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2019 MINI Cooper SE Countryman PHEV: A DriveWays Review…

by Frank A. Aukofer

With substantial numbers of electric cars still on the far horizon, the dominant trend in the industry is toward gasoline-electric hybrids, including semi-sporting vehicles like the 2019 MINI Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 PHEV.

P90240566_highRes_mini-cooper-s-countrThat’s a mouthful but no surprise because Britain’s MINI is owned by BMW, the Bavarian Motor Works, which has a habit of naming its vehicles with what look like technical job descriptions. An extreme example was the 2016BMW Individual M760i xDrive Model V12 Excellence THE NEXT 100 YEARS.

On the MINI, the ALL4 designates all-wheel drive, Countryman the model, SE the trim level and PHEV stands for plug-in hybrid electric vehicle.

Nomenclature aside, the Countryman PHEV qualifies as a crossover sport utility vehicle, built like a car with a unibody.  It is fairly large for a MINI, stretching nearly 16 feet long and weighing almost two tons.

P90240568_highRes_mini-cooper-s-countrWith 94 cubic feet of space for passengers and a cargo area of 17 cubic feet, it has as much interior space as a midsize car. But it also fits the government’s classification of a small station wagon.

It uses a 134-hp 1.5-liter three-cylinder engine to drive the front wheels and an 87-hp electric motor to drive the rear wheels. Together, the system makes 221 hp and 284 lb-ft of torque.

The power gets to the pavement through a six-speed automatic transmission for the front wheels and a one-speed direct drive for the rear wheels.

P90240747_highRes_the-new-mini-countryCity/highway/combined fuel consumption in gasoline-only mode is rated by the Environmental Protection Agency at 27/28/27 mpg. In hybrid operation, the mpg equivalent works out to 65 MPGe. As a plug-in, it can travel a maximum of 12 miles purely on electric power, but it takes a feather foot on the throttle.

With its BMW and British heritage, the MINI delivers good performance and handling but with some English eccentricities. It can nip off zero-to-60 mph stoplight sprints in about six seconds. But road noise intruded on some less than ideal surfaces.

Handling, especially in the Sport driving mode, is precise with the front wheels obedient to the driver’s steering wheel inputs. With the suspension system biased toward handling, the ride tends toward stiff rather than cushy. However, the John Cooper Works (JCW) sport seats, upholstered in “carbon black Dinamica/cloth,” are supportive and comfortable with solid bolstering for spirited driving in the twisties. They also are heated; a redundancy with cloth.

P90240708_highRes_the-new-mini-countryThe Countryman PHEV also came with a BMW-like base price of $37,750, including the destination charge. With options that included PHEV Sport and Special Edition packages, touchscreen navigation package and John Cooper Works appearance package, the bottom-line sticker price came to $45,750.

The JCW package also included a leather-wrapped steering wheel, synthetic suede headliner, a rear spoiler and 18-inch alloy wheels. A PHEV Sport package included power folding outside mirrors and a panoramic sunroof.

P90240596_highRes_mini-cooper-s-countrA glance at the instruments shows a group of circular gauges, including the center touchscreen. The design harks back to the mid-20thcentury, when MINIs came with a giant center-mounted speedometer.

There was no missing the tested MINI on the road. It had a classy charcoal paint job, with outside mirrors and badges done up a sort of chartreuse color.

Two outboard passengers in back get plenty of head and knee room. But the center-rear passenger gets disrespected by a large floor hump, narrow and hard cushion, and intrusion from the center console. The power tailgate, part of the PHEV Sport package, provided access to the cargo area.

P90240656_highRes_the-new-mini-countryThe MINI came with an odd mix of equipment. It included a navigation system, automatic climate control, wireless smart phone charging and Apple CarPlay but FM radio without SXM satellite radio. An AM band could not be found. There also were no power seats. The seats up front had six-way manual adjustments.

Moreover, the sun visors did not slide on their support rods to adequately block sun from the side. And the sunshade for the panoramic sunroof was made of a perforated cheesecloth-like material that admitted too much sunlight. Sunshades should be opaque.

MINI Countryman sales in 2018 totaled 17,565, up 2,700 from 2017 at a time when total MINI sales declined by 3,421 to 43,684.

