2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country Test Drive

Christian Wardlaw | Aug 26, 2019

Introduction

Volvo fans know what you mean when you refer to ‘a brick.’ Loosely, this describes the legendary 200-series station wagon Volvo sold from the 1970s to the 1990s. You know, the one that looks like a brick on wheels.

Wagons and Volvo go together like peanut butter and chocolate, and that remains true to this day, though nobody would dare call a car as sleek and svelte as the 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country a brick. Based on a standard V60 wagon, the Cross Country adds SUV styling cues, a lifted suspension, and all-wheel drive in order to serve as an alternative to a traditional SUV.

Redesigned for 2020, the V60 Cross Country is bigger inside and out. It comes in a single T5 AWD model designation and in a single level of specification. You can choose color, wheel design, interior upholstery and trim, and option packaging.

Prices start at $46,740, including a destination charge of $995. Through the company’s Care by Volvo program, you can also subscribe to V60 Cross Country use for $750 per month, which includes your payment, taxes, insurance, registration, and maintenance.

2020 Volvo V60 Cross CountryTo learn more about the new 2020 V60 Cross Country, I traveled to the Canadian Rocky Mountains to spend some quality time behind this new wagon’s wheel.

Styling and Design

With a 2.5-inch ride height increase and 0.4-inch improvement in ground clearance, the new V60 Cross Country takes its role as an SUV alternative seriously. Add an Off-Road driving mode with hill descent control, and this capable wagon backs up its rugged good looks with genuine capability.

Wearing its modern Volvo styling cues like a custom-tailored suit, the V60 Cross Country is appealing from every angle. Upgrades include several attractive metallic paint colors and a larger set of 19-inch aluminum wheels to replace the standard 18-inch design.

Inside, the V60 Cross Country looks like every other Volvo. That means it has a clean design rooted in minimalism and dressed in premium materials. Leather in one of three shades is standard, and you can upgrade to premium leather or ecologically friendly textile seat inserts in a natty plaid pattern.

Comfort and Cargo

People who know Volvos know that seat comfort is exceptional. You get into one and never want to get out. And that’s true of the V60 Cross Country.

My test car did not have the optional Luxury Package, which equips the wagon with premium Nappa leather, front seat ventilation, and front seat massage. Nevertheless, I was perfectly comfortable for a 2-hour highway drive, enjoying sensational sound quality from the optional Bowers & Wilkins premium audio system.

The V60 Cross Country is roomier than it was before, and it certainly feels that way. A panoramic glass sunroof helps to make the cabin seem open and airy, and taller adults can fit into the back seat without any trouble. In fact, when you compare specifications, the V60 Cross Country isn’t much smaller inside than the more expensive V90 Cross Country.

This is true when it comes to cargo capacity, too. In fact, based on Volvo’s numbers, at 29.1 cubic feet, the V60 Cross Country actually offers more usable cargo space behind the rear seat than does the V90 Cross Country. Maximum volume is a little smaller though, at 52.9 cu.-ft.

Safety and Technology

Long a safety system pioneer, Volvo equips the V60 Cross Country with the latest in vehicle architecture and technology to help you survive a collision. Better yet, a long list of driving assistance and collision avoidance systems is standard to help you avoid an accident in the first place.

Pilot Assist is optional, an adaptive cruise control system with lane-centering assist that is designed to make long-distance travel less fatiguing. It is grouped together with active headlights and a 360-degree surround view camera system in the Advanced Package. Park Assist Pilot is also available, a semi-autonomous steering assist system that takes over for the driver in order to park the car.

Volvo also equips the V60 Cross Country with the latest Sensus infotainment system. Featuring a 9-inch touchscreen display mounted portrait-style on the dashboard, Sensus works just like a smartphone or a tablet computer. Thanks to recent processor upgrades, it responds fast to driver inputs, too.

Every V60 Cross Country also has a 12.3-inch digital instrumentation display with an embedded driver information system. While this technology is a model of clarity, the optional head-up display is invisible to people who wear polarized sunglasses, representing an opportunity for improvement.

Driving Impressions

A turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine is the only one offered in the V60 Cross Country. It makes 250 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque, which is plenty for this size and type of vehicle. An 8-speed automatic transmission governs power delivery to all four wheels, and drivers can choose between Eco, Comfort, Dynamic, and Off-Road driving modes.

Providing enthusiastic acceleration at elevation, combined with impressive ride and handling characteristics on a rutted and rock-strewn mountain trail, the V60 Cross Country proved itself ready for action regardless of the environment. There isn’t enough thrust to push you back into your seat, but this Volvo cruises effortlessly on highways and climbed to the top of a peak without breathing hard.

On pavement, where most of these wagons will spend most of their time, both the steering and braking build confidence in a driver. There is some wind and road noise above 70 mph, but nothing bothersome. Just crank up the Bowers & Wilkins sound system and you won’t even notice. During highway travel between 65 mph and 70 mph, the car averaged an impressive 32 mpg.

Conclusion 

With good looks, comfortable seats, useful space, helpful technologies, and capable driving dynamics, the 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country is an excellent alternative to the same luxury SUV that everybody else drives.

Just don’t call it a brick. This Volvo wagon is more akin to a piece of polished Variscite.

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