This week we have in the Volvo V60 Cross Country D3 SE Nav for review and road test, the V60 Volvo with added ride height and ruggedness.
Volvo is busy tidying up its range of cars – and in the process introducing new class-leading models – with the aim, in the next few years, of having an all-new ’40’ Series, ’60’ Series and ’90’ Series range of cars with a saloon, an estate and an SUV model in each.
But there is another model that looks set to add appeal to Volvo’s range, and that’s the Cross Country models, first re-introduced by Volvo on the V40 and now available on the V60 and S60 too.
And this week we have the 2016 Volvo V60 Cross Country D3 SE Nav in for review, complete with added ride height and added titivation to make it look more capable of some modest boot sale car park and country track action.
The Cross Country is a well-established formula – Audi have been doing it with some success with their Allroad models for some time – but is there anything to be gained by getting the Cross Country instead of a regular V60, especially when, as in this review car, it comes with front-wheel drive?
We’ve spent a week finding out.
Inside and out
Familiarity with the regular Volvo V60 means most of what you find in the V60 Cross Country is just as you would expect, but in place of a sporty, dynamic-looking estate car you instead get a car that looks, at first glance, slightly incongruous.
The relatively low stance of the V60 is replaced by a more upright look, thanks to the increase of 65mm in the ride height, and the added butch Volvo has delivered to make the CC look more purposeful and add protection from stones and grit on unmade roads
That endeavour means skid plates at the front and back, and sill protectors and plastic cladding round the side, to make the elegant V60 look like it’s been wrapped-up to go skateboarding.
But actually, once you drink in the changes Volvo has made to make the Cross Country work, they’re not at all incongruous, and are (typically Volvo) actually understated added butch and do make the Cross Country look fit for purpose.
Inside the Cross Country, the only thing that gives away that this isn’t a normal V60 is the raised ride height, with all else pretty much as you’d expect.
That means an appealing interior with really good seats (cloth, in this relatively lowly SE spec) that grip well and let you exit even after a long time behind the wheel without aches and pains, a floating centre console aimed at the driver, Climate Control, aluminium trim and a general feeling – despite this being an ‘old’ Volvo interior – of something a touch above the mainstream.
Volvo has also added a couple of ‘Packs’ to this car, which means there’s the full spectrum of added safety stuff from the Driver Support Pack (£1900), from Adaptive Cruise to Blind Spot Information, and the Winter Pack (£525) adding creature comforts like heated seats, windscreen and washer nozzles.
It’s a good package, and although the back seats aren’t the most commodious – or the boot for that matter – the V60 is still a convincing car, and a nice place to spend time.
Performance and on the Road
This V60 Cross Country is the entry-level D3 model, so it comes with Volvo’s 2.0 litre Drive-E engine producing 147bhp and 258lb/ft of torque, promising official economy of 67mpg, emissions of 111g/km and a o-62mph of 8.8 seconds.
A week with a lot of short journeys and lots of stop start traffic saw us averaging 46.3 mpg, but there’s no doubt that will be at the bottom end of the economy range for most owners.
As for performance from the latest Drive-E engine, even in this lowly D3 guise, it feels better than it looks on paper, with the nice wodge of torque making brisk progress always easy, and the torque also makes the Cross Country feel relaxed when cruising.
In fact, the torque makes for a very comfortable drive on dual carriageways and motorways, with the optional Adaptive Cruise (part of the Driver Support Pack) meaning you can stick it at 80mph and know the car will take care of acceleration and braking even down to 50mph without changing gear.
Add to that what feels a more comfortable ride thanks to the raised ride height and the fitting of tyres with a deeper sidewall for rougher roads, and you have a car in the Cross Country that’s actually a more comfortable cruiser than the regular V60. Which wasn’t really the point.
But when it comes to what the Cross Country is designed for – a more rugged road surface – the same virtues come in to play, and the CC does manage country tracks and unmade car parks with reasonable alacrity.
True, as a front-wheel drive model, this D3 doesn’t have the reassurance of AWD, but its front-wheel drive does manage to cope without problems, and the fitting of winter tyres (or one of the new ‘All Season’ tyres, like the Michelin Cross Climate) would give the FWD D3 Cross Country plenty of ability in slippery winter conditions too.
Despite what feels like a more comfort oriented setup, the Cross Country still manages to handle well, with little body roll, accurate steering and a feeling of being generally un-flustered, whatever you throw at it.
It’s not a ‘sporty’ drive, but it does respond a lot better than you might expect to being thrown around.
Why is Volvo turning out a V60 Cross Country when it already has the XC60 is the question many will ask.
But not everyone is in love with SUVs (even relatively non-threatening SUVs like the XC60), yet many like the extra height cars like the V60 Cross Country offer, and also like the added butch for playing on rougher roads, and the V60 Cross Country does do a good job of offering a solution.
True, the D3 we have here only comes with FWD, so there is a limit to what it can do if the going gets tough, but, just like most SUV buyers, buyers of this sort of car are much more likely to use their cars just where it’s a bit muddy or a bit gravelly rather than going extreme green-laning.
That all adds up to a real market Volvo are very happy to tap in to with this halfway house between the V60 and the XC60, and they’ve done a good job of adding an extra layer of (modest) ability to tackle rougher stuff, without compromising what makes the V60 appealing in the first place.
With prices from £30,195 (and £35,545 for this SE Nav review car with its options), the D3 Cross Country isn’t the cheapest car of its type, but many will feel it a price worth paying for a ‘Premium’ car that really does manage to answer the needs of a significant section of estate car buyers.
Volvo V60 Cross Country D3 SE Nav Quick Specs
- Engine: 1969cc, 148bhp
- Performance: 0-62mph 8.8 seconds / Top Speed 127mph
- Economy: 67.3mpg – Official / 46.3mpg – Test
- Emissions: 111g/km
- Price: £30,995 / Price as tested £35,545
- Test car supplied by Volvo UK
Test car options
Driver Support Pack – £1,900
- Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake
- Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection
- Adaptive Cruse Control (ACC) and Distance Alert
- Lane Keeping Aid
- Driver Alert Control (DAC) with Active High Beam
- Road Sign Information Display
- Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) with Cross Traffic Alert (CTA)
Winter Pack – £525
- Heated Front Seats
- Heated Front Windscreen
- Headlight Cleaning System
- Heated Washer Nozzles
- Metallic Paint £625
- Keyless Drive £550
- Volvo On Call with App £450
- Active TFT Crystal Driver’s Information Display £350
- Tempa Spare Wheel and Jack £150