by Karl Furlong
Unlike most manufacturers, the Volvo V60 Cross Country shows the Swedish brand's commitment to keeping the wagon alive. With its raised ride height, the Cross Country adds more capability to the regular V60 but retains that car's stunning interior and the tidy handling that will be the envy of many a crossover. Only one powertrain is on offer, but it's a powerful 250-horsepower turbo-four that provides just enough power to zip around town, cruise comfortably on the highway, or tackle some rougher terrain. Rivals include the popular Subaru Outback and the Audi A4 Allroad, but the V60 Cross Country does more than enough to stand alongside these excellent competitors. Although it's not cheap, Volvo's wagon is a refreshingly unique alternative to dime-a-dozen crossovers.
For the 2021 model year, the Volvo V60 Cross Country wagon receives additional equipment like blind-spot monitoring, LED headlights, added USB-C charging ports, and power-folding exterior mirrors which are also auto-dimming. Linear Lime wood inlays have been added to the already beautifully trimmed cabin.
|T5 Cross Country||
2.0-liter Turbo Inline-4 Gas
Long gone are the days of boxy Volvo wagons that reeked of solidity but were hardly objects of desire. The 2021 Volvo V60 Cross Country is an attractive wagon that looks equally at home on a dirt road as it does pulling up at the country club. The LED headlights have a bold "Thor's hammer" design and the studded front grille resists the oversized trend. Along with dual integrated tailpipes and 18-inch alloy wheels (which can be upgraded to 19- or 20-inch items), it looks well-balanced and distinctive. A panoramic moonroof and LED headlights are standard.
At 188.3 inches in length, the V60 Cross Country is just under an inch longer than the regular V60. It shares other key dimensions with the V60, though, such as a 50.9-inch height and a width of 80.3 inches. The wheelbase measures 113.2 inches. Notably, the curb weight of 4,031 pounds is over 200 lbs heavier than the base V60, but whereas the latter comes with front-wheel drive by default, the Cross Country ships with a standard - and heavier - all-wheel-drive system. To prove its worth as a more capable wagon, the V60 Cross Country has a generous 8.3 inches of ground clearance, which is 0.4 inches up over its predecessor.
Volvo keeps it simple with the V60 Cross Country, which is available with just a single powertrain option in the US market. The 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine produces 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque, delivering good performance. Paired with standard AWD and an eight-speed automatic transmission, the V60 Cross Country can reach 60 mph in a claimed 6.4 seconds. Like all other new Volvo models, it is limited to a top speed of 112 mph, one of the bold safety measures that the brand has taken to reduce the risk of fatal car accidents. While there are more effective transmissions than the V60's eight-speeder, it does a decent enough job of swapping cogs smoothly. And, while this isn't the quickest car in the world, it accelerates with enough vigor to keep most satisfied. A maximum towing capacity of 2,000 lbs is on the cards for the Cross Country.
Just because the V60 Cross Country is more capable over dirt roads than the regular V60 doesn't mean that it has become a wallowy and uncomfortable boat on the road. Not only does it resist body roll better than a typical crossover, but it smoothes over most bumps and ruts effortlessly. The pleasingly weighted steering is neither too light nor too heavy, so there is no need to shy away from a twisty road. Under normal driving conditions, almost all the engine's power is directed to the front wheels, but when the need arises - such as on more slippery surfaces - up to 50 percent of the available torque goes to the rear axle. Although it is no Jeep Wrangler, the Off-Road driving mode can be used at speeds below 12 mph, and both the engine and transmission are optimized to improve traction. In this mode, the Cross Country sets itself apart from the regular V60 wagon. As we found in our review of the Volvo V60 Cross Country, when back on the highway, Comfort mode can be engaged and when doing so, the Cross Country proves itself to be an effortless and quiet cruiser.
The V60 Cross Country offers about average economy within its segment. According to the EPA, it will return 22/31/25 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles. By comparison, the front-wheel-drive V60 manages a more efficient 23/34/27 mpg. The Audi A4 allroad is also lighter on gas with figures of 24/30/26 mpg. With its 15.9-gallon gas tank, the V60 Cross Country will achieve gas mileage on a full tank of just below 400 miles.
Seating five in comfort, the Volvo V60 Cross Country proves itself as a worthy alternative to an SUV. The seats are comfortable and there is enough headroom for all occupants, although the legroom in the back is good rather than expansive. It's not all about space utilization, though, because the V60's beautiful cabin design is a fabulous space to drive and be driven in thanks to a fine selection of materials and a design that is refreshingly simplistic. Along with tasteful Linear Lime wood inlays, soft leather adorns the seats in colors like Maroon Brown, Blond, and Charcoal. For an added cost, perforated Nappa leather upholstery is available in the same choice of colors. Blond City Weave Textile upholstery is another option that is a refreshingly original alternative to leather. It's one of the best interiors around.
When matched up against a sedan, the V60 Cross Country demonstrates the added practicality of a wagon with 23.2 cubic feet of space behind the second row of seats. However, this figure applies to the trunk filled up to the headliner, so making full use of this space will hinder the view out of the back. When the rear seats are folded flat, a commodious 50.9 cubes is availed, which should be more than enough for all the camping gear required for a couple on an adventurous getaway.
In terms of interior storage, the V60 CC is just as impressive. There are usefully sized door pockets, front/rear cupholders, and a center console storage compartment for stashing phones and wallets.
