I t’s unclear who can rightfully take credit for building the very first station wagon, or as it’s known elsewhere in the world as the Estate, Kombi or Avant variant of a car. What is certain, and in keeping with this Swedish auto maker’s passion for practicality, the two-box vehicle is a classic Volvo design.
About twenty years ago, Volvo built an elevated off-road version of its mid-sized V60 station wagon. Called the Cross Country, it retained the driving dynamics of the original wagon, yet had all the traits of what’s now called a cross-over utility vehicle.
This year, Volvo has released a new generation V60 Cross Country. And it’s not just ground clearance that separates this Cross Country (a $5,000 upgrade) from the V60 Wagon. It comes with all-wheel-drive, a longer travel suspension, off-road driver assist refinements, unique equipment packaging and a protective cladding package on all of its lower body panels.
The visual transformation is impressive and gives the V60 CC a strong, sturdy appearance. While its’ ruggedly, handsome appearance may be enough to sway many buyers, there’s more, much more. Volvo is also passionate about safety and the V60 protects its occupants with an integrated structural cage made from hot-formed boron steel, the strongest type of steel currently used in the auto industry.
Some vehicles seem to have that “I love it” instant appeal, which fades as you gradually discover some less appealing traits. Then there are vehicles like the V60 CC. The more time you spend together it seems to build a bond. You get familiar with minor operational quirks and start appreciating its finer qualities.
The driver’s seat, for example, had fewer power adjustments than competitive products in the luxury market segment that I’ve driven. Yet, I loved the comfort and perfect support it offered during an extended highway drive. Discovering its unique design and built-in safety features made it even better experience.
I’m not a fan of multi-function touch-screen displays. So the oversized centrally mounted 23 cm (9-inch) screen that dominates the V60 CC’s dashboard did not initially “spark joy”. On selecting reverse, a live overhead video picture of the car and its surroundings appears on the big screen … ok, that is impressive.
There’s only one powertrain offered in the V60 CC, in Canada. The engine is a turbocharged 2.0-litre that can produce 250 horsepower and it’s mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. Volvo claims a 6.8 second acceleration time to 100km/hour, which is very respectable. More notable, however, is the delightfully smooth, controlled manner that this engine sends power to wheels.
The all-wheel-drive system can direct up to 50 per cent of torque to the rear wheels via an electro-hydraulic clutch. To achieve optimal fuel economy, power is normally sent to the front wheels. And fuel economy is surprisingly good as the V60 CC achieved a frugal overall average rating of just 8.4 L/100km.
A vehicle that looks this good and is a joy to drive shouldn’t also be super safe, practical and off-road capable … then again, it’s a Volvo.
Is the Volvo V60 Cross Country a car?
Yes, most of the time.
Is the Volvo V60 Cross Country an SUV?
Yes, some of the time. Or all of the time, if that’s what you prefer.
Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 base price: $48,900
Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 price as tested: $61,300