Although it’s Volvo’s range of SUVs, the XC90, XC60 and the new XC40 that hog the limelight of the Scandinavian brand’s significant popularity and sales growth in the premium car market, it shouldn’t be forgotten that Volvo has excelled for over 60 years in producing estate cars, David Miles reminds us.
With the large V90 estate firmly established, more recently the mid-sized V60 range has strengthened their range of load carriers. Now the V60, like the V90, has an additional Cross Country version added to the line-up.
Very recently the V60 Cross Country estate was introduced in a single D4 turbodiesel 2.0-litre, 190hp form with AWD (all wheel drive) with an 8-speed automatic gearbox and with that all important raised height suspension priced at £38,270. A T5 250hp petrol version will soon be added to the line-up. Prices for other 2.0-litre petrol and diesel 2WD and 4WD V60 estates start from £32,410 and rise through 30 derivatives to £41,270.
Volvo sees the V60 range of estate competing against its fellow premium brand models such as the Audi A4 Avant, BMW 3 Series Touring and the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate. But the V60 Cross Country model has less obvious competitors, there are not many of these on/off road rugged estates.
Most obvious are the Audi A4 Allroad, the roomier and far less expensive Skoda Octavia Scout, the very niche Subaru Outback and the underrated Vauxhall Insignia Country Tourer. However for customers who are not worried about having rugged styling and raised ride-height functions for their estate cars there are many more medium sized models from numerous brands that do offer 4WD traction. And of course many customers just prefer to drive a fashionable SUV these days rather than a hatchback or estate.
All the V60 models use the Volvo Scalable Product Architecture which underpins the S90 saloon, V90 estate and XC60 and XC90 SUVs and the same platform will be used for the S60 sports saloon arriving shortly.
Back to the model in hand; the new £38,270 V60 Cross Country. Even with its raised ride height of 60mm, this mid-sized estate looks long and sleek with its long wheelbase of 2,872mm, it has great kerb appeal. It really is a scaled down version of the V90 Cross Country model.
Being an estate car the all-important boot space with all five seats in use is 529-litres and with the rear seat backs folded down this goes up to 1,441-litres. Most likely the V60 Cross Country during its life will end up as a tow vehicle, be it a caravan, horse trailer or boat so the braked towing weight of 2,000kg will be most welcome.
Other practical advantages include the higher ground clearance, additional protective wheelarch extensions, side sill and lower front and rear bumper protectors and not forgetting the off-road abilities with its 4WD system.
The 4WD system has the usual Drive Mode settings found in other V60 models. These are Comfort, Eco, Dynamic and Individual. The Cross Country has an additional Off Road Mode which operates at speeds below 25mph, the engine, auto gearbox, accelerator and 4WD system responses are calibrated to maximise performance/grip on a variety of surfaces.
It also activates Hill Descent Control, the power assisted steering is lighter, the engine stop/start system is deactivated and the driver’s information display shows a compass and speed limitation.
Talking of speed and performance, the 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder, D4 turbodiesel engine produces a healthy 190hp and a good 400Nm of torque from 1,750rpm. Drive through the smooth changing 8-speed auto gearbox is to the 4WD system which distributes power variably as needed to each of the four wheels on or off-road. Top speed is currently 130mph and zero to 62mph takes 8.2-seconds. Remember Volvo recently said they will limit the top speed of all their cars to 112mph from model year 2021 together with in-car cameras and intoxication intervention on their road to autonomous driving and potentially better road safety.
The new WLTP Combined Cycle fuel economy figures range from 42.8 to 47.9mpg depending on what options are added with CO2 emissions ranging from 135g/km to the 143g/km figure for my options loaded test car. My week of motoring covering most types of roads from slow speed commuting to open road cruising returned 40mpg.
The V60 Cross Country model, like all new-generation Volvo’s still suffers from having too many most used functions controlled via the touchscreen although once learnt the Voice Command system can help, the ride can at times be firm mostly due to the large alloy wheels and it suffers from road noise intrusions on some road surfaces.
The handling is well balanced, grip exceptional especially during cornering and on wet road surfaces, the off-road driving function is better than most in its class with the extra ground clearance being a sensible design feature.
The Cross Country model certainly isn’t going to be the most popular model in the V60 range with Volvo estimating it will be the choice of 10% of UK V60 customers. The D4 turbodiesel engine will be the choice of 50% of UK buyers for all V60 models. The Cross Country version will be the model of choice for those that need a tow vehicle, need to travel off-road for their jobs at times such as vets and surveyors or have a need for a load carrying quality estate to meet their family or leisure activity needs.
It’s a realistic alternative competitor for the numerous and commonplace SUVs available, a lot of which don’t have much in the way of off-road capabilities which the V60 Cross Country has. Just take care not to add options you don’t realistically need and some of which should be fitted as standard.
Volvo V60 D4 AWD Cross Country £38,270 (£46,820 as tested with options)
Engine/transmission: EU 6.2d compliant 2.0-litre, 4-cylinder turbodiesel, 190hp, 400Nm of torque from 1,750rpm, 8-speed automatic with AWD traction
Performance: 130mph, 0-62mph 8.2-seconds, WLTP Combined Cycle 42.8 to 47.9mpg depending on options fitted, (40mpg on test)
CO2 143g/km for the test car, VED First Year diesel rate road tax £530 then £145 Standard rate but if options are fitted and the cost of the vehicle reaches £40k+ add another £310 annually to the Standard rate cost for 5-years, BiK company car tax 37%
Insurance group: 31E tbc Warranty: 3-years/60,000-miles
Dimensions/capacities: L 4,784mm, W 1,916mm, H 1,499mm, wheelbase 2,872mm, boot/load space 529 to 1,441-litres, braked towing weight 2,000kg, 5-doors/5-seats
For: A refined vehicle, desirable kerb appeal, good performance on or off-road, beautifully made, comfortable and roomy seating, versatile load area, a realistic alternative for those bored with too common SUVs
Against: Expensive to buy/lease with increased VED costs if options push up the price to £40k and above, some options should be standard fit, firm/noisy ride at times due to large wheels, too many functions need to be controlled via the touchscreen, ungenerous warranty.
© David Miles