New car review

Volvo V60 Cross Country review

Is the Volvo V60 Cross Country a car you really can drive well off the beaten track?

Summary

The Volvo V60 Cross Country adds extra versatility to an already impressive estate car. Few SUVs will tackle challenging conditions as effectively.
Design
8
Comfort
8
Driving experience
8
Value for money
8
Safety
9

Summary

The Volvo V60 Cross Country adds extra versatility to an already impressive estate car. Few SUVs will tackle challenging conditions as effectively.

60-second summary

What is it?
The new Volvo V60 Cross Country is the latest version of the brand’s 4×4 ‘country estate’.

Key features
All-wheel drive, raised ride height, off-road mode

Our view
The Volvo V60 Cross Country adds a whole lot of extra versatility to an already impressive estate car.

Its raised ride height, all-wheel drive, off-road mode and hill-descent control give it the capability of tackling muddy fields and rocky forest tracks while adding an extra element to an extensive on-the-road safety package.

Similar cars
Audi A4 allroad, Skoda Octavia Scout, Volkswagen Passat Alltrack


Full review

Introduction

It may surprise some reading this to learn that not everyone wants an SUV. The traditional premium estate, typified by the Volvo V60, still holds a lot of sway with a certain type of buyer.

But for some of the V60’s customer base, the ability to do a little of what traditional SUVs can do (and what many of today’s SUVs can’t), towing a horsebox across a muddy field or tackling a hole-strewn forest track, can be useful. And for such buyers, there is the Volvo V60 Cross Country.

Volvo has been making all-wheel-drive Cross Country models for 21 years. The new V60 version comes to market as a sister to the larger V90 Cross Country, but also a more tempting proposition, because it no longer has a direct rival.

Previously buyers looking for such specialist wheels were tempted by the Audi A4 allroad, but the allroad no longer on UK sale – whether it will be a part of the soon to be revealed next A4 range remains to be seen.

So the nearest alternatives to the V60 Cross Country are the Skoda Octavia Scout, that offers all of the ability but not in a premium car package, or AWD cars from the likes of BMW and Mercedes-Benz that have none of the additions to allow any serious green-lane motoring.

We tested the mainstream V60 on its UK launch in July 2018 and were impressed, highlighting the car’s big boot, premium build quality and performance, along with the impressive safety package.

The Cross Country stands a little higher than a stock V60, and looks a little more muscled-up thanks to the extra mouldings intended to offer some form of protection off-road. But it’s what’s under the skin that makes all the difference…

Buying and owning a Volvo V60 Cross Country

Being effectively a V60 trim level, the Cross Country maintains all the appeal of its mainstream sisters, and adds some bespoke features of its own. In the UK you can only buy one version, with a D4 diesel engine combined with an eight-speed auto transmission and permanent all-wheel drive.

Externally the visual differences to a standard V60 are most obviously the raised ride height, the car standing 6cm further off the ground on its 18-inch alloy wheels.

The body gains some extra plastic, in the form of wheel and sill extensions and a lower front grille all finished in charcoal. As an aside, Volvo is building a reputation for its environmental awareness, and among recent measures is a pledge that 25% of the plastics in its cars will be recyclable by 2020.

As well as the AWD, the car gains hill-descent control, to assist with descending steep muddy or rocky slopes, and an extra setting on its driver-operated Drive modes.

Operating below 25mph (exceed that speed and the system automatically defaults to the Comfort setting), Off-Road mode activates the hill-descent, calibrates the engine, transmission and AWD to provide max traction on slow slippery surfaces, increases the power assistance to make the steering lighter, disables the auto start-stop and adds a compass to the digital driver’s display.

Cross Country models also retain the impressive specification of other V60 models. Highlights include the nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system in its signature vertical format, dual-zone climate control, front and rear parking sensors, a powered tailgate and the impressive 12-inch digital dash display ahead of the driver.

Mind you, there remain plenty of opportunities to spend big on the options list. Our test car’s on-the-road price of £38,270 soon ballooned to £50,915 thanks to extras. These included an £1,800 ‘Xenium Pack’ – adding a panoramic sunroof, a 360-degree parking camera and auto parallel and 90-degree parking, and for £1,275 a Winter Pack with heated front seats and wiper blades plus headlight cleaning and a head-up display (for winter?).

Adding another £1,625 was ‘Intellisafe Pro’ which loads on a whole lot of useful extra safety. The list includes adaptive cruise control, blind-spot information, cross traffic and rear collision aids and the Pilot Assist steering aid.

Having said that, the V60’s standard safety package is pretty impressive, with Volvo remaining the standard-bearer in safety. The City Safety suite of collision avoidance aids is on every car and includes autonomous emergency braking that reacts to vehicles, pedestrians, animals and cyclists.

Newly launched on the V60 is Oncoming Collision mitigation – this works just like City Safety but analyses the behaviour of other cars either running alongside or approaching in the other direction, and reacts accordingly. Unsurprisingly, the V60 gets a full five-star Euro NCAP safety rating.

Continued on next page: Interior, driving experience and our verdict

Andrew Charman
Andrew Charman
Andrew is a road test editor for The Car Expert. He is a member of the Guild of Motoring Writers, and has been testing and writing about new cars for more than 20 years. Today he is well known to senior personnel at the major car manufacturers and attends many new model launches each year.

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