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Steve Says This 2021 Volvo V60 Is the Latest Entry Into The Cross Country Category

Volvo’s smallest and most affordable wagon has recently received the brand’s Cross Country treatment, meaning it rides higher, is driven by all 4 wheels, and possesses a look that takes it into Crossover territory. 

This is the V60 CC.  

My favorite band is Roxette, my go-to chef is Andreas Viestad, I rep Helly Hansen and when I go to Epcot it’s the Norway pavilion where I spend most of my time.  My Ancestry DNA test says I’m 37% German and only 2% Norwegian, but Scandinavia speaks to me – always has.  Just like Volvo’s wagons. 

As a matter of fact, the very first car I had on my show over 22 years ago was the V70 Cross Country.  So these cars hold a special place in my heart and Volvo’s current pair of wagons is a winner.  You might recall, we took the big V90 CC on vacation a few summers ago and loved it; likewise for the standard V60 which I tested last year. So this new Cross Country variant, which starts at $3,855 more, doesn’t stray too far from the wagon which it is based.

There are styling differences that lend to a more adventuresome look including a lift to over 8” of ground clearance, a slow speed off-road drive mode, and a unique suspension tune.     

When the V60 was redesigned for the 2019 model year, it was offered with AWD and a 316 horsepower engine. I drove it and loved it.  But now if you want an all-wheel-drive V60, at least one without a plug, you’ve got to step up to this Cross Country and it’s no longer available with the more powerful T6 engine.  Here, the T5 motor makes 250 horsepower which is Ok but not nearly as thrilling.  And while the regular V60 utilizes what Volvo calls their Dynamic chassis, the Cross Country gets a softer Touring tune geared towards its crossover lifestyle.   

Volvo’s styling game is completely on point, particularly with their car lineup and this is one sharp-looking wagon, accentuated by metallic Crystal White paint and optional 19” wheels.  It looks like nothing else on the road and that’s not an easy claim these days.

Pricing for the V60 Cross Country starts at about $47,000 while mine checks in at nearly $59,000…quite the hefty price for what still amounts to a 4-cylinder, small wagon.  But, leave off the Bowers & Wilkins sound system which doesn’t impress me that much anyway, and save $4 grand right there. 

The other options include the Climate Package with heated rear seats, heated steering wheel and heated wiper blades, the Lounge Package with Nappa Leather and lots of other climate and seat goodies, the Advanced Package with heads-up display and Pilot Assist semi-autonomous driving, massaging front seats, and an advanced air cleaner. 

So this is about as loaded as they come.  If you’ve been in any new Volvo recently this layout looks completely familiar to you because it follows the same pattern, highlighted by the rectangular touchscreen and a minimalist style.  And Volvo does their own thing – from starting the car to activating cruise control, almost nothing you’ve learned from your previous cars carries over here and from that standpoint, the V60 can be a little confusing if not frustrating at times. 

I’ve driven a bunch through the years so I’m pretty comfortable with where to find things within the Sensus system and what the various steering wheel buttons accomplish but new owners will need to give themselves some time.  And there are definitely functions, such as the surround view camera, that really should have their own dedicated off-screen controls.     

There’s no AM radio, either.  And USB-C is where it’s at Volvo these days so you may need an adapter cable for your specific device.

Even though it rides higher and weighs more, the Cross Country is still an entertaining drive with that light and easy Volvo nature, dialed-in steering and punchy turbo. But there are times when you floor it and it seems like an eternity before anything happens. Dynamic Mode cures most of that but I still think it’s a shame you can’t get the turbo and supercharged engine here. 

They do offer a Polestar Performance chip upgrade for $1,295 but I have yet to test one.  Otherwise, this 2.0-liter engine and its 258 pound-feet of torque produce ample power that feels very much turbocharged meaning it’s not always as ready to go as you are but once up to boost can be very fun. 

And I think some paddle shifters would be nice because the one thing the V60 can certainly do is hustle through a back road…very willing to go where you point it.  Ride quality is comfortably soft but the cabin lets in its fair share of road noise.  When off the beaten path, you can choose the off-road setting for speeds below 30mph…it kind of acts like a 4-low setting with hill descent control turned on.  Gas mileage sits at 25mpg on premium. 

Of course, the safety factor is present with the full suite of electronic Intellisafe features such as helping you avoid collisions with other cars, pedestrians, cyclists, and even large animals.  The leather seats aren’t as comfortable as the cloth ones in my V60 test drive but the rear seat is big on head and legroom…more so than you’d think.  And the liftgate can be activated with a kick of the foot but there’s no usable underfloor storage.  The rear seats assuredly click in for a flat floor when you’re hauling more than people.  All told, the cabin is quite pleasing to the eye and passenger centric. 

While the V60 is also offered as a plug-in hybrid the Cross Country is not so it’s a one trim pony. 

But it’s one any wagon lover would love to have in their stable.

By TestDriveNow Auto Critic Steve Hammes for SouthFloridaReporter.comSept. 14, 2020

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