Volvo V60 Cross Country estate
"The characterful Volvo V60 Cross Country is stylish, comfortable and can tackle terrain more extreme than most will ever need it to."
- Stylish inside and out
- Plentiful off-road ability
- Incredibly safe
- Just one engine and trim
- Relatively thirsty
- Vague steering feel
The Volvo V60 is our reigning best compact executive car, and as the Cross Country is quite literally an extension of this model, it's off to a great start. It certainly boasts the same subtle but stylish exterior and interior design, and some may even prefer the tougher looking extra body cladding and raised ride height over an SUV.
It makes a great argument against simply picking your favourite SUV, with excellent on-road manners and surprising go-anywhere ability should you need it. The Cross Country sits towards the top end of the V60 pricing tree, though, and there's just one specification so far - the D4 diesel, so choice is somewhat limited.
To be fair to Volvo, it's the engine most would have picked anyway, with 187bhp and enough grunt to tow a two-tonne trailer, while a more powerful T5 petrol variant is expected to arrive before the end of the year. Fuel-efficiency takes a slight hit, dropping to 47.9mpg as a result of its four-wheel drive and raised ride. Company-car drivers will be liable for Benefit-in-Kind (BiK) taxation of 35%.
That long-travel suspension also pays dividends as far as comfort is concerned, because the outdoorsy Volvo hoovers up bumps as if they were hardly there at all. It's quite a different experience to driving a BMW 3 Series Touring, or even the Audi A4 Allroad, with both having a far firmer ride quality.
Aside from its on-road and off-road performance, it's also worth noting Volvo's unrivaled safety record. The V60 itself has a five-star Euro NCAP result, with a class-leading 96% score for adult occupant safety.
MPG, running costs & CO2
The V60 Cross Country initially comes with just one 2.0-litre diesel badged D4, but how does its extra height and four-wheel drive affect fuel economy? Well, according to the latest WLTP testing procedure, it can return 47.9mpg with 18-inch alloy wheels fitted and it emits 135g/km, resulting in a 35% BiK band. A drop to 42.8mpg and emissions of 143g/km (36% BiK) could be enough to dissuade you from speccing 20-inch alloy wheels, though. Fitted with the same engine, the standard V60 can manage up to 55.4mpg with emissions as low as 117g/km.
We also expect a petrol T5 engine to arrive later this year, which should suit drivers with a lower annual mileage. It's predicted to return around 36mpg, with CO2 emissions between 160-170g/km.
Road tax will cost £140 a year, but it's worth noting the £38,000 Cross Country D4 sits just a few options away from the £40,000 threshold that invokes a £310 surcharge in the first five years you renew its tax. It sits in insurance group 31 of 50, matching top Inscription and R-Design diesel versions of the V60.
Engines, drive & performance
f you place comfort ahead of outright poise, you'll love the V60 Cross Country. Even in standard guise the V60 is more comfortable than the Audi A4 Avant and BMW 3 Series Touring, but a 60mm increase in suspension travel makes it even better at soaking up the road imperfections you would typically find on UK roads. Yet, it doesn't drive like a traditional off-roader, with body lean kept mostly in check through tight corners and plenty of grip.
Of course, this Volvo can also head off-road, giving anyone who's looking to buck the SUV trend a viable alternative. It's as capable as most SUVs too, with a bespoke off-road drive mode and hill descent control to help out when dropping down steep slopes and plenty of grunt to power up the other side. Very few owners will push it out of its comfort zone.
Back on tarmac, our only complaint is the steering, which suffers from a lack of feel with a vagueness that can cause a momentary loss of accuracy during cornering, robbing the driver of some confidence. With 187bhp, the D4 diesel comes with an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard, and it gets from 0-62mph in 8.2 seconds, before running on to a top speed of 130mph.
Interior & comfort
Since the revolution that began with the Volvo XC90, the brand's interiors have become some of the best in the business. Its tradition of supplying some of the most comfortable seats continues, but quality in every area has taken a leap forwards. As a result, the interior feels premium, with attractive materials and sturdy controls.
The V60 Cross Country is very slightly more utilitarian than the standard car - if you can call its vinyl and cloth seats that. There's also a beige checked option if you're feeling brave, which actually suits the big Swede rather well.
A trim level in its own right, the Cross Country is based on the (already comprehensive) Momentum spec, but adds a 60mm increase in height thanks to new suspension and larger profile tyres, exterior body work cladding, front parking sensors, a dimming rear-view mirror, silver roof rails, hill descent control and a gloss-black steering wheel.
Practicality & boot space
Volvo made a return to form when the V60 was released, ditching the previous models curvy shape to maximise boot space - and we think the boxy shape looks cooler anyway. Behind the seats there's 529-litres of space, putting the Cross Country just ahead of the Audi A4 Allroad. Fold the seats down and 1,441 litres is available for longer items. We love all the neat touches too; from its flush loading boot lip to the pop-up luggage divider that you can strap shopping to, preventing it from moving around when driving.
Renowned for their towing abilities, the Cross Country is no exception to the Volvo estate rule, hauling a braked trailer of up to 2,000kgs (750kg unbraked). That's more than enough for a large caravan, or even another car on a trailer.
Reliability & safety
The V60 is too new to have appeared in our 2018 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, but Volvo performed well overall. The brand came an impressive fifth out of 26 manufacturers in the reliability category, with only 10.4% of customers reporting a vehicle fault within the first year.
As you’d expect safety and Volvo go hand-in-hand, and the V60 is at the forefront of modern technology when it comes to collision prevention and passive safety features. As a result, it racked up another impressive five-star score in Euro NCAP crash tests, with a near-perfect 96% score for adult occupant protection.
Price, value for money & options
While it's hardly what you'd describe as budget motoring, just over £38,000 for the V60 Cross Country does serve up quite a substantial amount of car for the money. Not only do you get a posh Volvo Estate, but then there's its rugged looks, go-anywhere ability and flexibility to shame many far more expensive SUVs. It also undercuts the £40,000 Audi A4 Allroad, it's closest rival.
The options list isn't quite as extensive as the Audi's, but you can add extras like an opening Panoramic sunroof, four-zone climate control, leather upholstery and heated rear seats. Keyless entry and a powered tailgate are also an option, along with a Bowers and WIlkins stereo with 14 speakers and a 1,100-watt output.