THE GOODComfortable ride, lots of safety tech and all the practicality you’re liable to ever need.
THE BADIts interior tech leaves an awful lot to be desired.
THE BOTTOM LINEA rugged and capable all-rounder that will not leave you wanting.
Volvo’s stunningSUV and sedan leave many of its older cars, like this V60 Cross Country, in a somewhat uncomfortable place. These cars are a link to earlier days for Volvo, remnants of its Ford ownership and somewhat more humble styling. They’re still great machines, but driving one you’re left wondering just how long it’ll be before they, too, are reborn into the same, classier look and performance of Gothenberg’s latest.
But don’t let such doubts dissuade you from including the $42,000 V60 Cross Country on your list if you’re looking for a solid tall-rounder. This lifted wagon has the capacity and comfort to get you through just about everything life has too offer, plus enough off-road chops to handle the worst that a New England winter can throw your way.
To get the Cross Country, take a standard V60 wagon and give it a bit of a lift. Two and a half inches worth of lift, to be exact, thanks in part to more generous wheels and tires, but largely due to the revised suspension. The Cross Country also gets a hill descent mode, useful for those steep Vermont driveways, and a somewhat more limited engine selection.
OK, much more limited. The sole choice is the T5 specification, a two-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder delivering a healthy 240 horsepower. That’s connected to a torque-vectoring Haldex all-wheel-drive system via an eight-speed automatic transmission that’s hardly sporty but is plenty smooth.
While the trend towards small, crossover SUVs continues, it’s hard not to look at a car like the V60 and think it’s the perfect solution for anyone needing practicality and comfort in a compact package. Both the front and rear seats have plenty of headroom for adults, and while this isn’t the most generously proportioned wagon on the road, it would take one hell of a Costco run to reach full capacity.
My two large dogs had plenty of room in the back with the seats up and the (optional) cargo barrier folded down, but of course they preferred riding with the seats down — and their heads out the window. Should you need more, the roof rails are standard and, if you add on a tow hook, the V60 will haul 3,500 pounds worth of whatever else you have to throw at it.
Unencumbered, the car is rated for 22 mpg in the city and up to 30 on the highway. In our mixed testing we split the difference, coming in at a respectable 26.