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Volvo V60 Cross Country first drive review

PROS

  • Extra usability
  • Genuinely capable off road
  • Relaxing characteristics
  • It’s based on a Volvo V60

CONS

  • Just one engine from launch
  • More body roll than standard V60
  • About £3,000 premium over equivalent V60
  • T5 petrol is coarse when revved hard
Volvo V60 Cross Country summary
Parkers overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 4.0

The Volvo V60 Cross Country is a more rugged, more off-road friendly version of the standard V60 Estate. Boasting extra ground clearance, body cladding and standard fit all-wheel drive, it promises to be the ideal choice for those who often partake in mild off-roading, yet don’t fancy the idea of an SUV.

It may sound like a niche concept, but in reality the V60 Cross Country has a direct lineage to the car that defined the genre - the 1997 V70 XC, and now has a number of rivals all following the same principle. Cars such as the Volkswagen Passat Alltrack and Skoda Octavia Scout offer cheaper alternatives, while the Audi A4 Allroad is viewed as a direct competitor.

We’re one of the first to drive the second generation Volvo V60 Cross Country, but did so with a proviso. Our test cars were fitted with studded snow tyres, with much of the driving taking place on icy Swedish roads. This means that our impressions are subject to change, and won’t be definitive until we drive the car on regular tyres in the UK.

Volvo V60 Cross Country driving

For now, however, read on to find out whether we think Volvo’s recent run of good form continues with the V60 Cross Country.

What are the main differences over a regular V60?

We touched on a couple in the introduction, including the extra ground clearance and added body cladding. The former is up by 60mm, while the latter replaces the regular bodywork on some of the most vulnerable places on the car (wheel arches, lower front grille and sill mouldings).

In theory, the cladding should be cheaper to replace if you subject it to a small bump or scrape while off-roading.

Volvo V60 Cross Country off-road

As you’d expect, all-wheel drive also comes as standard, as does an automatic gearbox and comfort-oriented suspension – both adding to the more relaxed character of the Cross Country over the regular V60.

Hill Descent Control also features, as do front parking sensors. Overall it’s a small but considered list of changes that all add up to make the V60 Cross Country look and feel different to its more road-focused donor car.

How does the V60 Cross Country drive?

On the mostly snow and ice-covered roads of Sweden, the V60 Cross Country is a superb companion. The studded tyres appear to reduce comfort levels a touch, but without them (and on dry tarmac) we’d wager the Cross Country’s softer suspension and additional ride height would make it the comfiest model in the wider V60 range.

Volvo V60 Cross Country wheel

The all-wheel drive system is something that is rarely used to its potential in the UK, but comes into its own on low grip surfaces. Torque is shuffled around depending on which axle has the most grip, while the car’s advanced stability control systems actively apply the brakes to any wheel that’s beginning to lose grip.

The combination of softer suspension and increased ride height does mean you lose a degree of dynamic ability (or, to put it plainly – sportiness) compared to the regular V60, but it’s really not the end of the world as this isn't that Volvo’s strongest point.

Instead, you get a more relaxed drive that plays on the Volvo’s strengths, emphasising the comfort and refinement aspect that makes it such an attractive all-round package.

What engines can I get in the V60 Cross Country?

From launch, it’s D4 diesel only. This means a 190hp 2.0-litre diesel producing 400Nm of torque, capable of 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds and onto a top speed of 131mph.

Volvo V60 Cross Country engine

Joining the range during 2019 will be the T5 2.0-litre petrol. Boasting 250hp and 250Nm of torque, it’s no slouch; taking just 6.8 seconds to hit 62mph, while top speed is rated at 144mph.

So far, we’ve only had a chance to drive the T5 variant and although it’s likely to be the less popular version, it’s still a satisfying engine. Sure, it’s slight coarseness at high revs does interfere with the luxury feel of the car somewhat, but for the most part it’s quiet and more than punchy enough.

Unlike R-Design models, there are no gearshift paddles on the steering column, but you can still override the transmission using the central gear-lever. Otherwise leave the car to do its own thing and the gearchanges are smooth and well-timed.

What standard equipment do I get?

As well as what’s listed above, all V60 Cross Country models will come with highlights including a 9.0-inch central touchscreen, a 12.3-inch digital information display (in place of traditional dashboard dials), sat-nav, a 10-speaker sound system, switchable drive modes (including Comfort, Eco, Dynamic, Off Road and Individual), an electronic tailgate and LED headlights with active high beam.

Volvo V60 Cross Country interior

Volvo’s suite of hi-tech safety kit also comes thrown in, such as City Safety (can detect and attempt to avoid vehicles, pedestrians, cyclists and large animals in the path of the car) and Oncoming Collision Mitigation (capable of monitoring cars coming towards the car, taking evasive action if a collision is deemed imminent).

How much will the V60 Cross Country cost?

On-sale now, the V60 Cross Country is available from £38,270 for the D4 diesel (the T5 petrol will likely be around £1,200 cheaper), meaning there is approximately a £3,000 premium over the equivalent regular V60 model. Residuals are very strong, with the D4 Cross Country set to retain 48% of its value after three years and 30,000 miles.

The Parkers Verdict - Volvo V60 Cross CountryThe Parkers Verdict

From these admittedly limited first impressions, the Volvo V60 Cross Country looks to be welcome addition to the Swedish brand’s model range. It takes what the regular car does well, and builds on it with added usability and a more comfort-focused character. Whether it’s a match for its closest rival – the Audi A4 Allroad – is something we’ll have to wait until we drive the car in the UK to find out.

Volvo V60 Cross Country rear