The 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country might just charm America into wagons

Volvo has taken the wraps off its latest luxury car, the 2017 Volvo V90 Cross Country, a beefed-up, ruggedized version of its new V90 wagon. Like the S90 and V90, the new car is a particularly Swedish take on luxury – plenty of leather and open-pore black walnut wood – but, unlike its siblings, the Cross Country specification increases ground clearance by 2.5-inches to 8.3-inches.

It's an important change, since Volvo drivers aren't just looking for a car that looks like it can go off-road: a significant proportion actually use it that way. Volvo took the V90 Cross Country to north Sweden for -40 centigrade extremes, to test out the various tweaks and adjustments made along the way.

That includes getting a completely new tire with a softer, more rounded profile. Volvo says that should be more accommodating on difficult road surfaces, but also more comfortable in highway driving. The electronic chassis control has been reprogrammed, and there's hill descent control as standard.

A double-wishbone front axel and integral link rear axel suspension are paired with rack-assisted, electro-mechanical steering that's speed-dependent. Five drive modes – Eco, Comfort, Dynamic, Off-Road, and Individual – are borrowed from the XC90.

The cladding can be specified in a contrasting color to the body, to emphasize the Cross Country spec, or alternatively ordered to match. Style changes to the front and rear of the car increase both approach and departure angle, and there's optional rear air suspension with computer-controlled dampers.

Under the hood there's a T6 2.0 liter, 4-cylinder engine, with both supercharging and turbocharging to deliver 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft. of torque. It's paired with an 8-speed automatic transmission. Final performance figures, along with economy, will be announced closer to release.

There's a good reason for Volvo to make a big deal out of this particular car. Cross Country variants of the Swedish automaker's are significant sellers – of V60 sales, it's a roughly 50/50 split between the regular wagon and the V60 Cross Country – and in fact the company has sold more than 200,000 Cross Country cars in the US since the nameplate was launched.

Volvo will only offer a single variant of the V90 Cross Country, a T6 AWD. That'll start at $55,300 (plus $995 destination) with standard 19-inch wheels, Thor's Hammer headlamps, leather interior with 10-way power front seats and heating, a power tailgate, keyless entry, and park assist.

Volvo's Sensus Connect infotainment system is standard too, with its 9-inch touchscreen and a 12.3-inch LCD for the driver. CarPlay and Android Auto are included, and there's a 10-speaker, 330 watt audio system.

$4,500 gets you the Luxury package, with ventilated Nappa leather comfort seats, power side and cushion bolsters along with massage on the front seats, heated rear seats, 4-zone climate control, a cooled glovebox, and more.

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$1,950 adds the Convenience package, with HomeLink, Park Assist Pilot, heated washer nozzles, and 360-degree surround view cameras. Metallic paint will be $560, integrated booster seats $500, a head-up-display (HUD) for $900, and 20-inch 10-spoke alloy wheels for $750.

Volvo's excellent Bowers & Wilkins audio upgrade is $2,650, while premium air suspension and active chassis is $1,200.

V90 Cross Country production will kick off in Sweden this fall, and sales are expected to begin in the US come Q1 2017.