3.3.2019Volvo V60 Cross Country first drive
Volvo's V60 has quickly established itself as one of the best estate models in the compact executive class. The Swedish firm is now looking to build on that by launching the V60 Cross Country, a more rugged, outdoorsy take on the family estate. We attend the launch to see how the new crossover gets on.
Review by Chris Lilly
Keeping things simple, there is only one engine available for the V60 Cross Country at launch, and it's Volvo's jac-of-all-trades D4 2.0 litre 190hp diesel. It's not the most powerful unit available to the engineers, nor is it the least punchy. Instead, it sits in the middle of the diesel line-up, and offers a good balance between performance and economy. Here, in this new crossover estate, the power allows for a 0-62mph time of 7.6 seconds, thanks to 400 Nm of torque being put to all four wheels. Power goes through Volvo's eight-speed automatic gearbox, which works nicely with the engine, and allows for a smooth delivery of power and relatively quick progress when required. It also sits quite happily when deployed during a little light off-roading, which can be a weakness with some automatic transmissions. Essentially you can leave it to its own devices, though you can always take control if needs be with the gear selector. The V60 Cross Country isn't going to bother any performance estates then, but it's got plenty of performance for most drivers, and its powertrain works well off-road too.
I love a Cross Country version of a Volvo estate. The V90 is a fantastic machine, and I reckon it's made better in Cross Country guise, thanks to a slightly higher ride height for added waftiness. The V60 Cross Country is based on the same themes, and takes a conventional V60 before then raising the ride height by 60mm and adding permanent all-wheel drive as standard. The result is a car that looks as though it will deal with a bit of mudplugging easily enough, but is also civilised when being driven on the road - which let's be honest is the vast majority of the time for most drivers. Thanks to all-wheel drive and that raised ride height, the off-road grip is very good, even on normal tyres, so it's not just a case of a chunky design but nothing to back it up. This translates well to the road too, and although tested during a surprisingly sunny and dry spell, I'd wager that in poor conditions, the V60 Cross Country would excel. The taller springs mean body control through the corners isn't as tight as with a conventional V60, but it also means that the ride is more comfortable, and this suits the character of the car well. It deals with poor road surfaces and speed bumps excellently, and there is little compromise when comparing the V60 Cross Country to a V60 in terms of driving dynamics. There are clear differences, but the Cross Country version certainly doesn't ruin the handling, and the more supple set-up will suit some drivers better than a normal V60.
One of the clearest differences between V60 and V60 Cross Country is the styling. The added 6cm in height is surprisingly noticeable, and the body cladding on the lower surfaces adds a certain ruggedness to the styling. It's not as much as previous iterations of Cross Country models, with the majority of the bodywork still body-coloured, but the lowest sections front, rear, and on the sides have plastic protection to keep away the worst of bumps and scrapes when off-roading. Above that, it's essentially standard V60, which is a great piece of estate car design, and thankfully unaltered in this Cross Country model. It's not only one of the better looking cars in its class, it is also one of the most practical, with no compromise in interior space with the Cross Country trim. Boot space is some of the best around, even considering the Volvo has fewer rivals in V60 Cross Country form than the conventional estate. Passenger space front and rear is as good as the standard V60 too.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
The V60 Cross Country is quoted at returning 55.4 MPG, forfeiting around 8 MPG over the non-Cross Country model with the same D4 engine. That's mainly down to the increased ride height and permanent all-wheel drive accounting for reduced efficiency. Having only driven the car on a launch currently, we've no true figures to compare official with real-world economy. However, having kept an eye on the trip computer, high 40s to low 50s MPG would seem a reasonable target for owners. It's not as good as the standard estate, but an improvement on many SUVs of a similar footprint, so it's all a matter of perspective. To tax, the XC60 Cross Country will cost £140 a year after the first year, where it will cost £515 for the initial 12 months (included in the OTR cost). Careful when buying though as the V60 Cross Country only just scrapes under the £40,000 Premium Rate threshold.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
The D4 powered version of the V60 has an official fuel economy figure of 62.9 MPG, and this isn't at all unrealistic to achieve by my reckoning. After more than 670 miles in the V60, the trip computer was reading an astonishingly good 66.9 MPG. This did include a long motorway-based stint towards the end of the test of about a third of the total distance. However, even before that, on a greater mixture of roads, the average was reading 57.4 MPG. This is a good reflection of what drivers can expect to find when covering routes along a variety of roads, including driving in built up areas, A- and B-roads, and motorways. Those racking up the motorway miles should have no problems in exceeding the official figure. To tax, the V60 will cost £205 for the first year (included in the OTR cost) and then £140 thereafter as it comes in beneath the £40,000 Premium Rate limit.
The V60 Cross Country is one of the least green in the estate's range, though thanks to the diesel engine tested, it doesn't score too poorly at all considering its size and focus. Like the fuel economy figure, looking at the Cross Country against a conventional V60 for example, and it's not as efficient. However, compare it against an XC60, and it excels. Sitting in the middle ground, with almost direct rivals, means it depends on your point of view as to how green the V60 Cross Country is. To assist regardless, there is Volvo's drive mode selection, which allows users to pick an Eco setting. Likewise, there's auto stop/start, and a leggy top couple of ratios in the gearbox to allow for low revs at a cruise. According to our calculations, the model tested has a Next Green Car Rating of 37.
The Cross Country model is a trim level in its own right, which keeps things simple. Standard equipment includes 18-inch alloys, Cross Country cladding and styling, permanent all-wheel drive, Off-Road setting on the drive mode selector, Hill Descent Control, LED headlights with Active High Beam, powered tailgate, Sensus touchscreen system with Bluetooth, DAB, and USB connectivity, leather trim, digital driver's display, and cruise control.
It's only a first impression, but the V60 Cross Country seems like a great addition to the Volvo range. It's filling a niche between the V60 and XC60, but it's likely to prove a popular model, particularly with those in rural areas or who don't want a full-sized SUV. Combine these features with the standard practicality, style, and comfort of the V60 range, and the Cross Country proves quite the package.
Model tested: Volvo V60 Cross Country D4 Auto
Body-style: Crossover estate
Engine / CO2: 2.0 litre diesel / 135 g/km
Trim grades: Cross Country
On-road price: From £40,435.
Warranty: Three years / 60,000 miles
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 4.0 Stars