2015.5 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 AWD
We attempt to answer some pressing questions surrounding Volvo’s new V60 wagon.
This whole lifted wagon thing…it’s been done before, right?
Yes. Volvo’s been at the game for a while, although Subaru can be credited with starting the genre back in the early oughties. The recipe is pretty basic: add some ground clearance and butched up exterior doodads to a practical car with four wheel drive and BAM! You end up with the Outback Wagon. Actually, if you want to reach back even further in history for this concept, there’s the AMC Eagle of the early 1980’s…
No, that won’t be necessary. Does the need for a car-based wagon with a bit more ground clearance even exist?
Look, there are plenty of cars out there whose existence we question often but they seem to find buyers no problem. The Volvo you see here is the stylish V60 wagon with a little more toughness added to the formula, and we don’t see the harm in that. The increased ground clearance makes entry and egress a breeze, lends a bit more in the capability department all while forgoing cheesy plastic body cladding and noisy, off-road biased tires. Plus, Volvo’s research shows that people really dig the commanding seating height but don’t want to end up with a crossover or SUV.
Wait a minute- doesn’t Volvo already sell a Cross Country wagon?
They do, but it’s a bit different than the V60 you see here- it is bigger in roughly every dimension, and therefore holds more stuff. It also has Volvo’s wonderful inline six under the hood, one of the last modern Volvos to hold out offering such a powertrain layout. The problem they might now be facing is convincing buyers to entertain purchasing the V60 after they’ve pointed out that the X70 is a shade cheaper. Having trouble keeping track which is which? You may think of the V60 as the more en vogue vehicle of choice, while the XC70 is more the workhorse of the two.
So is it any good off-road?
Volvo’s use of “Cross Country” in the model name shouldn’t prompt you to follow your neighbour’s Jeep Wrangler to the Rubicon Trial. Will it go farther than the delicious V60 Polestar version we drove last year when the pavement ends? Yes, but we’d recommend extreme caution in doing so. Think of the V60 Cross Country as a wagon that will excel in nasty weather but is better relegated to the urban jungle.
You mentioned the Polestar version…will the Cross Country be as quick?
Definitely not. The Polestar uses a turbocharged version of the aforementioned inline six and has enough suds to expedite the sprint to 100km/h in under 5 seconds. The V60 lops off a cylinder, giving you a turbo inline five that makes a respectable 250 horsepower. It moves the wagon around town briskly enough, but fuel economy suffers if you keep it on boost. The part we like best about the inline five is the soundtrack: it snarls and growls just like you’d expect of that engine architecture.
OK, but how does it drive?
Quite well, actually. Volvo’s steering is weighty and precise with a good grasp on maintaining straight ahead when you’re on the highway. The suspensions’ long travel makes for a composed ride without excessive body motions, an impressive balance. The inline five fades into the background softly, and the whole thing is pretty refined.
What’s it like inside?
Typical Volvo. You get the same nicely rendered digital dashboard and all the panels fit amongst one another nicely. You’ll notice that the flowing console that’s starting to look a little button heavy yet still manages to pull off the Swedish minimalist vibe. That feeling permeates into the infotainment system, which at first seems too Spartan but you end up really liking it for its clean interface and healthy degree of intuitiveness. And then there’s the seats; oh my, the seats. Let’s just say that you’ll have a very difficult time finding comparable thrones throughout the automotive kingdom.
So what’s the verdict?
At the most fundamental level, the V60 excels because of what it isn’t, and that is yet another crossover type SUV mish-mash. Around here we love wagons because you don’t give up the superior dynamics of a car vs. crossover, nor do you suffer an extra penalty in fuel economy. Further, to our eyes, the V60 is one of the more stylish and nicely built versions of the slowly-regaining-in-popularity body style. If you gotta tow heavy things or your commute takes you into gnarly terrain, you may want to look elsewhere.
2015.5 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 AWD – Specifications
- Price as tested: $56,050
- Body Type: 4-door, 5-passenger wagon
- Powertrain Layout: Front engine/all-wheel drive
- Engine: 2.5-litre turbocharged inline-5, DOHC, 20 valves
- Horsepower: 250 @ 5,400 rpm
- Torque (lbs-ft): 266 @ 1,800 rpm
- Transmission: 6-speed automatic
- Curb weight: 1,723 kg (3,800 lbs)
- Observed fuel economy: 12.6L/100 km (19 mpg)