P90240573_highRes_mini-cooper-s-countrSpecifications    

  • Model: 2019 MINI Cooper SE Countryman ALL4 PHEV four-door crossover sport utility vehicle.
  • Engine/motor: 1.5-liter three-cylinder gasoline, turbocharged; 134 hp, 122 lb-ft torque; AC electric motor, 87 hp, 122 lb-ft torque; combined 221 hp, 284 lb-ft torque.
  • Transmission: Six-speed automatic front wheels; one-speed direct drive rear wheels.
  • Overall length: 15 feet 10 inches.
  • Height: 5 feet 1 inch.
  • EPA passenger/cargo volume: 94/17 cubic feet.
  • Weight: 3,915 pounds.
  • EPA city/highway/combined fuel consumption: 27/28/27 mpg. Gasoline/electric combined miles per gallon equivalent: 65 MPGe.
  • Electric only range: 12 miles.
  • Base price, including destination charge: $37,750.
  • Price as tested: $45,750.

Disclaimer: This test drive was conducted at a manufacturer-sponsored press event. The manufacturer provided travel, accommodations, vehicles, meals and fuel.

P90240672_highRes_the-new-mini-countryPhotos (c) MINI

 

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2018 Audi A4 allroad: A DriveWays Review…

by Frank A. Aukofer

If you’re done with conventional sedans and station wagons but not quite ready for a tall crossover sport utility vehicle, take a look at a ‘tweener like the 2018 Audi A4 allroad.

It is a station wagon, yes, but taller — though not as tall as the crossovers that are steadily taking over the marketplace to the point where sedans and wagons are an endangered species.

2017-Audi-A4-allroad-582Unfortunately, tall wagons are few in number and mostly  tilted toward the luxury class. Besides the A4 allroad, they are the Volvo V60 and V90 Cross Country models, the Jaguar XF Sportbrake and the Buick Regal TourX.

All of these offer all-wheel drive and a lower center of gravity for more sporting handling than most crossovers. They also are slightly taller than their station wagon brethren.

The Audi allroad is the granddaddy of the tall wagons, dating back nearly two decades in A6 and A4 trim. For 2018, as in 2017, the A4 allroad arrives with a 252-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 273 lb-ft of torque.

A seven-speed dual-clutch automatic transmission sends the power to Audi’s famed quattro all-wheel drive system, now with a new wrinkle. For economy, it operates in front-wheel drive under normal conditions. As soon as slippage is detected, it switches instantly and seamlessly in milliseconds to all-wheel drive.

2017-Audi-A4-allroad-583We know this only because we have been told verbally and in the literature. Driving the A4 allroad, you never detect the changeover. The twin-clutch automatic is similarly quick, said by Audi to shift in 1/100thof a second.

All of this conspires to launch the allroad to 60 miles an hour in less than six seconds, according to Audi and independent tests. Top speed is governed at 128 mph, though most owners likely will never bother to experience it.

However, the rapid acceleration can’t happen if you allow the engine stop-start to be turned on. Then you get that dreaded hesitation off the line, although it doesn’t shudder as much on the allroad than on some other vehicles. Fortunately, the stop-start can be turned off, though you must do it every time you start the engine.

Of course, you don’t buy a tall wagon like the A4 allroad to compete in autocrosses or bounce over trackless terrain like a Jeep or Land Rover. However, it is equipped with five driver-selectable drive modes, including an off-road setting that optimizes transmission shifting, steering and adaptive suspension settings that enhance performance off the pavement.

2017-Audi-A4-allroad-571Besides off-road, the other settings are comfort, automatic, individual and dynamic, with the last the tightest for on-road performance. The individual setting can be tailored for the driver.

Most owners are unlikely to do much off-roading in any case. The allroad, like other Audi models, is a classy, luxury vehicle to be polished and admired, not bashed and scratched.

The quattro all-wheel drive does impart an ambiance of confidence in foul weather conditions, especially deep snow, and does so with the panache of a quiet butler in a palace, always ready with a tray full of capabilities.

One of those, of course, is utility. The allroad has midsize sedan space for passengers, though the center-rear position, as is usual in almost every vehicle, is cramped and uncomfortable. But the big payoff lies in cargo space. There’s 24 cubic feet of it behind the second-row seats, more than enough for everyday favorite things. Flop the rear seatbacks and it expands to 59 cubic feet to haul the dorm room stuff of a new college freshman.

2017-Audi-A4-allroad-578Though it is a luxury vehicle, the allroad is not outrageously expensive given its features. The base price is $45,475 and, with options that included a Premium Plus package, the tested price came to $53,750.

