Rugged, four-wheel-drive estate cars may be a small niche compared with SUVs, but they often make very able tow cars. The Volvo V90 Cross Country is a good example of the breed.
It’s certainly quick. The D5 engine has 354lb ft of torque, more than enough to pull any sensibly matched tourer at a brisk pace. Towing a caravan loaded to 85% of its kerbweight, the Volvo accelerated from 30-60mph in just 9.7 seconds.
For the most part, it’s a stable tow car, too. However, in a crosswind the V90 did wander slightly, with its relatively soft suspension lacking the iron-fisted control of the Jaguar F-Pace, for example.
The trade-off is a very soft and pliant ride. Just don’t expect it to entertain the driver – it’s more of a relaxed cruiser than a driving enthusiast’s car.
Inside the V90 is beautifully made and practical with it, although the big transmission tunnel means the back of the car is better suited to two rather than three.
We found room for a full load of holiday luggage in the boot, although the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Estate has a greater luggage capacity. And you’d need to empty the boot to get at the space-saver spare.
For a powerful four-wheel-drive estate, the official combined figure of 57.6mpg is reasonable, and strong resale values help offset the relatively steep purchase price.