With all of the (justified) hoo-hah surrounding the all-new XC90, it’s easy to forget that Volvo still makes other cars. In time, Volvo’s entire range will be based on the same SPA platform, but until then, the company’s efforts will be focused on squeezing as many sales as possible out of an increasingly old line-up of vehicles.
The V60 is proving to be a rather flexible machine. From the world’s first diesel plug-in hybrid to the bonkers Polestar version, the load-lugger covers most bases. And now there’s a new V60 Cross Country, playing on Volvo’s heritage in the jacked-up estate sector.
Not that the V60 Cross Country is designed to be quite as capable when the going gets tough. The 65mm increased ride height over the standard V60 is smaller than the 74mm offered by the XC70 over the regular V70. It therefore lacks the full-fat off-road look of the XC70, presenting a more soft-road style.
Not that this is a problem. The V60 Cross Country cuts a mean figure, devoid of any needless trinkets and fuss. Besides, the majority of customers won’t venture further off the road than Waitrose car park. That said, we wanted to try the range-topping D4 AWD. So that’s exactly what we did.
Volvo V60 Cross Country: On the road
Opting for the V60 Cross Country with all-wheel drive immediately brings with it one or two compromises. For a start, it’s not available with the ultra-efficient and excellent range of Drive-E engines, so you’ll have to make do with the old five-cylinder 2.4-litre D4.
Confusingly, the old D4 is badged the same as the new D4, but while they both offer 190hp, the 149g/km CO2 output of the five-cylinder is no match for the 111g/km of the four-cylinder. It’s feeling its age, too, lacking the smoothness and refinement of the Drive-E lump.
That said, you do get to enjoy the aural stimulation of a five-cylinder engine. And it does tend to suit the rugged nature of the Cross Country in all-wheel-drive guise. But having experienced the new D4 in the new S60 Cross Country, we’d urge you to opt for this, unless off-road ability is a genuine requirement.
The D4 AWD is also lumbered with the old six-speed Geartronic transmission, rather than the new eight-speed unit. It’s never quite in tune with what you want it to do, often feeling laboured and slow to change. Don’t hurry it and it’s fine, but when overtaking or exiting a corner, it can be a frustrating experience.
Aside from that, the V60 Cross Country is a relaxed and comfortable cruiser. The increased ride height hasn’t resulted in any additional body roll and the ride remains smooth and compliant. But it does feel noticeably slower than the front-wheel-drive variants – as demonstrated by the 8.9 seconds it takes to reach 62mph, compared with 7.8 seconds for the new D4.
Volvo V60 Cross Country: On the inside
A year ago, we would have had no complaints about the V60 Cross Country’s interior, but the XC90 has changed everything. Step out of Volvo’s brave new world and it’s like stepping back in time. The XC90 has moved things on that much.
Not that the V60’s interior has become obsolete overnight. The now-old interior retains the ‘floating’ console, which remains a standout feature, but the seven-inch display is showing its age. And the multitude of buttons is in stark contrast to the minimalist approach offered by the XC90.
On the plus side, the seats offer supreme long-distance comfort, while the fit and finish throughout the cabin is first-rate. In common with standard V60 models, rear space isn’t a strong point and tall passengers will find the amount of headroom and legroom restricted in the back seats. Boot space is also tight, with only 430 litres on offer.
Two trim levels are available, with the SE offering cruise control, LED daytime running lights, auto wipers, climate control, auto-dimming rear-view mirror, silver roof rails and 17-inch alloy wheels. Lux adds leather seats, power driver’s seat, active TFT display, 18-inch alloy wheels, active bending headlights and a headlight cleaning system.
In common with other Volvos, there’s an extensive range of options, helping to push the price tag in a Scandinavian direction. Indeed, the D4 AWD’s base price of £38,025 was soon above £44,000 with a few trimmings added to our test car.
Volvo V60 Cross Country: Running costs
Needless to say, the D4 AWD isn’t going to be the cheapest V60 Cross Country in the range. An entry-level D3 SE will set you back £30,195, with all-wheel drive adding a further £5,000. In SE spec without any options, the BIK per month (based on a 40% taxpayer) starts from £316.
As you’d expect, the D4 AWD will cost more to run, too. Its 49.6mpg compares with the 67.3mpg of the new D4 engine. Volvo isn’t expecting the V60 Cross Country to be a big seller, forecasting 850 sales over the coming year.
Volvo V60 Cross Country: Verdict
It would be easy to be dismissive of the V60 Cross Country, marking it down as little more than marketing-led exercise. But it serves as a useful reminder that Volvo has a strong heritage in the off-road estate sector, leading back to the original V70 XC.
Thanks to some subtle, but well chosen cosmetic upgrades, the Cross Country manages to steal a march over the less well-endowed V60s. And while the engine is old-tech, it’s a proven motor and you’ll never tire of listening to that five-cylinder soundtrack.
If you need the benefit of four-wheel drive, which comes complete with hill-descent control as standard, by all means take a look at the D4 AWD. But if all you want is the styling and the increased ride height, go for the cheaper front-wheel-drive cars and take advantage of the new Drive-E technology.
Volvo V60 Cross Country D4 AWD: Specification
Engine: 2.4-litre 5-cylinder diesel
Price: from £35,275
Torque: 309lb ft
0-62mph: 8.9 seconds
Top speed: 127mph
Fuel economy: 49.6mpg
CO2 emissions: 149g/km