Volvo is re-entering the American station wagon market with a vehicle that caters to a driver's needs, big and small.
The V90 Cross Country hit U.S. dealerships in March and is a raised version of the V90, which is available only online or through Volvo's overseas delivery program that includes a trip to Sweden. Despite its ride height -- it offers 8.3 inches of ground clearance, about an inch shy of the XC90 -- and off-road capability, the V90 Cross Country won't convert SUV lovers, but is instead intended to be a niche vehicle with a Swedish personality.
Volvo is undergoing a brand revival under Geely, the Chinese company that bought the automaker from Ford Motor Co. in 2010. The blockbuster sales of the XC90 large crossover -- which sold 92,449 new and XC90 Classic units globally in 2016, more than doubling 2015 sales -- are the most obvious indicator of Volvo's resurgence, and have given the automaker some room to experiment with the final member of its 90 series family.
But Volvo can't rely on crossovers alone for its resurgence. Wagons have historically been the cornerstone of Volvo's fleets. The automaker established its dominance in the segment more than 60 years ago with the sturdy and long-lasting Duett, and later iterations soon became status symbols for middle-class American families.