Volvo V60 Cross Country performs like a tiger off-road
More panda than crouching tiger it may be, but the Volvo V60 Cross Country is a sturdy beast the Swedes can be proud of.
From some angles, the V60 looks like an aggressive wagon ready to tackle any manner of rough terrain, with its flared wheel arches and ready-to-rumble stance.
Ready for action - the Volvo V60 Cross Country offers practicality and comfort.
The reality of course, is that the majority of models like this rarely venture off the beaten track, and spend most of their time on sealed roads.
But the V60 Cross Country is a reassuringly robust vehicle, giving the driver confidence to take if off-road if they choose.
The all-wheel-drive is assured and offers a smooth, comfortable ride, whether on sealed roads, travelling over pot-holed dirt roads or even on to rough terrain.
The station wagon sits a full 65mm higher off the ground than other Volvo V60 models, and with standard alloy wheels, the Cross Country has a more assertive appearance, along with the ability to handle the rough.
In addition to the flared wheel arches, the Cross Country’s appearance is helped by skid plates fitted front and rear.
The Driven test car was white, with black-capped side mirrors, reminding colleagues unable to grasp the crouching tiger analogy, of a panda.
But this is no gentle giant.
As you would expect with a Volvo, everything about the Cross Country is reassuringly sturdy, from the opening of the doors to their easy and smooth clunking close.
Somewhat dated buttons on the dashboard, but they are simple and easy to programme and use.
There is also a luxury feel about the car with multi-adjustable leather seats, which make finding a comfortable driving position easy and quick.
The front seats provide more armchair comfort than most cars, while the dashboard graphics are clear, simple and bright.
There is no denying the basic shape of the V60 has been in the market for some time, and some aspects of the interior reveal the model’s age.
The most obvious is the set of buttons on the centre console, which replicate the old mobile phone keyboard. Individual buttons on cellphones have long been replaced by touch screens, but the buttons on the V60 are easy to programme and use.
There is also virtue in the simplicity of the steering wheel-mounted cruise control buttons.
Simply set the speed and adjust the speed up or down in a process that keeps driver distraction to a minimum. But the Volvo also incorporates more contemporary features such as steering wheel shift paddles (they can be heated if you live in an extreme climate) and a reversing camera that makes reversing into tight, inner-city parking spaces a breeze.
The test model was fitted with the standard 18-inch wheels, and higher-profile tyres, which add comfort and off-road aesthetics, while also reducing road noise inside the cabin.
Stylish, clear and simple graphics on the Volvo V60 Cross Country.
We had the 2.5-litre turbocharged petrol T5 version, which generates 187 kW at 5400 rpm, at 5400rpm and 360Nm of torque from 1800-4200rpm, with a claimed combined cycle fuel consumption of 8.5L/100km.
On the drive down State Highway 1, through the far southeastern suburbs to Miranda on the Thames estuary coastal road, the Cross Country handled it all with ease.
Sport mode helps firm up the steering, and to provide an improved driving experience, and there was no sense of driving a Particularly large vehicle, even on the narrow and windy coastal section of road.
There is no sense of driving a large or lumbering station wagon but rather a more agile vehicle with plenty of room to accommodate a big family.
Roomy and robust with a luxury feel.
Inside the V60, there is plenty of room for an active family lifestyle. The rear seats can be folded down so the 430L of rear load space can be easily increased, and the practical flat rear area is easily loaded.
The car comes with Volvo’s two-stage integrated booster cushions for children. With one easy movement the booster cushions pop up from the seat base, giving a comfortable and safe ride height for children from three years and upwards.
The luxury-grade specification includes Bi-xenon active bending headlights, the City Safety low-speed collision avoidance system (which operates up to 50kph), dual-zone air conditioning and satellite navigation.
When the V60 Cross Country is taken off-road there is the Hill Descent Control system, which automatically keeps the car at a constant speed when driving down a hill.
The model tested, the V60 Cross Country T5 AWD Luxury, retails for $72,990.
Its companion diesel D4 (2.4-litre common-rail turbo diesel engine) model retails for an additional $4000. For that price you would expect a high level of luxury, comfort, and fine handling, and the Cross Country delivers. Some features might be overtaken by the equivalent features on Volvo’s all-new XC90 large SUV model (which has a large touch screen), but then those models start at $97,900.
PROS: A robust all-wheel-drive with plenty of space for the whole family to travel in luxury.