Customers won't have to choose between a multitude of configurations since there is only one trim offered. That's why Volvo has outfitted the V60 Cross Country with plenty of standard convenience and safety features. Standard specs include dual-zone automatic climate control, a power panoramic sunroof, power-adjustable front seats with heating, power-folding rear headrests, power-folding exterior mirrors, a power-operated tailgate, a rearview camera, and a rearview mirror compass. The safety offering comprises blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, front/rear parking sensors, front/rear collision mitigation support, hill descent control, and hill start assist. A digital driver's display is standard. Optional equipment includes massaging front seats, a roof box with another 14 cubes of space, a head-up display, and heated rear seats.
The vertical arrangement of Volvo's Sensus infotainment screen differs from that in almost every other vehicle, although it certainly covers enough real estate to display key functions clearly. Unfortunately, the system suffers from occasional lag and a fair amount of acclimatization is needed before it becomes easy to use. It's paired with a 12.3-inch digital driver's display with four different graphic modes. As standard, Volvo's system comes with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, navigation, SiriusXM satellite radio, Bluetooth connectivity, voice commands, and a USB port. A ten-speaker sound system is standard, but buyers can upgrade to either a 14-speaker Harman Kardon system or a 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins sound system, although the latter goes for a hefty $4,000.
The V60's reliability doesn't appear to be a major concern. At the time of writing, no recalls had affected the 2021 Volvo V60 Cross Country. That being said, the 2020 model was recalled once for an automatic emergency braking system that may fail to engage.
Volvo's limited and powertrain warranties are pretty much on par with many other premium brands, running for 50,000 miles or four years, depending on which comes first. What does set Volvo apart, though, is standard factory scheduled maintenance for three years or 36,000 miles.
The Volvo name is virtually synonymous with top-notch safety, so it's no surprise that the V60 Cross Country enjoys a full five-star overall safety rating from the NHTSA. The IIHS has yet to evaluate the latest V60 for crashworthiness, but we expect the agency's reviews to be promising.
Occupants are well-protected by numerous airbags, including dual front, side curtain, and a driver's knee airbag. Additional safety gear includes a rearview camera, front/rear parking sensors, hill start assist, hill descent control, blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, lane-keep assist, front/rear collision mitigation, cruise control, LED headlights with a cornering function, pedestrian detection, road sign information, a collapsible steering column, driver attention alert, and post-crash braking. Of course, electronic stability control is standard, too. A 360-degree camera system is optional, with images projected on the central screen of the V60 CC's surroundings, appreciably improving visibility.
The Volvo V60 Cross Country could be all the car you'll ever need. It drives and handles like a well-sorted luxury sedan yet has most of the practicality that comes with a crossover. It doesn't hurt that this is one of the most stylish wagons on the market, while the all-road capability of the Cross Country only adds to its appeal. The interior is a sublime place to be with its original Scandanavian design and solid build quality. We also love the V60's refined road manners. That said, if you want a tough and spacious wagon, the Subaru Outback will do the job at a much lower price, although it isn't as luxuriously appointed as the V60 Cross Country. The Audi A4 allroad is perhaps a better match for the V60, as it offers a solidly built cabin and that premium four-ringed badge. But in an era where wagons have fallen out of favor and direct competition is few and far between, the V60 Cross Country is a reminder of why the body style deserves your attention.
The single-trim Volvo V60 Cross Country has a starting MSRP in the USA of $45,450, a price that excludes a destination charge of $995, along with tax, licensing, and registration costs. By comparison, the Audi A4 allroad begins at a slightly more affordable $44,600. However, that price represents the Audi in its most basic trim, whereas the V60 CC comes in one generously equipped trim. Depending on how much you're willing to fork out, the final price of the Volvo V60 Cross Country could exceed $65,000 with all the options and accessories added.
Although the V60 Cross Country comes in just a single trim, Volvo offers several packages to provide at least some choice for prospective buyers. Package prices begin at $750 for the Climate Package, which adds heated rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and heated windscreen washers. For $1,900, the Advanced Package equips adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree surround-view camera system, inductive smartphone charging, and more. The priciest upgrade is the $2,800 Lounge Package with items like power seat cushions for the front seats, four-zone automatic climate control, and a memory system for the front passenger seat. Individual upgrades worth considering include the $4,000 Bowers & Wilkins sound system and massaging front seats for $500. However, the latter option requires upgrading to perforated Nappa leather upholstery for an additional $2,800.
High-riding wagon or bonafide SUV? That's the question worth asking when pitting these two excellent vehicles up against one another. The XC60 is a superb SUV and offers far more choice within its lineup, including everything from the base Momentum at $41,700 to the T8 eAWD Polestar engineered variant at nearly $70,000. Sticking with the base XC60 - since it is closest in price to the V60 Cross Country - gets you the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with 250 hp. However, this XC60 can tow 1,500 lbs more than the V60 CC. There is also more rear legroom in the XC60. While the V60 CC has a marginally larger trunk, the XC60 wins on total utility space when the rear seats are folded. Both Swedes have similarly opulent interiors. With powertrains producing up to 400 hp, the XC60 is the one to get if you need more power. But there's something so cool and unique about the V60 CC that it tugs at our heartstrings a bit more.
Audi knows how to build a desirable station wagon and the A4 allroad makes that clear. Like the V60 CC, the Audi employs a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and, although outputs are quite similar, the A4 is significantly quicker off the mark and boasts a slick-shifting dual-clutch automatic transmission. Not only is it quicker, but the Audi will return one mpg more in a mix of city and highway driving. Despite the fact that the Volvo is marginally longer, it's the A4 allroad that manages to offer more trunk space and slightly more legroom for rear-seat passengers. As is typical, the A4 boasts a rock-solid cabin with top-notch materials, but the V60 exudes more charm from a design perspective. On paper, then, the Audi A4 allroad wins this battle. But if your decisions aren't based purely on numbers, we think that the Volvo is the more alluring wagon between these two.