The SUV craze is as strong as ever, and that’s a good thing for automakers like Volvo. The company makes lots of them – but it’s also aware that these trendy vehicles aren’t for everyone.
Thank goodness then for the Cross Country cars Volvo makes. These elevated versions of regular estates have been selling for more than two decades. Some would say they look better than SUVs. Not that that’s hard.
The normal V60 was ushered in last year, and as our motoring journalist, Tim Barnes-Clay, discovered, it’s the newest kid on the block to get the ‘Cross Country’ makeover.
Turning the ordinary Volvo V60 into the V60 Cross Country consists of the vehicle being jacked-up by 60mm, along with all-wheel-drive, comfier suspension, an off-road mode, hill-descent control and chunky external plastic cladding being added.
The model also comes with a whole bunch of safety equipment. This encompasses driver alert with lane keeping aid and city brake with steering support. You get sat-nav, too.
Alas, because the Cross Country is the ‘tough’ model, the options catalogue isn’t particularly substantial; there’s no higher-level ‘Pro’ variant, either. As an indication of the V60 Cross Country’s hardy appeal, the stock upholstery, for example, is a fabric and vinyl blend.
So, this fresh car isn’t that different from any other Cross Country labelled Volvo before it. It wears its tough-look cloak well and houses a decent 1969cc, four-cylinder 190ps diesel turbo under the bonnet.
Like its bigger brother, the V90 Cross Country, diesel seems to be the way to go for a hardcore estate. It delivers 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds and tops out at 130mph, which is more than enough for UK roads.
Traction on and off the black stuff is impressive, too. The new model can scramble up and over tough terrain, and on the road, it glides effortlessly over pothole peppered surfaces.
My only gripe is with the steering because, while its leisurely reactions are okay in the regular Volvo V60, it’s unsettling in the Cross Country variant. Because it sits a little higher, when you point it into a bend there’s a fleeting sense of no precision. If the Swedish automaker could add some more substance to the steering, it would finish off what is, all things considered, a relaxing estate car to drive.
In every other respect, this model is the same as the V60 that the UK has taken to its bosom. The interior is immaculately assembled, with a striking design and quality-feel materials. The build quality is rock solid, too. Furthermore, the driving position is spot-on, topped off with Volvo’s legendary supportive seats. Then, in the rear, there’s more than enough leg and headroom for at least two adults.
Another plus point is that the Volvo V60 Cross Country’s all-wheel-drive system doesn’t affect boot space. Cargo capacity is 529 litres with the back seats in position, or a whopping 1,441 litres with them collapsed. The car also deserves a feather in its cap for little practical touches, like the fold-away luggage divider in the boot.
Pros ‘n’ Cons
• Comfort √
• Practicality √
• Grip √
• Performance √
• Steering X
Fast Facts (V60 Cross Country D4 AWD automatic – as tested by Tim Barnes-Clay)
• Max speed: 130 mph
• 0-62 mph: 8.2 sec
• Combined mpg: 42.8 - 47.9 WLTP Combined (l/100km)
• Engine layout: 1969cc, four-cylinder diesel turbo
• Max. power (PS): 190
• CO2: 18” alloy 135g/km; 19” and 20” alloy 143g/km
• Price: £38,270
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