Volvo V60 Cross Country estate review
"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 regular Volvo V60 is a stylish and spacious compact executive car, and as the Cross Country is a 4x4-influenced version of that model, it's off to a great start. It has similar subtle yet eye-catching exterior and interior design, and some may even prefer the tougher looking extra body cladding and raised ride height over an SUV.
Rivalling the Audi A4 Allroad and Volkswagen Passat Alltrack, the Volvo V60 Cross Country is a great reason not to simply buy your favourite SUV, thanks to excellent on-road manners and surprising go-anywhere ability should you need it. The Cross Country sits in the middle of the V60 pricing tree, between regular models and plug-in hybrid versions, but there's now just the one engine to pick - a thirsty 247bhp petrol - so choice is somewhat limited.
Diesel engines are no longer available for the Volvo V60 and we think that loss is acutely felt with the all-wheel-drive Cross Country. The previous D4 engine could tow over two tonnes but the petrol, as powerful as it is, is capable of towing slightly less at 1,800kg. At least fuel economy is palatable, with up to 38mpg possible.
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 estate, 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 now comes with just one 2.0-litre mild-hybrid petrol engine that’s badged B5 but the car’s extra height and four-wheel drive doesn’t drastically affect fuel economy compared with regular V60. It can return 38.1mpg with 18-inch alloy wheels fitted, although the 168g/km CO2 emissions result in the highest 37% BiK band. Choose the 19-inch wheels and fuel economy will drop to around 35mpg. No other V60 comes with the B5 petrol engine but the lower-powered B3 and B4 petrols found in front-wheel-drive versions will both manage 45mpg.
Up until the fifth time you renew the Cross Country’s VED (road tax), your annual bill will be nearly £500 because the car costs more than £40,000. After year six of ownership, your tax will return to the standard rate. It sits in insurance group 35 of 50, slightly higher than Inscription and R-Design versions of the V60.
Engines, drive & performance
If 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 247bhp, the B5 petrol comes with an eight-speed automatic gearbox as standard, and it gets from 0-62mph in 6.9 seconds, before running on to a limited top speed of 112mph. Only the Volvo V60 T6 Recharge plug-in hybrid is faster off the line.
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 are 519 litres of space, putting the Cross Country just ahead of the Audi A4 Allroad. Fold the seats down and 1,431 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 1,800kg (750kg unbraked). That's more than enough for a large caravan, or even a smaller car on a trailer. The discontinued diesel engine could tow 2,000kg.
Reliability & safety
The V60 didn’t appear in our 2021 Driver Power owner satisfaction survey, but Volvo performed well overall. The brand came an impressive ninth out of 29 manufacturers, although a fifth of customers reported 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.