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Recently Driven

2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country

By: Ron Corbett, APA Staff Writer     


Volvo's Ironmark logo takes centre stage in the grille of the V60 Cross Country, which itself if is flanked by its Thor's Hammer headlamps 

The V60 Cross Country, like the V60 and the related S60 sedan, were all new for 2019 and are unchanged for 2020. Like the Audi A4 Allroad or Subaru Outback, the current V60 Cross Country, is a conventional station wagon with a higher ride height and some “rugged” exterior plastic cladding

Model Mix
On the (non Cross Country) V60s, the T5 (2L turbocharged) engine is twinned exclusively with front-wheel drive; with T6 (2L turbocharged and supercharged) powerplant available only with all-wheel drive. The V60 Cross Country is the only variant of the V60 range where you can combine the T5 engine and all-wheel drive.  

Vehicle tested 2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country
Body style: Station wagon Station wagon
Engine:  Turbocharged 2L-4 (250 horsepower)
Transmission Eight-speed automatc
Base MSRP $48,900
Price as tested $60,045
Observed fuel economy

12.9L/100 kilometres

The V60 Cross Country is powered by a turbocharged 2L four that produces 250 horsepower. All-wheel drive, using a Haldex clutch system, is standard on the Cross Country.

Like most Volvos since the S90 in 2017, the V60 is a vision of restrained elegance. Volvo’s famous “Iron Mark” logo rests at the centre of Gothenburg’s latest corporate grille, which itself is flanked by what Volvo refers to as “Thor’s Hammer” headlamps. The V60 Cross Country’s clean flanks are accented by plastic cladding around the wheel wells and the lower body, which is seemingly obligatory in this segment.

The large infotainment screen needs to be engaged to adjust temperature, fan speed and air distribution on the V60 Cross Country 

Rear seat legroom could be more generous for a car this large and ingress can be awkward 

Volvo has become a master at re-purposing interior components and anyone familiar with the S90/V90, XC60 and XC90, will recognize the gauges, infotainment screen, switchgear, seating and various trim bits that make up the cabin. The transistor-film-technology (TFT) gauge package, which looked so cutting edge when first seen inside the XC90, is less impressive now as other makers have matched or exceeded Volvo’s efforts. The large, multi-function infotainment screen is, like it is on other cars, annoying, but drivers do eventually come to terms with it. Even altering the climate control fan speed needs a dive into the infotainment screen.

The cabin of our V60 Cross Country test car was finished in a chic two-tone colour scheme accented by grey-toned genuine driftwood trim pieces. The seats were clad in sumptuous leather and the materials, fit and finish inside the car are a credit to Volvo’s design team and their ability to convince the bean counters that spending some money inside the car will woo potential buyers and provide years of satisfaction for owners.

Seating comfort, long a Volvo hallmark, matched expectations. There was plenty of space up front, and while rear seat legroom was adequate, it was disappointing considering the size of the car. Drivers and especially passengers expressed complaints about climbing aboard V60 Cross. Riders need to step up to compensate for the greater ride height but then are confronted with passenger car cabin height, resulting in some awkward step-up-and-scrunch-down ingress manoeuvres that are exacerbated further by the high door sills of the car.

The climate control kept occupants comfortable and the seat heaters were quick and effective. The audio system delivered pleasing sounds. 

Substantial and luxuriously trimmed cargo bed of the V60 Cross Country 

Our V60 Cross Country was powered by a 250 horsepower, 2L turbocharged four that Volvo refers to as T5. From a smooth, linear throttle tip-in to maximum acceleration, the T5 engine is quick, eager and flexible. What it isn’t, except at idle or when cruising, is smooth and quiet. Whether accelerating leisurely in town or pushed hard at highway speeds, engine noise from the T5 is too prominent for a luxury car. While it could be difficult to alter the sound profile of the engine, it should be easy enough to stuff in enough sound absorbing materials to prevent the din from reaching the cabin. While excess engine noise in a luxury car powered by a high-powered small-capacity engine is not unique to Volvo, it is disappointing, as thrilling sounds (BMW’s normally-aspirated straight six) or power unit serenity (the old Jaguar V8) was traditionally a key reason for stepping up to a luxury car.

The T5 engine is hooked up to a conventional eight-speed automatic transmission that ably harnesses the output of the engine, providing enough gears for quick low-speed acceleration and relaxed cruising. Observed fuel economy of 12.9L/100 km during early winter conditions was heavier than expected and shows the engine is meant to flatter the U.S. EPA fuel economy test cycle rather than to deliver real-world fuel economy benefits to owners.

The Volvo’s steering feels meaty with good heft and tracks true at highway speeds.

The brakes are nicely weighted, easily modulated and very strong, with no lost motion.
Control weights for throttle, brakes and steering are all similar and all responses to driver inputs are measured and predictable.

Volvo must have spent a great deal of time honing the ride-handling balance of the V60 Cross Country, as the car feels unflappable on the road.

Small door windows and the rising line of the cargo area glazing combine to create outward visibility that is less than panoramic. Large door mirrors, a comprehensive 360 degree camera system and blind spot and rear cross traffic monitors meld together to help balance out the limited visibility.

While the base version of the 2019 V60 Cross Country starts at $48,900, multiple options, including metallic paint, leather upholstery and optional alloy wheels, pushed the price of our car to $60,045.  

While no reliability is data available for this new model, it does share its electrical architecture with other large Volvos, which have exhibited technical glitches, especially with the infotainment screen. The V60 Cross Country is covered by a four year/80,000 kilometre basic warranty, with no further powertrain warranty.

Like most current Volvos, the V60 Cross Country is very elegant 

With elegant looks, a stylish cabin, good cargo space, reasonable room for four, strong, flexible power and measured, unflappable driving dynamics, the V60 Cross Country is an attractive package. That said, it does have some deficiencies, including less-than-panoramic outward vision and an engine, which while fast and flexible, is noisy enough to be a deal breaker for some buyers. Other European-branded cars, like the Audi A4 Allroad and Mercedes-Benz C300 wagon, develop similar power from their 2L turbo fours with far greater refinement. Mercedes doesn’t market a high-rider version of the C300, but like Audi does with the Allroad and Volvo does with the Cross Country, it is a station wagon of similar size and versatility. The Audi, Mercedes-Benz and Volvo all have similar base MSRPs and the prices of all can balloon to $60,000 if comprehensively equipped. Though it lacks some brand cachet, the Subaru Outback Limited XT (with a 2.4L turbo) has a smoother, quieter engine than the Volvo, at least equal utility, a luxurious cabin and a full array of comfort and safety features, for a price just under $42,000, roughly $20,000 cheaper than a V60 Cross Country with similar equipment.