and let us know if you need any advice for choosing a car.

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Tom Mutchler


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