Parkers overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 4.4
  • One petrol and a diesel from launch
  • Other options may follow in due course
  • Automatic, AWD standard across the range

You’re not spoilt for choice with the V60 Cross Country’s engine line-up, but whether you go for the T5 petrol or D4 diesel, all are four-cylinder, 2.0-litre turbocharged engines, directing power to all four wheels via an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Rapid T5 petrol

While the T5 badge has been applied to the tailgates of sporty Volvo wagons for over 20 years, its installation in the V60 Cross Country brings plenty of punch, but little by way of genuine excitement. Although would you really want that in a soft-roading estate? Oh, you would… At your disposal are outputs of 250hp and 350Nm of pulling power from 1,800-4,000rpm, so its progress is pleasingly flexible.

Grey 2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country front three-quarter driving

Well, it’s certainly swift: prior to the 112mph cap, the top speed would have been 145mph, while the 0-62mph blast takes a respectable 6.7 seconds. That’s not dawdling. Pity it sounds coarse at the upper echelons of the rev-range, then, although that’s far more apparent on a B-road blast where you – or the transmission itself – will make plenty of gearchanges; on motorways it’s far more civilised and relaxed.

Sensible D4 diesel

In truth, the D4 makes more sense for more people, given its efficiency is more palatable, and that its real-world performance isn’t far shy of the T5, with a 0-62mph benchmark of 7.9 seconds and a pre-2020 top speed of 137mph.

Grey 2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country rear three-quarter driving

While it’s down on power compared with the T5 at 190hp, torque is up at 400Nm, albeit peaking at a much narrower band of 1,750-2,500rpm. How does that translate in day-to-day driving? More gearchanges, although leave it to its own devices and you’ll find them smooth in transition, with only a moderate amount of engine note fluctuation to accompany the rev counter pinging up and down to attract your attention. It too is a fine cruiser, so plying Britain’s motorway network will see it performing at its best – and efficiently.

What about electrification?

While we’ve already highlighted why there’s not – currently – a T8 plug-in hybrid-equipped V60 Cross Country, electrification will reach the range late-2020 or early-2021 when the mild-hybrid diesel B4 replaces the existing D4. It’s an engine already available in other Volvos and may well be joined by a petrol B5 (confusingly the Swedish marque calls its mild hybrids ‘B’ regardless of whether they’re petrol or diesel) to supplant the T5.

How does it handle?

  • Heavier feeling steering than many rivals
  • Handling barely changed from regular V60s
  • Lacks real engagement for keener drivers

Regular V60s plough a different furrow from their Germanic rivals erring in favour of comfort over out-and-out driving enjoyment, so understandably the Cross Country variant follows suit.

Make no mistake, the Volvo’s a fine car in which to while away mile after mile, be it on dual carriageways of winding back roads, but the sense of engagement experienced will sate the most enthusiastic of drivers who’ve been tempted by the frankly more thrilling BMW 3 Series Touring.

Grey 2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country front three-quarter driving

With the Volvo it’s more about arriving at your destination in as unruffled a state as possible, and in this domain it succeeds, although the steering is a touch heavier than many comparable estates. Not a problem, but worth flagging that in cars where there’s a distinct comfort bias, the steering is typically light to reduce fatigue.

You’d be forgiven for assuming that it might wallow and roll more compared with a conventional V60 on a series of S-bends being that bit taller, but in reality it hardly feels any different at all. You would have to back-to-back test them to notice the differences, but they’re so slight they don’t even qualify as a concern.

It’s a capable tow car; braked trailer weights of 2,000kg for the D4 and 1,800kg for the T5 ensure it’ll haul along a typical caravan with ease.

Is it very good off-road?

Self-evidently, even with the extra 60mm of ride height, this is not a car with the cliff-scaling ability of a goat, but it should be able to tackle the kind of green-laning activities that would make you think twice in a conventional V60.

We used it on a route we test many conventional SUVs and while it wasn’t a stretch for the Volvo, it nevertheless rode lower than many front-wheel drive crossovers enabling them to complete the course with a greater degree of ease.

Remember, the Cross Country pack is a halfway-ish house between a V60 and an XC60 SUV in Volvo’s line-up, and should be considered more like the former in terms of its off-road prowess.

White 2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country driving off-road