The idea that modern consumers need SUVs and crossovers to make daily life easier by providing enough space to haul people and their stuff in some semblance of comfort, is firmly ingrained in the minds of buyers, worldwide. But, these types of vehicles are by no means the only options out there. In 2018, the Volvo V60 Cross Country accounted for twice as many sales as the regular V60, proving that wagons - and lifted wagons like the V60 Cross Country - have more than just some value to add to the market. With raised ground clearance, interior space in spades, and a magnificent cabin, there's isn't much to dislike about the Cross Country, although the soccer-mom look doesn't appeal to everyone, and the powertrain may be a little too sedate for some. With popular rivals like the Subaru Outback, Audi's A4 Allroad and even the more visually-appealing XC60 in the Volvo fleet, should you even glance in the direction of the Swedish wagon? Yes, and here's why.
The V60 Cross Country moniker took some time off in 2019, and came into 2020 as an all-new model, based on the same Scalable Platform Architecture (SPA) as its siblings, the S60 and larger Volvo vehicles like the S90 and XC90. The second generation Cross Country features a brand new motor: a four-cylinder turbocharged Drive-E power plant with the T5 denomination, which is aimed at better performance and improved efficiency. The all-new V60 CC also includes the Pilot Assist driver assistance suite as standard, making this the safest V60 Cross Country yet.
With one model to choose from, the price list is simple: a 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country has an MSRP of $45,745 before options and excluding licensing, taxes and other miscellaneous charges, as well as a $995 destination fee. Adding more desirable options such as heated rear seats and steering, massage function to the front seats, and the upgraded sound systems can easily push the price over $50k.
See trim levels and configurations:
|T5 Cross Country||
2.0L Turbo Inline-4 Gas
This niche vehicle has characteristics of standard sedans, wagons, and SUVs all rolled into one, and the Swedes have pulled off a brilliant combination of these driving styles in the V60 CC. With a noticeably higher ride height and soft-tuned suspension, the Cross Country makes for a really pleasant ride - it's not quite as pillowy as a regular luxury sedan, and it's somewhat less sporty than we expected, but it absorbs rough surfaces without breaking a sweat, and gives in to minimal body roll in corners. It's sufficiently agile, with well-weighted steering that makes for an easy drive that's satisfyingly responsive. There are also various drive modes to suit the multiple personalities buried beneath the metal, with Dynamic mode responsibly keeping tabs on the traction, while Sport mode is slightly more engaging (not that we'd imagine blasting through corners with the kids and dog in the back is ideal). Switching to Off-Road mode allows the Cross Country to engage hill descent and hill hold on rougher terrain, and while this isn't a hardy Toyota 4Runner that climbs mountain peaks for fun and fills-up on protein-laced gasoline, the V60 CC manages impressively well.
The Volvo V60 wagon has already won over many family-oriented consumers, and in V60 Cross Country guise makes for a brilliant all-rounder. The new design looks better than ever, and with ample ground clearance and all-wheel-drive, handles competently both on and off the tarmac. It offers a brilliant alternative to traditional SUVs and crossovers by providing car-like driving and SUV-like space, with a capacious trunk and comfortable, roomy seats. The benefit of buying a Volvo is that safety and reliability are not just synonymous with the brand, but literally make up the very DNA of the car. We're not overly enthused by the rather bland engine, and would have loved the option of a more powerful motor to really take things to the next level, however. But we're won over by the whole, handsome package, although Volvo (and wagons especially) have a lot of 'old-timey' history to shake off, and the newer generation of cars are working hard at it. The Cross Country may be a lifted wagon, but it's an excellent one, and investing in it would not be a mistake on any front.
We'd have no qualms buying the V60 Cross Country as is, and since there are no mechanical changes to opt for, we'd spec it with a few added conveniences and luxuries to really compound on it's comfortable, spacious and practical nature. We'd add the Luxury Package at $2,200 for the massage function and ventilated Nappa seats, and the $2,500 Advanced Package for the Pilot Assist system and head-up display. We'd like to skip over the Cross Country Pro package but it's a prerequisite for the Luxury Package, so we'll go with the flow and throw in at least the Harman Kardon upgrade at $800 on top of that. The electrically folding trailer hitch makes sense for family vacations, and adds $1,570 to the total price, while a few aesthetic preferences add up to a total price tag of $56,610.
Sibling rivalry has never been so civilized as comparing the V60 Cross Country to its crossover brother, the XC60. Disclaimer, the XC60 is easily one of our favorite vehicles in the Volvo fleet: it's devilishly handsome yet urbanely charming, and has an almost $5k cheaper price tag for its base model. It features the same base powertrain as the V60 CC, but can also be had in a 316-hp T6 variation, or as a Plug-In Hybrid that makes 400 hp and keeps your gas mileage down. There's a bit more choice here in terms of drivetrain too, with FWD being an option on the XC60. Comparing apples to apples, though, the T5-powered XC60 shares much of the V60 CC's standard features, including the safety suite, moonroof, climate control, and infotainment system. Main differences lie in the capabilities of each vehicle; where the V60 CC serves as a practical family commuter with executive class and some rough-terrain-ready characteristics, the XC60 is able to face just a bit more off-road with fractionally more ground clearance at 8.5 inches, and load more with substantially more room in the trunk. The biggest bonus of choosing the XC60, however, is that you can swap out the engine for a more powerful one, thereby doing away with one of the few gripes we had about the Cross Country, to begin with. Pick whichever one works for you and your family - both will keep you safe and comfortable on, and off, the road.
More of a crossover than a wagon, the Subaru Outback has been around for ages and has carved out a name for itself as a capable off-roader with a smooth ride and ample cargo space. Refreshed for 2020, the Outback looks much nicer overall, and boasts a new 2.4-liter turbocharged engine and an upgraded CVT gearbox - if not for the newer engine, it would be far behind in outputs compared to the V60 CC. The upgraded motor makes slightly more horsepower and torque (260 hp and 277 lb-ft to be precise) than the 250 hp and 258 lb-ft of the Cross Country, allowing it to tow around 3,500 lbs in this guise. By all accounts, this is a more utilitarian vehicle, and the masses of cargo space it provides simply adds to this. Base models cost a lot less, too, with starting prices of $26,645, although the entry-spec version is not nearly as well specified as the V60 CC nor as luxurious. Upgrading the Outback entry-level model to the levels nearing V60 CC opulence will bring the pricing more in line, we'd rather just stick with the beauty, class, and safety of the Volvo as is.