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First drive: Volvo V60 Cross Country. Image by Volvo UK.

First drive: Volvo V60 Cross Country
A Volvo V60 with more capability and rugged looks? Where do we sign?

 



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Volvo V60 Cross Country

5 5 5 5 5

Another day, another Geely-owned Volvo Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) masterpiece that has us rooting feverishly down the back of our sofa for every bit of spare change that we have, so that we might own one - this time, it's the Volvo V60 Cross Country that has us loading up the Scandinavian firm's configurator and getting busy with the touchpad clicks. Bold a claim as this might be, we reckon the V60 Cross Country could well be the glistering diamond centrepiece of the whole tiara that is Volvo's current range. It's THAT good.

Test Car Specifications

Model tested: Volvo V60 Cross Country D4 AWD
Pricing: V60 Cross Country from 38,270; car as tested 50,915
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmission: all-wheel drive, eight-speed automatic
Body style: five-door crossover estate
CO2 emissions: 143g/km* (VED Band 131-150: 515 first 12 months, then 450 per annum years two to six of ownership, then 140 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 42.8-47.9mpg**
Top speed: 130mph
0-62mph: 8.2 seconds
Power: 190hp at 4,250rpm
Torque: 400Nm at 1,750-2,500rpm
Boot space: 529-1,441 litres total
* D4 engine does not meet RDE2 emissions, so has raised first-year tax from 205 regular figure for Band 131-150
** worst and best combined consumption figures gleaned from WLTP testing

What's this?

Take one Volvo V60, which we reckon is already one of the finest-looking estate cars of all time, and treat it to the usual 'lifestyle crossover' round of amendments that are enacted on these sorts of machines. So jack up the ride height (in this case, by a significant 60mm), clad the wheel arches and lower body in black plastic, fit some silver skid plates fore and aft, make sure you've got roof rails and your own, specific design of diamond-cut 18-inch alloys, and give it the requisite off-road badging... and you're away. Therefore, what you're looking at here is the V60 Cross Country, the latest entrant into Volvo's Cross Country canon that has previously brought us the muddy V90 off-roader and its salty sibling, the V90 Cross Country Ocean Race.

Don't let familiarity with the lifestyle estate formula breed any contempt in you for the V60 Cross Country, though, because - as sublime as the regular wagon looks - we reckon this is how the Swedish machine was always meant to be. It's quite simply perfect from every angle... especially if it's finished in Crystal White (a robust 950 Premium Paint option), where it amplifies the whole 'intense Scandi cool' vibe to the point where your brain can barely take it in. Sure, the interior isn't much different to a regular V60's cabin (but then, as a regular V60's cabin is gorgeous, precisely what's the problem here?) and you could make the argument that 12,645 of options - as fitted to our test car - makes for a near-51-grand compact estate that still has a 190hp diesel engine. Which seems like a lot of money for such a thing, eh?

Good points, all, but we think the car feels worth every penny, as we shall come to see with the driving experience. Furthermore, there's a beautiful simplicity to the V60 Cross Country's range. In that, there isn't a range. There's just the D4 AWD (for now; a 250hp T5 is on the way later in 2019). That means you get the 190hp/400Nm iteration of Volvo's Drive-E 2.0-litre four-pot turbodiesel, which is having to lug around 1,862 kg of estate car. Luckily, with all-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic gearbox that's exquisite in operation, there's enough mechanical goodness here to overcome any concerns about the V60 Cross Country D4 'not being premium enough', we can assure you.

How does it drive?

Accepting that no SPA-era Volvo, all launched in the wake of 2015's glorious XC90 SUV, has the sharpest handling in the world, the fact that you're looking at a lifestyle estate with ambitions of off-road prowess will probably mitigate the fact that the V60 Cross Country, like its stablemates, isn't that thrilling in the corners. However, it's not without merit in this regard, as it has clean, quick steering, reasonably good minimisation of body roll and simply oodles of grip, meaning you can get it into a fast, flowing groove, if not necessarily a fun one.

