EDITOR WES RAYNAL: I like station wagons, and this one is no exception. It looks good to me, sleek and low key. The interior is pretty, build quality is quite good, and the seats are just awesome. I still think Volvo’s seats lead the car biz. Backseat room is OK, but not great. If I had one beef about the inside, it’s that there are a whole lot of buttons in there; I didn’t count them all, but it’s more than I like to deal with.
The car drives well, the ride is soft and ably soaks up road imperfections, and there’s decent power here, especially above 3,000 rpm. Acceleration is neither quick nor slow. On the freeway, it’s luxury-car quiet inside. In fact, I think the excellent freeway manners might be one of the best things about the car. The steering is well assisted without feeling synthetic or overboosted.
Overall, it’s a stylish and clean-looking wagon. It’s worth a look.
ROAD TEST EDITOR JAKE LINGEMAN: Unlike every other auto journalist ever, I don’t have an undying love for station wagons. I think they’re fine, probably better than a crossover, but I’m not one of these “diesel-euro-manual-wagon-for-life” guys. On the other hand, this V60 is good, really good.
It starts with the I5. That and the other odd-cylinder Focus we drove both have this great sound that I haven’t heard from an even-cylindered car. It’s quite peppy too, minus a little turbo lag, but otherwise throttle movement is good. Torque comes on strong once the turbo kicks in, and all-wheel drive makes sure there’s no slip off the line. The brakes were a little soft, and had more travel than I like, but as always, that could just be this particular press car.
The six-speed is smooth in normal mode, sort of pushy in sport mode. I know I’m not the average Volvo driver, but I like a little kick in the back with a shift, so I liked it. The gear selector shifting is WRONG, with up being upshift. I think only Mazda and the Germans do it right, where up is downshift. I messed with it for a few minutes but since it’s not a dual-clutch setup, it’s no more fun than full automatic driving.
The Cross Country rides smoothly, even over broken pavement. It leans surprisingly little in corners, but easily has enough power to spin the outside tires. The traction control kicked in a few times in the wet. I didn’t notice if there was a sport mode for the TC.
The V60 doesn’t feel huge to me on the inside. I didn’t think there was a ton of knee room in the back seat and there’s not a ton of room behind either. I went on a full grocery run, though, and had plenty of room to spare. A weeklong family vacation for four might take a little finagling.
The rest of the interior looks way upscale. The seats are great, but they’re not Lexus-great. I think the LS460 has the most comfortable seats in the car biz. They are adjustable, with separate height adjustments for the front and rear of the seat bottom. The radio was easy to use, though I’m not a fan of all those buttons on the center console. I guess the number pad is for phone calls, but how hard is it to use voice control for that, or just hit the button on your phone when it’s connected via Bluetooth. Phone connection and setup was easy.
There are a ton of safety features, this being a Volvo and all. It lowers the volume on the radio when the lane departure kicks in, which is annoying, but probably safer than a muted beep you might not hear. It also has blind-spot indicators, cross traffic alert and front park assist, though I didn’t know that at the time. Even so, I was backing out of a blind parking spot, stopped for a second, looking for traffic and thought, “This is a Volvo, I’m sure it’ll tell me if I’m about to get hit.” It did, I didn’t, and this is why drivers are getting worse.
The Cross Country version of the V60 does look better than the base model with a new grille, skid plates, exclusive rims and the like. It also gets more ground clearance. However, you can’t get the T6 engine, 325 hp, on the Cross Country, only on the base V60.
I think crossover shoppers looking in the $40-$50K range should take a drive. There’s nothing to lose and you might just gain super-cool wagon with a weird engine, and be the envy of all your enthusiast friends.
Offering new Cross Country 18” and 19” wheels, the V60 Cross Country adds comfort and off-road aesthetics, while reducing road noise and providing added wheel protection.PHOTO BY VOLVO
ASSOCIATE EDITOR GRAHAM KOZAK: I guess I’ve never really understood the infatuation with wagons, either. I prefer them to crossovers, and I find them to be, in general, aesthetically pleasing. But they don’t make me weak in the knees and I don’t think they’re some kind of signifier of true car geekiness -- everyone knows that’s FWD diesel hot hatches, anyway.
That said, I’ve liked the old brick Volvos since before it was ironically cool to do so, which I guess made me predisposed to like this V60 Cross Country. Its lines are elegant and that Cross Country package gives it a nice, slightly aggressive stance. Not overtly aggressive -- we're talking about the Swedes here.
The good design carries over to the interior. You won’t drown in rich leather or real wood accents; a Mercedes sedan this is not. But from the seats (firm but very ergonomic) to overall cabin appearance, this is a well-considered vehicle.
Even the busy button-laden center console makes a lot of sense in practice; a phone-style alphanumeric button-based setup isn’t the most elegant-looking way to input phone numbers or destinations, but it’s probably the least distracting one.
One significant thing I could do without is the I5. It’s a smooth, punchy motor, but Volvos new E-drive engines seem to be better in nearly every way -- and their increased frugality won’t hurt, either. Note that the E-drive inline fours are available on non-AWD V60s, and they get just 10 fewer hp and an eight-speed auto. It seems likely that they’ll make their way up the range sooner rather than later.
In any event, the V60 isn’t really about spirited driving to me. It’s neither boring nor thrilling. Just a seemingly predictable, dependable, well-executed vehicle that ought to provide years of reliable family service. Time will tell, but that sounds a lot like those old brick Volvos that we all love…
Its biggest challenge -- besides the crossovers that have devastated the family sedan/wagon segment -- is its price. At $49,350 as-equipped, you’re really going to have to like the Swedish automaker to even give this one a test drive; that’s simply too much to demand for Volvo standbys like “safety” or “driving confidence” in an era where those attributes are more or less universal -- especially when you’re not quite able to compete with German luxury players on interior quality.
Like the V60 wagon, the V60 Cross Country is equipped with a standard 40/20/40-split rear seat that increases versatility for transporting cargo. Each backrest in the three-piece rear seat is folded with exceptional ease to create a flat load floor.PHOTO BY VOLVO
Options: Platinum package including Harmon/Kardon premium sound system, active dual xenon headlights with washers, accent lighting, auto dimming rear view mirrors, convenience package, keyless drive, rear park assist camera, HomeLink integrated garage door opener, digital compass, technology package featuring adaptive cruise control with queue assist, collision warning with full auto brake, pedestrian/cyclist detection with auto brake distance alert, driver alert control, lane departure warning, road sign information and active high beams ($3,650); Climate package including heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel, heated windshield, heated windshield washer nozzles and interior air quality system ($1,550); BLIS Package including blind spot information system, cross traffic alert, front park assist and lane change merge aid ($925); metallic paint ($560); speed sensitive steering ($325); Urbane wood inlays ($400).
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