Friday, 6 May 2016

REVIEW – Volvo V60 Cross Country SE Lux Nav

The Volvo V60 is a car I have highly rated in the past. One addition to the V60 range comes in the form of the Cross Country. This has a tougher appearance than the standard V60, yet seeks to offer the same level of luxury that Volvo buyers have come to expect. With cars like the VW Passat Alltrack and Audi A4 Allroad proving to be successful, I can see why Volvo have created the Cross Country. So I was keen to see if it was any good. I grabbed one for a week to see for myself.

Looks – 8/10

The V60 is a very premium-looking car. It is sleek and well-proportioned. And with the addition of the Cross Country it is proving itself to be versatile too. You see on the R-Design the body shape lends itself to being sporty and aggressive, yet on the SE Lux it comes across as executive. For the Cross Country Volvo have given the V60 black plastic wheel arch trims and rear bumper trim. The window surround and mirrors are black, which offered a wonderful contrast to the Crystal White paint of my test car. From the stylish LED daytime running lights at the front to the twin exhausts at the rear, there are many stylish touches. The whole car looks like it sits a little higher, and the 18-inch alloy wheels look smaller; with plenty of tyre surrounding them.

Step inside the V60 Cross Country and you get the usual greeting of premium plastics and leather that you’d expect in any Volvo. There’s a soft leather steering wheel, centre console angled toward the driver, and digital dials to provide the driver with an immersive experience of quality. I was a little confused by the presence of gloss black trim in the cabin. Given how easily it can mark with fingerprints (and scratches if you’re not careful) it seemed to contradict the tough exterior image. I like the leather seats with their sculpted headrests, although I did miss some supportive side bolsters. I mustn’t be alone in this, because on the 2016 model the seats are much more snug.


Handling/Performance – 8/10

My test car came with one of my favourite engines under the bonnet. It’s the 2.0-litre, D4 diesel engine. It offers a respectable 190PS and 400Nm of torque, and is available with either a 6-speed manual or 8-speed automatic gearbox. My choice would always be the 8-speed automatic, and happily it was featured in my test car. Power delivery is smooth and if you select eco+ mode the car uses the many gears to keep revs to a bare minimum; on the motorway 70mph is way below 2,000rpm. Put your foot down and the V60 will hit 0-62mph in 7.8 seconds and go on to a top speed of 130mph. That’s not bad at all and allows you to feel like you’ve got a bit of something in the locker should you ever be in a bit of a hurry.

The handling of the V60 Cross Country is good too. The steering is tight and the car changes direction well for a large estate. The ride is smooth and comfortable, although I did notice a bit of pitch on corner entry. Coupled to the lack of bolsters on the seats the Cross Country isn’t the best around, well, country roads. And despite the tough appearances, the FWD version doesn’t have the sure-footedness to accompany it when the conditions get rough. The truth is that the V60 is more at home on the M60. This car eats up miles effortlessly, and it would be the kind of car I would happily take to our place in Bulgaria. Somehow a 2,000 mile drive seems less daunting from behind the wheel.

Economy – 10/10

Gone are the days when automatic gearboxes were a sign of poor economy. The V60 Cross Country is an example of how far technology has advanced. Start/stop technology works as well on automatics as it does on a manual, resulting in lower CO2 emissions and improved fuel economy. Take the D4 automatic in this instance. 190PS and CO2 emissions of 120g/km. That’s VED band C and road tax of £30 (free first year). Couple this to combined fuel consumption of 61.4mpg and there doesn’t seem to be a downside to choosing the auto.

Practicality – 8/10

As an estate car, the V60 Cross Country has many practical elements. The boot is rather large, and has a sizeable load area. The load cover always comes in handy, and the built-in dog guard was a hit with our two miniature schnauzers. Passenger space in the cabin is generous, and adults will be as comfortable in the back as in the front. Being a Volvo there is plenty of equipment including cruise cruise control, satellite navigation, auto lights, auto wipers and dual-zone air conditioning. Available options include the £1,900 Driver Support Pack comprising lane departure warning system, blind spot information system and adaptive cruise control. I must confess that I don’t care too much for the lane departure warning, but the adaptive cruise control is fantastic, and makes long motorway drives effortless. Where I feel my Cross Country fell down was the lack of AWD system. There is a D4 AWD version available, and frankly I see that as the only one worth getting. After all, why bother getting a ‘rugged’ car that would get stuck in a cow pat!

Fun – 6/10

Without AWD capability, a degree of fun is lost. While your friends are off gallivanting off-road (I don’t know, they might) you will look on longingly. More likely however, is that they will make jokes about your car being all show and no go. And you would be unable to argue. But for the most part you will use your V60 on normal roads. And there it is quiet enough to converse with fellow passengers. It is comfortable enough that you will arrive wherever you are going fresh and cheery. The clever Sensus connect system can be specified with Harmon Kardon sound, and if you choose to do so will provide a wonderful acoustic atmosphere to any drive. Your friends will admire the quality, and swallow any preconceptions of a Volvo estate they may have. With a host of practical accessories available, from a rear-seat entertainment system to bike carriers and roof racks, there’s a lot of fun to be had and adventures to embark on in the V60 Cross Country.

Concluding Remarks

And that finishes of my week with the V60 Cross Country. The rugged styling is a hit, but I would advise on getting the drivetrain to match. The D4 is a gem, and when coupled to an AWD system it becomes a car for all occasions. And conditions for that matter. The V60 Cross Country starts at £30,195 but my test car tipped the scales at £42,120. That’s some getting too close to another V60 which seems much more up my street… the Polestar. For more information visit your local dealer or log on to the Volvo Website. The V60 Cross Country; a delightful combination of rugged and refined.

Total Score – 40/50

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