The current generation of the V60 Cross Country is far from being at its first laps. Unveiled more than four years ago as a more adventurous option to the V60 wagon, it remains a fine exercise in restraint, faithful to the Scandinavian approach. One perceives a desire for continuity in his simple lines, some of which are uninterrupted. The front part is also abnormally long for a platform with a transverse engine, which nicely completes the essential rear overhang of the wagon. The Cross Country outfit is visually characterized by the use of matt plastics in the wheel arches, on the side sills. However, it is the raised ground clearance that attracts interest: it is increased by a small 5 cm compared to the V60 to better negotiate obstacles.
On board, references to the outdoor world are non-existent, an approach that differs from rival brands that overuse this representation. Regardless, Volvo remains the archetype of the refined Scandinavian approach by handling with accuracy and refinement the arrangement of materials. The leather covering the dashboard shares space with metal parts and a wood strip on the bottom which adds a more raw and natural appearance. On the space itself, the increased ground clearance greatly favors the entry and exit of an airy passenger compartment thanks to a large clearance for the head. However, it is not free from flaws. There are too many shiny black plastics that stain instantly. The storage is also too contained, especially in the center, where we’re looking for a compartment big enough to house our cell phone. Finally, in the back, the central place is unusable because of the bulge in the floor.
Under the hood
Unlike the V60, which can be powered by a four-cylinder supercharged by compressor and turbocharger as well as a plug-in hybrid combination, this Cross Country variant is content with a single, less powerful mechanism. It’s also a four-cylinder, but only turbocharged, whose power is increased to 247 hp and torque to 258 lb-ft. A 13 hp starter-alternator supports it on occasion to fill in the hollows caused by this type of mechanism. Without being a thunderbolt, this powertrain, also composed of an efficient eight-speed automatic transmission, moves the family’s 1842 kg with relative ease. It shines mainly at low revs and its manners are very subdued, which fits with the temperament of this V60 Cross Country. That said, fuel consumption turned out to be a little high for the format, approaching 10 L/100 km.
Behind the wheel
Well seated in seats with irreproachable ergonomics, you grab a good-sized steering wheel and then lay your eyes on an elegant crystal-cut gear lever. Very interesting visually, it is however not very pleasant to handle. Dynamically, this Volvo quickly shows its colors: the feel of the steering is distant and the roll, rather present, without it becoming tiresome. However, there is a precision in the execution, with its double wishbone front axle, an observation a little spoiled by the sometimes too hectic ride. This weakness can be attributed both to the optional 19-inch tires and the lack of adaptive damping. The all-wheel drive exhibits predictable behavior and can sometimes force the rear axle to reposition the vehicle when on a more slippery surface. No behavior settings are also offered, apart from the firmness of the steering and a basic off-road mode.
We really like the focus on materials and their presentation, but the few controls force us to constantly rely on the vertical 12.3-inch touch screen. The interface itself still gives the impression of an unfinished job that Volvo is trying to improve with remote updates. The icons are sparse and small, and the quality of the definition is not of the same size compared to many generalist brands. The Android base of the system, however, allows the integration of a large number of applications as well as Google Maps. The recent arrival of Apple CarPlay is a necessary addition, but the app proved finicky during testing. Wireless docking is also not present. Finally, the optional Bowers & Wilkins audio system gives an extraordinarily clear rendering regardless of the tone it emits. The asking $3750 is well worth the cost.
It seems undeniable that this Volvo V60 Cross Country seeks, with the V60, to keep the compact wagon alive in North America. Without having the means of the rival brands, Volvo must however resolve to prepare an aging product which presents certain shortcomings on the practical level. The fact remains that this family has an endearing side and presents a more complete dynamism than many generic SUVs. It’s not a heart-pounding product, but rather a refined expression of the Scandinavian spirit. There is a salutary simplicity to this V60 Cross Country which may seem attractive to some as German brands rely ad nauseam on technology to define their models. For this approach in itself, we must tip our hats and hope for a next generation in the same vein.
Trunk of an acceptable size
Without being cavernous, the 648 L rear trunk has a very acceptable volume for a compact car, which makes this station wagon attractive for its practicality.
Well thought-out rear seatbacks
When the rear seatbacks are folded down, the head restraints fold down in perfect synchronism, a detail that avoids having to remove them.
Ingenious washer spray
Another detail that may seem trivial: the spraying of the windscreen washer is done by the arms of the blades, which makes it uniform and thus to have a clean windshield more quickly. It’s very effective.
A limited adventurer
When comparing its data with respect to its off-road capabilities, this Cross Country is slightly less efficient than a Subaru Outback, except for its departure angle (22.4 degrees compared to 21.7 degrees for the Outback).
These indirect German competitors
Apart from the Audi A4 Allroad, the V60 Cross Country has no real direct competitors among luxury brands. The larger Audi A6 Allroad and Mercedes-Benz E-Class All-Terrain may be competition, but at a significantly higher starting price.
- Model tested: Volvo V60 Cross Country Ultimate
- Engine: 2.0L L4 DOHC Turbocharged
- Power: 247 hp from 5400 to 5700 rpm
- Torque: 258 hp from 1800 to 4800 rpm
- Transmission: Eight-speed automatic
- Drivetrain: Front transverse engine, all-wheel drive
- Consumption (EnerGuide): 9 L/100 km
- Price (with options, freight and preparation): $74,440 (starting price $56,429)
- Competitors (V60): Audi A4 Allroad
- New in 2023? : No major changes