That covers full safety equipment, including Audi’s pre-sense collision avoidance system, which detects objects and pedestrians, and can bring the allroad to a stop anywhere under 25 mph — a boon in modern urban stop-and-go traffic.

Other equipment included LED lighting all around, Audi telematics with navigation, Bang & Olufsen audio with SXM satellite radio, tri-zone automatic climate control, perforated leather upholstery with heated front and rear seats, eight-way power front seats with memory settings, power tailgate, garage-door opener, heated and folding outside mirrors, and a parking assistance system.

However, the equipment did not include such items as adaptive cruise control, lane departure mitigation or blind-spot warning.

2017-Audi-A4-allroad-592Specifications

  • Model: 2018 Audi A4 allroad 2.0T quattro S tronic four-door station wagon.
  • Engine: 2.0-liter four-cylinder, turbocharged, 252 hp, 273 lb-ft torque.
  • Transmission: Seven-speed twin-clutch automatic with manual-shift mode and all-wheel drive.
  • Overall length: 15 feet 7 inches.
  • EPA passenger/cargo volume: 94/24 cubic feet. (59)
  • Weight: 3,815 pounds.
  • EPA city/highway/combined fuel consumption: 22/30/25 mpg.
  • Base price, including destination charge: $45,475.
  • Price as tested: $53,750.

Disclaimer: The manufacturer provided the vehicle used to conduct this test drive and review.

2017-Audi-A4-allroad-570Photos (c) Audi.

2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake S AWD: A DriveWays Review…

by Frank A. Aukofer

When you buck the automotive tide, like the classy 2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake does, you’re either in the vanguard of a fruitful pursuit or on your way to a flop.

That’s because the Sportbrake is a station wagon — also called a hatchback by some — a body style that was long ago rejected by American buyers after the introduction of the minivan in the mid-1980s and, later, the advent of the sport utility vehicle and its car-based variant, the crossover.

jxfsb18myrsport20dsiliconsilver161017002-resize-1024x682SUVs and crossovers threaten to take over the market across the board, from economy to luxury. Ford announced recently that it was dropping conventional sedans to concentrate on those two configurations and its hot-selling pickup trucks.

Even ultra-luxury manufacturers are getting into the game. Bentley markets its Bentayga and Lamborghini has its Urus, both crossover SUVs with price tags starting around $200,000. And even Rolls-Royce reportedly will introduce a crossover starting at around $700,000.

Jaguar sells its compact two-row F-Pace crossover at a price just shy of $50,000, with options. But the Jaguar/Land Rover company has expertise in SUVs, large and small, so a bigger Jaguar crossover or SUV is likely.

jxfsb18myrsport20dsiliconsilver161017041-resize-1024x682A note about nomenclature: Generally, an SUV is a tall body-on-frame vehicle with rear- or four-wheel drive. Crossovers are built like cars, with unit bodies and front- or all-wheel drive. Most manufacturers (and the buying public) like to lump them together as SUVs.

The new Jaguar Sportbrake wagon — the S trim with all-wheel drive — is an outlier along with a few other marketplace entries: the new Buick Regal TourX, the Audi A4 Allroad, the BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon, the Mercedes-Benz E-Class wagon and a few others.

In Europe, station wagons are often regarded as a step up from a standard four-door sedan. Enthusiasts like them, especially the sport-oriented models like the new Jaguar Sportbrake, because they look great, are practical and, best of all, handle like sports sedans. Most crossovers and SUVs, though they deliver satisfactory handling in daily driving, have higher centers of gravity that can make them feel tippy when pushed hard.

jxfsb18myrsport20pfirenzered161017067-resize-1024x670The Jaguar Sportbrake name is derived from what the British, back in the mid-20thcentury, called a Shooting Brake — usually a small two-door hatchback like a Volvo P-1800 or an MG-B GT.

With a stylish and streamlined profile, the tested Sportbrake S with all-wheel drive is impressive at first sight. It is 16 feet 3 inches long with ample interior room: 107 cubic feet of space for passengers with a cargo area of 22 cubic feet that expands to 67 cubic feet with rear seatbacks folded.

