For us, the handsome Volvo V60 estate was arguably our Car of the Year 2018. As we said in our review: “Obviously it’s not special in a supercar kind of way – it’s just that it does everything it’s meant to do exceptionally well.”
Volvo hasn’t rested on its laurels – 2019 sees the addition of two new V60 variants.
First up, there’s the sporty and dynamic V60 R-Design – predicted to be the UK’s best-selling trim level.
Then there’s the Cross Country version, which not only looks more rugged, but it boasts all-wheel drive, a raised ride height, Hill Descent Control and a special Off-Road driving mode.
In short, it has more all-terrain capability than many SUVs and crossovers – especially when you consider that a good deal of them only have front-wheel drive.
Sleek and perfectly proportioned, the V60 Cross Country looks much the same as its standard sibling – which is no bad thing. After all, the V60 is easily one of the best-looking estate cars on the market.
It can be distinguished from a regular V60 by its extra ground clearance (60mm higher) and robust styling details, including a lower grille, wheelarch extensions, sill mouldings and “Cross Country” embossed on the rear bumper. It also gets five-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels, which are specific to the model.
At launch, the V60 Cross Country is only available with a D4 (2.0-litre 187bhp diesel) engine, though a T5 (2.0-litre 247bhp petrol) will join the line-up later.
It’s well equipped too. Automatic LED headlights with Active High Beam, front and rear parking sensors, a powered tailgate, Hill Start Assist, 9.0-inch infotainment screen and 12.3 digital driver’s display are all standard, for instance.
Starting at £38,270, the Cross Country is nearly £6,000 more than a basic V60 and definitely a premium choice. My test car was brimming with optional extras and no less than four ‘packs’ adding everything from Pilot Assist (semi-autonomous driving), Cross Traffic Alert, a sliding panoramic sunroof and heated front seats. The result? A price tag a shade over £50,000.
It’s inherited the regular V60’s superb blend of plush, Scandi chic, state-of-the-art tech, solid build quality and unrivalled safety.
The cabin is comfortable, the driving position is perfect, there’s ample space for adults up front and behind, plus there’s a class-leading boot with 529 litres of luggage capacity, extending to 1,441 litres with the rear seats down.
Mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox, performance is a brisk 0-60mph in 7.6 seconds with a top speed of 130mph. Fuel economy is between 42.8-47.9mpg, with CO2 emissions of 143g/km.
We drove the V60 Cross Country on a variety of roads and a special course which had been laid out for us in a Suffolk country estate. At speeds up to 25mph, the Off-Road driving mode setting balances the engine, gearbox and accelerator to maximise performance on trickier terrain.
It’s surprisingly capable on muddy ruts and scrabbling up and down grassy slopes, so it should be more than a match for those extremes of weather we experience in the UK. It was all the more impressive because our car was fitted with standard road tyres.
Obviously it will never be a match for a proper 4×4 SUV with short overhangs and higher ground clearance, but it should manage perfectly well as long as owners aren’t too adventurous.
On the road, it’s frankly not dissimilar to the regular V60, which is just as well because it’s comfortable, and though the ride is a tad softer, it still feels planted and there’s plenty of traction.
It’s probably at its relaxing best cruising on faster roads, but stick it into Dynamic mode on more challenging routes and it gives you the confidence to press on. It hides its length well and doesn’t feel a handful in town, partly down to the light steering, sensors and 360-degree parking camera in our test car.
The engine makes itself known under hard acceleration, but soon settles down and our only slight gripe would be that there’s a slight hesitation from the gearbox in Comfort mode when you put your foot down. It’s not a deal breaker – just a case of getting used to it.
There’s plenty of torque on tap and it offers an impressive braked towing capacity of 2,000kg.
We’d say it’s more than a match for its chief premium rivals, which include the Audi A4 Allroad, Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate 4Matic and BMW 3 Series Touring xDrive, and is an excellent addition to the range.
Verdict: The all-new Volvo V60 Cross Country is as good as an estate car can get with the added benefit of being able to cope with tricky conditions when the going gets tough. Classy, comfortable and laid-back, it’s safe, spacious and devilishly handsome.