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The sporty wagon continues to offer impressive on- and off-road performance.

COURTESY PHOTO: DOUG BERGER/NWAPA - The 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country B6 AWD was fun to drive on the track at Mudfest 2022 thanks to its turbocharged and supercharged hybrid engine and low center of gravity.
I have long been a huge fan of station wagons and am disappointed so few are made anymore. The 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country is one of the best on the market and should be considered by anyone thinking of buying a midsize SUV. It drives like a luxury sports sedan, has nearly as much cargo space, and comes standard with all-wheel-drive, which is a big plus in the wet Pacific Northwest.

Looking back I'm amazed how far AWD station wagons have come. I owned one of the first, a 1975 Subaru DL that was advertised as the official vehicle of the US Winter Olympics team. It was so small that not many of the members could have fit inside. And the manual transmission gearing was so low it topped out at about 65 miles an hour. But in Southern Oregon where I grew up, it was as tenacious as a mountain goat on the rough trails through the surrounding hills.

COURTESY PHOTO: DOUG BERGER/NWAPA - The 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country B6 AWD could handle the off-road tests at Mudfest 2022 because of its all-wheel-drive system.

So is the Cross Country, as I was reminded when it competed at the recent Mudfest 2022 outdoor activity vehicle competition hosted by the Northwest Automotive Press Association. But it will also easily collect speeding tickets and can haul five adults and their gear in comfort and style.

The Cross County was the only vehicle entered in the competition that wasn't an SUV or truck. And in my opinion, it was the most fun to drive. It was as fast as all but the high-performance models like the over-the-top Ford Raptor pickup, but handled better than them because of its lower, car-like center of gravity.

COURTESY PHOTO: DOUG BERGER/NWAPA - The 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country B6 AWD is a stylish and capable luxury sport wagon.

The Cross Country was originally introduced as a more off-road oriented version of the V90 sport wagon, featuring a slightly higher ride height and additional lower body protection. It is now the only version being offered in 2022, which makes sense because it has been so popular.

A second decision this year is a little more puzzling but does not reduce the Cross Country's appeal. The previous T6 engine was a 2.0-liter four that was both supercharged and turbocharged, produced 316 horsepower and was EPA rated at 20 miles per gallon in town and 30 on the freeway. It has been replaced with the B6 version that adds a 48-volt hybrid system but only produces 295 horsepower while the EPA rating is virtually the same. The only genuine improvement is the torque, which jumps from 295 to 310.

COURTESY PHOTO: VOLVO - The interior of the 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country B6 AWD is modern and luxurious.

That said, I did not notice any change in performance during my weeklong test drive. The 2022 Cross County is still fast off the line, with the standard eight-speed automatic transmission providing smooth, quick shifts between all gears. I didn't need the AWD system during the first days of summer but was impressed with it at Mudfest. At the same time, I doubt many owner will ever take the Volvo seriously off road, if only to avoid scuffing the striking alloy wheels.

Volvo has a long history with station wagons, including the iconic boxy ones that bolstered the company's reputation for making safe if boring cars in the 1960s and 1970s. The new version is still safe but beautifully styled, with sleek exterior lines that flow back from the trademark grill. The interior is as luxurious as any premium car, which rich materials and tasteful appointments, including chrome stereo speaker door screens that could pass as works of art.

COURTESY PHOTO: VOLVO - Five adults can ride in comfort and style in the 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country B6 AWD

When the V90 was first introduced in 2016, it had one of the largest displays of any vehicle. The iPad-like swipe-and-touch screen took practice to master. This year it inherits Volvo's new Google-based infotainment system, which is an improvement over the older Sensus Connect system. A new USB-C port is also standard.

In a week of test driving I found the 2022 Volvo Cross Country as impressive as ever. Thanks to my recent Mudfest testing, I am still confident the stylish station wagon is one of the all-around best vehicles for the Pacific Northwest.

2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country B6 AWD

Base price: $55,200

Price as tested: $68,440

Type: Full-size station wagon

Engine: 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged hybrid four-cylinder (295 hp, 310 lbs-ft)

Transmission: 8-speed automatic with AWD

EPA estimated mileage: 22/29

Overall length: 195.2 inches

Curb weight: 4213 pounds

Final assembly: Gothenburg, Sweden

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