Comfort is first-class for the driver and three passengers, with good seatback bolsters in front to hold the torso in spirited driving. However, with a large center hump and a hard cushion, a fifth passenger in back gets disrespected. Outward vision to the rear is restricted by big back headrests and fat rear pillars, so outside mirror adjustment is critical even with the blind-spot warning.

jagxfsportbrake18my140617104accipadlargelowres-resize-1024x970The tested Sportbrake S with all-wheel drive gets its power from a 380-hp supercharged V6 engine that delivers 332 lb-ft of torque. The muscle gets to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic transmission that can be manually shifted with paddles on the steering wheel. EPA city/highway/combined fuel economy is rated at 18/25/21 mpg.

Acceleration to 60 mph arrives in a claimed 5.3 seconds, with a top speed of 121 mph. There’s some minor hesitation off the line unless you keep the revs up before releasing the brake.

But the beauty of the Sportbrake lies in the precision steering and handling. Despite its stretched length, it responds quickly to driver inputs and changes direction like a smaller sports sedan.

jagxfsportbrake18my140617111acclowres-resize-1024x810Contributing to the handling is a rear air-suspension system and automated torque vectoring, which judiciously applies the inside brakes to move the Sportbrake more smoothly around corners and curves.

With a starting price of $71,445, this Jaguar is up in nosebleed price territory. But it includes full safety equipment, leather seating and such equipment as a panoramic glass sunroof, though the sunroof shade is one of those trendy, cheesecloth-like perforated fabrics that admit too much sunlight. Sun shades should be opaque.

Options included adaptive cruise control, Wi-Fi hotspot, surround-sound audio system, four-zone climate control and other luxury touches that brought the price up to $84,245.

jagxfsportbrake18my140617074acclowres-resize-1024x822Specifications

  • Model: 2018 Jaguar XF Sportbrake S AWD four-door station wagon.
  • Engine: 2.0-liter V6, supercharged, 380 hp, 332 lb-ft torque.
  • Transmission: Eight-speed automatic with manual-shift mode and all-wheel drive.
  • Overall length: 16 feet 3 inches.
  • EPA passenger/cargo volume: 107/22 cubic feet.
  • Weight: 4,045 pounds.
  • EPA city/highway/combined fuel consumption: 18/25/21 mpg.
  • Base price, including destination charge: $71,445.
  • Price as tested: $84,245.

Disclaimer: The manufacturer provided the vehicle used to conduct this test drive and review.

jxfsb18myrsport20dsiliconsilver161017031-resize-1024x682Photos (c) Jaguar Land Rover.

2017 Subaru Outback: A DriveWays Review . . .

by Frank A. Aukofer

Some day someone will carve or cast a monument to the Subaru Outback, in 2017 still a steady success because of an imaginative modification.

In 1995, sport utility vehicles were coming into their own, led by the Ford Explorer, which used a pickup truck chassis with a station wagon body. It became the best-selling SUV. Other manufacturers took note.

But Subaru was a passenger car company with no truck experience. It finessed the situation by taking its existing Legacy station wagon, adding all-wheel drive and jacking up the body to deliver better ground clearance and a taller ride height.

17_Outback_SnowNot much later, the company decided to make all-wheel drive standard in all of its models. That exists to this day except for the rear-drive BRZ sports coupe, developed jointly with Toyota, which sells it as the 86 (formerly Scion FR-S).

Though automobile engineering is way more complicated than most people imagine, adding all-wheel drive to the Outback and other Subaru models was relatively simple.

That’s because Subaru is the only vehicle manufacturer to exclusively install horizontally-opposed engines, also called “boxer” or “flat” engines, in all of its vehicles. It’s a design used from the 1930s to the mid-1970s in all Volkswagen Beetles and microbuses.

Boxer engines have their cylinders lying horizontally, feet to feet, on both sides of the crankshaft, instead of leaning or standing upright like engines with a V or vertical design. To add all-wheel drive to a front-drive vehicle the engineers ran a driveshaft off the back of the engine.

17TDI_OBKb049Boxer engines, because of their low profile, also deliver a lower center of gravity for improved handling. Some of that gets canceled out by the Outback’s tall profile but it works well.

With 8.7 inches of ground clearance, the Outback can negotiate many off-road trails. However, it lacks some equipment needed for serious boondocks duty — though it does have hill descent control. Its orientation is toward more secure handling in nasty weather conditions.

Subaru never did produce a typical truck-based SUV. Instead, almost every other manufacturer came around to Subaru’s concept. Truck-based SUVs now are in the minority while unit-body car-based crossover SUVs like the Outback rule the sales charts.

