2015.5 Volvo V60 Cross Country VIDEO REVIEW
2015.5 Volvo V60 Cross Country VIDEO REVIEW
The rugged XC70 now has a similar-minded stablemate. Meet the all-new 2015.5 V60 Cross Country; an all-road, all-weather capable take on the recently released V60 small wagon.
Just when it seemed like Volvo’s hallmark bodystyle was about to be abandoned by the Swedish automaker, the V60 arrived to give new life to the winsome wagon. No longer square, the V60 is out to prove that wagon life can be stylish as well as practical. And now for a more adventuresome take, there’s this Cross Country…a name that’s appeared on the larger V70 since the late 90s. Here it translates into a V60 with a Jeep-like, nearly 8” of ground clearance, a standard Haldex all-wheel drive system called Instant Traction and hill decent control that lets the driver focus on steering while the car modulates vehicle speed – helpful in steep, off-road conditions. When a tire loses grip, power is reduced to that wheel and is transferred to those with better traction while torque vectoring – the process of varying the engine’s power not only from the front to rear axle but also from side to side –facilitates sharper dry-road cornering. All Cross Country models ride on these attractive, dark finish 18” wheels with Continental CrossContact SUV tires. They perform admirably in both of their expected duties, providing added wheel protection off-road and a quiet, stable ride on-road. All of this while elevating the V60’s chic wagon persona.
Compared to the tarmac-friendly version, the Cross Country has had its ground clearance increased by over 2 ½”, there are skid plates front and rear, side scuff plates and fender extenders.
It’s a design that works to effuse the active lifestyle image and it drew admiration all week, looking sharp in this extra-charge Crystal White pearl Paint.
Unlike the V60, the Cross Country comes with only one powertrain – a 250-horsepower, 266 pound-feet of torque 5-cylinder turbo working through Volvo’s 6-speed Geartronic automatic with sport mode.
Just when I thought this 5-cylinder turbo didn’t have much left to offer, Volvo puts it in the Cross Country and it’s a perfect fit. Test drive one and I promise that you’ll be surprised with its instantaneous turbo punch, refined power delivery and exciting dynamic range. Mix in these sumptuous Volvo seats and just right proportions and you’ve got a recipe for driving fun.
With the general dilution of brand-specific driving personality, it’s refreshing to experience a car like this V60 that expresses Volvo’s individualism. You will not find a more comfortable driver’s seat, the mechanicals are smooth yet stimulating and the chassis expertly blends comfort and handling like few others; all unmistakably Volvo. A 0-to-60mph time of 7-seconds poorly communicates just how quick and nimble this wagon feels. Gas mileage on regular – not premium like its Audi competition – is 20mpg city/28mpg highway. It can also tow 3,500 pounds.
As for its wagon-ness, Volvo reaches beyond a hatch and a box by also providing a cargo cover, usable cargo net solutions with multiple positions, 40/20/40 split fold seats that rest flat, a grocery bag holder and easy underfloor access. Its slopping roofline inhibits total volume and as such loses the cargo carrying battle to its closest competitor, the Audi allroad. As an option, young parents can specify integrated booster seats and for everyone else, the rear seats provide theater-style comfort with heated outboard positions.
The minimalist Scandinavian design isn’t for everyone, but don’t let it fool you into equating it with being sparse. This top-trim Cross Country Platinum quietly integrates dozens of luxury-level features not the least of which are Volvo’s IntelliSafe suite – a variety of high-tech safety solutions including Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection with Full Auto Brake, City Safety that prevents or mitigates slow speed collisions with other vehicles and other camera and radar-based goodies like Road Sign Information and Adaptive Cruise Control. And then there’s the Sensus system with the subscription-based Volvo On Call to handle all of the car’s infotainment including a 3G internet connection with a number of cloud-based apps. It doesn’t look all too fancy but it works pretty well, though slower than it should be.
My car also adds the Climate Package with a heated windshield among other items, the Blind Spot Information package, Urbane Wood Inlays and Speed Sensitive steering for an as-tested price of $49,350. That’s almost identical to the allroad I tested this past winter and both cars are very well done. But the V60 Cross Country also appeals to me in a number of intangible ways that give it the winning formula.