Returning after a 1-year hiatus, is the Volvo V60 Cross Country. It's basically a Volvo S60 wagon (hence the V60 moniker) with a lift kit and slightly wider stance. Utilizing the same chassis and engine as the Volvo XC60 crossover, V60 Cross Country competitors include the complete compact luxury crossover set, and, more partially, the Audi A4 allroad, Buick Regal TourX and Subaru Outback.
Changes that transform the V60 into a Cross Country include exterior cladding, 1.2 inch increase in wheel track and suspension lift that provides a maximum of 8.3 inches of ground clearance -- nearly 3 more than a V60. All-wheel-drive is standard on the V60 Cross Country, as are hill descent control, electronic stability control, traction control and a special off-road driving mode.
Sole engine is a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder that makes 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. (In Volvo-speak, this engine is dubbed T5.) It mates to an 8-speed automatic transmission. The all-wheel drive system does not have a low range, but does provide several driver-selectable off-road modes. Maximum towing capacity is 1,800 pounds.
The $45,745 Adventure is the sole trim offering in the V60 Cross Country lineup. It includes 18-inch wheels, leather upholstery and lane-keeping assist. Three stackable packages are offered: Luxury, Advanced and Cross Country. The V60 Cross Country is offered in the Care by Volvo subscription service. This service combines vehicle, insurance and maintenance into a single payment, starting at $750 per month.
In offering just a single powertrain combination, Volvo is fairly confident it knows its buyers. The engine is competent and provides adequate, if somewhat uninspired acceleration. Most peg the 0 to 60 MPH time at about 8 seconds. That's par for the course in the class, but certainly isn't going to put the Cross Country at the top of enthusiasts' shopping lists. The engine isn't as smooth as some other offerings in the class (Audi A4), but works well with the slick-shifting automatic and cruises silently.
With EPA ratings of 22 MPG city and 31 MPG highway, the V60 Cross Country compares favorably to its direct wagon-based competitors and exceeds most of the ratings of more conventional crossover competitors. Like most, save the Outback, premium-grade fuel is required. In routine suburban commuting, the Cross Country is likely to average close to 25 MPG overall. Interestingly, it's hard to match the EPA's 31 MPG highway rating, even in gentle highway cruising.
Despite its Cross Country nomenclature, this Volvo isn't a true "mudder." Rather, it's extremely well suited to coping with wet or snow-covered roads. True, the additional ground clearance and driver-controlled off-road settings make it more capable than a typical all-wheel-drive sedan, its street minded tires and lack of a low range keep it off the Rubicon.
On the flip side, the wider track and lower center of gravity give the V60 Cross Country a leg up on more traditional crossover competitors when the road gets twisty. Its carlike handing is no empty boast. If you're a crossover owner longing for the days when your vehicle didn't corner like deer on an icy lake, this Volvo is nicely planted in curves and exhibits excellent body control. Indeed, the steering and brakes are tuned to provide a European car-like feel.
At the same time, the suspension doesn't offend when the road gets bumpy. There's enough compliance over the rough stuff to avoid a busy ride and there's enough control to quell secondary motions that are often the Achilles' heel of today's compact crossovers. Interior noise levels are noticeably lower than most competitors, but a tick or two above the best compact luxury sedans.
Volvo's available Pilot Assist semi-autonomous driving system works as advertised to de-stress highway driving. It can steer around gentle corners and modulate speed to keep a safe following distance. While it requires the driver to stay engaged at all times, it can reduce long-trip fatigue. Volvo's self-parking system works as advertised and make it easy to get into tight spaces.
Inside, the V70 Cross Country's cabin will feel very familiar to current Volvo owners. Materials appear to be a cut above the class norm and the design is Scandinavian sleek. The overall feel is upscale and modern.
Drivers face a digital twin dial setup with a programmable center screen. A head-up display is available as well. While traditional in look and feel, the instruments work well to inform the driver with minimal distraction -- something that cannot be said for all of the vehicles in this class. The center stack is dominated by a vertically mounted touch screen that controls everything save the radio volume knob and a few ancillary climate controls. There are also multi-function buttons on the busy steering wheel to help facilitate switching between radio stations, etc. Android Auto and Apple Car Play are nicely integrated.
In essence, Volvo has created an interior that's about as free from clutter as can be had in today's automobile. For the most part, the design works. Once familiar with the screen setup, navigating between menus becomes second nature. It's unfortunate that things like adjusting the audio output and turning on heated seats take a couple of taps, but that's a price of the simple design.
Comfortable front seats offer generous head and leg room. However, the smallish door openings make it challenging to get in and out. Outward visibility is fair, with somewhat thick roof pillars and a high beltline being the biggest trouble spots. The rear seats are nicely padded and offer decent room for adults -- provided the front seats aren't moved more than halfway back.
Plying that middle ground between wagon and crossover, the Cross Country offers a respectable 30 cubic feet of cargo capacity with the rear seats in use. Drop those seatbacks, and capacity easily doubles. In addition, the load floor is flat and wide. Interior storage is limited to a few open and covered bins throughout, certainly not the case with most crossovers.
Bottom Line - Though the Cross Country lists for about $5,000 more than its more mundane V60 counterpart, I'd argue that the added expense might be worth it, given that at $45K the Cross Country is still a bargain. Strong points include a refined and comfortable ride, versatile interior, and strong suite of safety and technology features. Across the board, Volvo has crafted a lineup that tends to offer more value than similar vehicles in the class, with an unmistakable Scandinavian feel.