Moreover, Subaru’s vision enabled the company to survive and even improve sales in the great recession a decade ago. And it continues. Buyers signed up for 182,898 Outbacks in 2016. It was far and away Subaru’s best seller, better than the acclaimed Forester and the smaller Crosstrek, its other crossovers.

16Obk_Touring-intThe Outback 2.5i tested for this review was the Touring model, which came so well equipped that it carried no options. The starting price, $36,870, is the same as the bottom-line sticker. Power comes from a 175-hp four-cylinder boxer engine that delivers 174 lb-ft of torque. If you want more, the Touring can be upgraded for $2,200 with a 256-hp 3.6-liter six-cylinder boxer engine with 247 lb-ft of torque.

Both versions get the power to all four wheels through a continuously variable automatic transmission (CVT) that can be shifted manually with paddles mounted on the steering wheel.

A CVT, which uses a system of belts and pulleys to multiply the engine’s torque, ordinarily has no shift points. Some sound and feel as if the transmission is slipping. That doesn’t sit well with some drivers, who prefer the feel of automatic shift points.

17TDI_OBKb010Subaru mitigates most of that and also programs the transmission to impart artificial shift points under hard acceleration. The manual shift mode on the 2.5i mimics a six-speed automatic. EPA city/highway/combined fuel consumption is a respectable 25/32/28 miles to the gallon.

One shortcoming: If you shut off the engine in Drive and forget to shift into Park, the Outback can roll away. There’s no automatic fail-safe.

Though the Outback is a midsize, it feels and drives like a bigger vehicle. Interior space is generous, especially in the back seat, which has enough knee and head room to accommodate NBA basketball players. The drawback is the center-rear seat, which is compromised by a hard, high cushion and a large floor hump.

The tested Touring model came with Subaru’s Eyesight system, which includes such safety items as collision mitigation, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, blind-spot warning and automatic braking when reversing.

The Outback still resembles a station wagon. But it’s doubtful prospective customers see anything but a fully-equipped midsize crossover SUV that comes with a promise of durability and a long-term relationship.

17_ObkSpecifications

  • Model: 2017 Subaru Outback 2.5i Touring four-door crossover sport utility vehicle.
  • Engine:5-liter horizontally-opposed four-cylinder, 175 hp, 174 lb-ft torque.
  • Transmission: Continuously variable automatic with six-speed manual shift mode.
  • Overall length: 15 feet 10 inches.
  • EPA passenger/cargo volume: 105/36 cubic feet. (73)
  • Weight: 3,684 pounds.
  • EPA city/highway/combined fuel consumption: 25/32/28 mpg.
  • Base price, including destination charge: $36,870.
  • Price as tested: $36,870.

Disclaimer: This test drive was conducted at a manufacturer-sponsored press event. The manufacturer provided travel, accommodations, vehicles, meals and fuel.

17TDI_OBKb003Photos (c) Subaru

2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack: A DriveWays Review…

by Frank A. Aukofer

In the interest of accuracy discussing the 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack, let’s call a spade a spade—or, this case, a wagon a wagon.

VW folks perhaps would like us to think of it as a compact crossover sport utility vehicle because small and compact crossovers currently are the hottest items in the market, rapidly muscling into sales of compact and midsize sedans.

But Volkswagen already has a compact crossover called the Tiguan. The Alltrack basically is the same vehicle as the Golf SportWagen, only slightly taller with better ground clearance and all-wheel drive.

2017_golf_alltrack_6343The Tiguan had respectable sales of 43,638 in 2016. But it was way down the ladder from the compact crossover leader, the Honda CR-V, which sold 357,355 copies.

Generally, crossover SUVs have unit bodies, built like most automobiles. The original SUVs were, and are, built like pickup trucks with their bodies sitting on separate frames. An example of a truck-based SUV is the Chevrolet Tahoe. The car-based Subaru Forester is a crossover.

For some unfathomable reason, U.S. buyers decided some time back that they didn’t like station wagons or hatchbacks. The distaste continues for wagons, which had their heyday back in the 1970s. But customers are warming up to hatchbacks, mainly because manufacturers finessed the situation by jacking up hatchbacks to crossover height and adding all-wheel drive.

2017_golf_alltrack_6349Nevertheless, modern station wagons—especially one like the Alltrack with standard all-wheel drive—continue to be useful and driver friendly. They usually handle and perform as well as their sedan siblings with the bonus of, in some cases, double the cargo carrying capability.

