Volvo S60 Cross Country

2015 Volvo S60 Cross Country: Overview

If there’s one thing guaranteed with the new Volvo S60 Cross Country, it’s exclusivity. Volvo reckons it’ll shift a mere 100 units over the coming year, so potential owners will be joining a select group of motorists. It’s an oddball, that’s for sure. But that’s no reason to dismiss it as little more than a Swedish folly.

Truth is, the S60 Cross Country isn’t really for us. Volvo has built it for the South American and Indian markets, where saloons reign supreme and the streets aren’t exactly paved with silky-smooth tarmac. So a premium saloon with a lofty ride height is likely to do rather well.

Volvo S60 Cross Country

Over here, saloon cars are so last century, which is why Volvo is limiting the S60 Cross Country to just one trim level. The Cross Country Lux is priced at £33,695 and for that you’re treated to the 190hp 2.0-litre four-cylinder Drive-E engine.

For £36,725 you can add four-wheel drive to the mix, but this comes with the less efficient five-cylinder 2.3-litre engine and the old six-speed Geartronic transmission.

We tested the front-wheel-drive D4 with a six-speed manual gearbox.

2015 Volvo S60 Cross Country: On the road

Volvo S60 Cross Country

The first thing that strikes you about the Volvo S60 Cross Country is its increased ride height. By jacking it up 65mm compared to the regular S60, Volvo has created something that doesn’t look too dissimilar to the AMC Eagle of the late 1970s, albeit remastered for a different era.

It’s a rather traditional affair, with the increased ride height achieved through use of longer springs. On the road, this translates to a ride that’s quite alarming at first, but over time becomes rather pleasant. It genuinely feels like you’re driving on stilts, as if the car has been jacked up to change the wheels.

The result is that there’s little feel of connection with the road, but this is balanced by a soft, almost cosseting ride. Crucially, the increased ride height hasn’t translated into any significant body-roll through the corners. The more you drive the S60 Cross Country, the more you appreciate it.

Volvo S60 Cross Country

But the real highlight is the D4 Drive-E engine, which is both smooth in its delivery and tremendously refined. Jump out of a Volvo with a new four-cylinder engine and into one fitted with an old unit and the difference is like night and day. On its own, this is a good enough reason not to opt for the four-wheel-drive variant.

The soundtrack and increased torque of the five-cylinder unit may appeal, but unless you genuinely need to go off-road, we’d stick with the front-wheel-drive S60.

2015 Volvo S60 Cross Country: On the inside

Volvo S60 Cross Country

Our test car was fitted with the optional Beechwood/Off Black leather-faced sports seats, which helped to lift the cabin and give it a strong premium feel. In typical Volvo fashion, they also offer superb levels of comfort and support.

That said, the interior is beginning to show its age, largely thanks to the arrival of the all-new XC90, but quality remains high and we still like the ‘floating’ centre console. The active TFT central display comes as standard, as does climate control, Bluetooth, digital radio and Sensus navigation. But the central screen is small and looks dated.

Volvo S60 Cross Country

However, you’re unlikely to feel short-changed in the S60 Cross Country, as befitting of its role as flagship of the S60 range.

In common with its sibling, the V60 Cross Country, the S60 doesn’t offer class-leading levels of space. It’s fine in the front, but thanks to the S60’s sloping roofline, rear headroom is limited. Legroom is also tight, while the 380-litre boot is smaller than many cars in the sector. On the plus side, the increased ride height does make entering and exiting the vehicle much easier.

2015 Volvo S60 Cross Country: Running costs

Volvo S60 Cross Country

At £33,695 for the front-wheel-drive D4 and £36,725 for the four-wheel-driver, the Cross Country is, as near as makes no difference, the most expensive S60 in the range. You can, however, counter this with the fact that the Lux model is very well equipped and you won’t need to spend too much time perusing the options list.

The 2.0-litre D4 engine is a masterclass in balancing performance with economy and such is the nature of the Cross Country, you stand a good chance of getting somewhere close to the claimed 67.3mpg. Opt for the eight-speed automatic transmission and this official figure drops to 61.4mpg.

The 111g/km of CO2 emissions equate to zero road tax in the first year, rising to £20 for each year thereafter. As for depreciation, that remains to be seen. Limited appeal when new could result in a pretty steep depreciation curve. That said, the S60 Cross Country could become something of a cult classic…

2015 Volvo S60 Cross Country: Verdict

Volvo S60 Cross Country

You get the distinct impression that even the good people at Volvo’s UK press office are left scratching their heads over this one. The V60 Cross Country is a relatively easy sell, the S60 version less so.

It’s a tough car to recommend. On the one hand we should be recommending the full-fat off-road version, as this makes better use of the increased ride height and body armour. But to do so would be to go without the new four-cylinder engine, not to mention having to live with the increased running costs.

Whatever, we’ve got a strange fondness for the S60 Cross Country. It looks great – in a quirky kind of way – and it wears its unique 18-inch ‘Neso’ alloy wheels very well. No, seriously, it does look good. Honest.

The V60 makes more sense and we could mount a strong case for choosing many crossovers over the S60 Cross Country. But when judged in isolation, this is a surprisingly likeable and smooth operator. The Sade of saloon cars, if you will.

2015 Volvo S60 Cross Country: Specification

Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel

Price: from £33,695

Power: 190hp

Torque: 295lb ft

0-62mph: 7.7 seconds

Top speed: 130mph

Fuel economy: 67.3mpg

CO2 emissions: 111g/km