Apart from that observation, however, and the possible suspicion that the 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine sounds a just a tad too coarse as it approaches its 4,250rpm point of peak power, the rest of the Volvo's dynamic make-up is achingly close to perfection. That 60mm raise in ride height is not just a set of stilts for the V60 Cross Country, as it also brings in Comfort-spec, softer suspension. And as the regular V60 has a plush, cosseting ride anyway, then you can only imagine what beneficial things this does for the Cross Country's generally superior air of refinement. In short, on the roads, you'll find little to complain about with the way the V60 Cross Country soaks up imperfections in the tarmac. Indeed, even on optional 19s (625), there's little in the way of thumping or bumping from the wheels or dampers. Thus, with that exalted level of ride quality, plus top-notch refinement, the muscular D4 engine, the ultra-slick eight-speed auto and the progressive, confidence-inspiring brakes, the Volvo makes mincemeat of the drudgery of public-roads driving - which is what makes it such a thoroughly endearing companion.

Off-road, it's reasonably impressive too, accepting that it is, at the end of the day, a mid-sized premium executive estate and there's only so much it'll be able to hack through. Expect it to plug the deepest of mud like a Land Rover Defender, a Mercedes G-Class or the unstoppable brute that is the Suzuki Jimny, and you'll come unstuck (er... surely, you'll get stuck...?), but it'll slip and slither and grind its way through some pretty challenging terrain; places far more adventurous and inhospitable than its owners will ever expose it to. With all-wheel drive, Hill Descent Control and an Off-Road Mode that works at less than 25mph, the Volvo has plenty enough in its armoury to live up to the Cross Country epithet, because it will also ford 300mm of water and it has claimed approach/departure/breakover angles of 17/18/23 degrees respectively. Perhaps of more interest to potential owners is that the V60 Cross Country will lug 2,000kg of braked trailer, which makes it a capable tow-car.

Oh, and to sign off our driving impressions with a bizarre Bruce's Play Your Cards Right reference, you definitely want to be going higher, rather than lower, when it comes to the Volvo V60. Previous experience of the Swedish company's otherwise-excellent machines has shown us that the smaller 40- and 60-series cars, like the XC40 and XC60 models, have slightly spryer handling and can take bigger wheels plus firmer suspension without too much detriment to ride quality and tyre roar, unlike the bigger 90-series cars (which definitely need to be specified in Inscription, Momentum or Cross Country specifications).

However, on hand alongside the Cross Country were examples of the V60 R-Design, also fresh to market for 2019. This sits 12mm lower than a normal V60 and fully 72mm closer to the deck than the Cross Country, on sports-optimised suspension. While it looks almost every bit as good as the Cross Country and it also packs those glorious R-Design front seats, we drove a T5 R-Design that had been optioned up with 850-worth of 20-inch alloys. And it was a bit of a disappointment for two reasons: one, it (rather understandably, but still regrettably) didn't sound like the 850 T5-R and V70 R models of yore, despite the fact it had pace to burn; and two, the low-speed ride was brittle to the point of discomfort. Maybe smaller alloys would help, but on first acquaintance the R-Design - sadly - feels like one to steer clear of, whereas the Cross Country is almost a no-brainer.

Verdict

The Volvo V60 Cross Country: pick of the V60 family, probably the pick of the current Volvo product line-up, almost certainly the first estate you should be looking at if you're in the market for anything of an even remotely similar size, shape or price. Save for uninvolving handling, the V60 Cross Country is, quite simply, magnificent in every detail.

5 5 5 5 5 Exterior Design

5 5 5 5 5 Interior Ambience

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Passenger Space

4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 4.5 Luggage Space

5 5 5 5 5 Safety

5 5 5 5 5 Comfort

4 4 4 4 4 Driving Dynamics

4 4 4 4 4 Powertrain


Matt Robinson - 27 Feb 2019









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2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country D4 AWD. Image by Volvo UK.2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country D4 AWD. Image by Volvo UK.2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country D4 AWD. Image by Volvo UK.2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country D4 AWD. Image by Volvo UK.2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country D4 AWD. Image by Volvo UK.

2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country D4 AWD. Image by Volvo UK.2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country D4 AWD. Image by Volvo UK.2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country D4 AWD. Image by Volvo UK.2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country D4 AWD. Image by Volvo UK.2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country D4 AWD. Image by Volvo UK.








 

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