That’s not the case with the Alltrack. Because it’s based on the hatchback Golf, its cargo space of 30 cubic feet is only about seven cubic feet more than the Golf’s. Nevertheless, it’s a welcome windfall. The Alltrack also is a foot longer than the Golf and better looking with its stretched profile.

The tested Alltrack was a midlevel SE version with a $31,350 price tag. It was well equipped overall but lacked a couple of desirable features, including automatic climate control and a fully powered driver’s seat. To get those you must step up to the top-line SEL.

2017_golf_alltrack_6329But the motorized seatback recline feature and manual seat adjustments, which include seat height, should satisfy almost everyone. They lack only the full fine-tune power adjustments favored by finicky drivers. The seats themselves deliver support and comfort, though they are covered in man-made leatherette, which is durable but sticky in summertime. Front seats are heated so they are only briefly chilly in wintertime.

Interior space is not generous. The driver and front-seat passenger have plenty of head and elbow room. But the outboard back seats, despite decent space for the noggin, come up short on knee room. Though there’s a seatbelt for a fifth passenger in the middle, it’s not worth the bother, compromised by an intrusive floor hump and a hard seat cushion.

Safety equipment included a standard rear-view camera, stability and traction control, fog lights, heated windshield washers and tire pressure monitoring along with a crash mitigation system.

2017_golf_alltrack_6327Desirable convenience features included a motorized glass sunroof, upscale Fender audio system, Bluetooth connectivity, SXM satellite radio with an informative center touch screen, keyless entry, pushbutton starting and selectable driving modes: Off-road, custom, normal and sport.

The sport setting holds the transmission to higher engine revs before shifting for better acceleration and passing. Though the off-road mode incorporates hill descent control, the Alltrack should not be confused with a genuine boondocks basher. It can handle foul weather and, with its slightly better road clearance, can negotiate unpaved forest roads. Mostly what the all-wheel drive provides is more secure handling on curving two-lane highways.

The Alltrack, despite weighing about 250 pounds more than the SportWagen, nevertheless is a spunky performer. It is powered by VW’s ubiquitous 170-horsepower, turbocharged 1.8-liter four-cylinder engine mated to a smooth but snap shifting dual-clutch automatic transmission that can be shifted manually.

With a mid-seven-second 0-60 acceleration time, it won’t win many stoplight sprints. But it exhibits a lightness of being that infuses throttle inputs, and steering and suspension system feedback, which impart an eager and nimble feel.

About the only thing the Alltrack lacks is a taller profile. Many drivers derive confidence from sitting up high and looking over the traffic, though that’s problematical now with the proliferation of crossovers.

Maybe VW should simply jack it up a bit more.

2017_golf_alltrack_6346Specifications

  • Model: 2017 Volkswagen Golf Alltrack TSI SE four-door station wagon.
  • Engine:8-liter four-cylinder, turbocharged, 170 hp, 199 lb-ft torque.
  • Transmission: Six-speed dual-clutch automatic with manual shift mode and all-wheel drive.
  • Overall length: 15 feet.
  • EPA passenger/cargo volume: 94/30 cubic feet.
  • Weight: 3,497 pounds.
  • EPA city/highway/combined fuel consumption: 22/30/25 mpg.
  • Base price, including destination charge: $31,350.
  • Price as tested: $31,350.

Disclaimer: This test drive was conducted at a manufacturer-sponsored press event. The manufacturer provided travel, accommodations, vehicles, meals and fuel.

2017_golf_alltrack_6336Photos (c) Volkswagen

2017 Volvo V90 Road Test and Review

by Jason Fogelson

Plenty of vehicles get labeled “iconic,” but few really deserve the term. The Volvo wagon lives up to “icon” status, and now there’s a new generation of the flagship on its way. When it arrives on US shores later this year, the 2017 Volvo V90 wagon will take its place on showroom floors next to the fantastic new S90 sedan.

Extending the roofline and adding a tailgate transforms the sedan into a very different vehicle. Curvier and more streamlined than the boxy Volvo wagons of old, the new V90 is gorgeous and elegant. The interior is a model of Scandinavian design, with natural materials and a minimum of fuss.

As soon as I drove the V90 during a launch event in Malaga, Spain, I told my friend Russell Datz, Volvo USA’s Media Relations Manager, that I’ve found the car that I’m going to buy next — in 2024, when I can afford a used 2017 V90.

You can read my full 2017 Volvo V90 Test Drive and Review at Autobytel.com.

Photo (c) Jason Fogelson

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