Volvo V60 Cross Country offers a reliable alternative to the SUV and it’s cool
THE late Kate Spade and husband Andy built a multi-million-pound fashion design empire on the following mantra: “Product is everything.”
It was something they said in interviews, meaning if the product you are selling is good, then everything else will go swimmingly.
The same principle seems to be working for Volvo. Volvo is now cool. Very cool. And we all know it.
Yet this is a brand which has waged war on the over-use of plastics in manufacturing, sells cars on that most unsexy of things, safety, and is doing all it can to usher in an era of electric and hybrid engines.
None of the above is cool. But its cars — or product — are. So everything, indeed, is going swimmingly for Volvo.
So swimmingly in fact last year its sales in Britain rose by nine per cent to 50,319 units, while the UK car market as a whole dropped by seven per cent.
Apart from Leonardo DiCaprio, no one looks cool while saving the planet.
As much as Volvo might like to think its mission to turn the oceans blue again is playing a part in its growth, it is cars such as the Volvo V60 that are doing the talking. Traditionally, estates had all the good looks of a spoiled potato.
The V60 — along with a few other notable efforts from brands such as Jaguar and Mercedes — is reshaping how we think about them.
It offers an alternative to the SUV, one which drives better and looks good parked outside the detached four-bedroom house in Zone Five.
“But they can’t go off-road,” cry the SUV fanatics, whose only notion of rough ground is the pothole at the end of the cul-de-sac.
Well actually, they can. Especially when given the right treatment, like the Volvo V60 Cross Country.
A cross country version of a Volvo wagon isn’t a new concept — Volvo has been making them for 21 years.
But they have evolved in line with the estates they are based on.
The V60 Cross Country is more than a standard V60 in a pair of Hunter wellies.
Sure, it’s got the mandatory, scuffable trim around the wheel arches (made from plastic, by the way), and it’s pumped up by 60mm to allow ground clearance in ditches.
But there’s more at play. It comes in permanent AWD and has a hill-descent mode, which kicks in whenever you find yourself looking down at the ground from behind the wheel.
Among the drive modes found on the standard V60 is an off-road mode, which can be engaged up to 25mph and tempers the throttle and gearing to cope with slip and slide — low gear, high rev stuff.
It’s surprisingly capable in the dirt, manfully coping with bogs and steep, slippery slopes during the launch in Suffolk this week.
Elsewhere it’s very much a normal V60. A good thing indeed.
Key facts: Volvo V60 Cross Country
- Price: £38,270
- Engine: 2.0 twin turbo diesel
- 0-62mph: 7.6 seconds
- Top speed: 130mph
- Fuel economy: 42.8 mpg
- CO2: 143g/km
Leather seats have to be optioned, which jars with a car that delivers premium as standard everywhere else. Even so, it’s a soothing environment in which to argue with the other half over the merits of Montessori schooling.
As it stands, there’s just one engine available, Volvo’s 190bhp 2-litre diesel D4.
But that will change with the addition of the T5 petrol unit later in the year.
Fun fact — the V60 and V60 Cross Country are the last Volvos to be offered with a diesel engine.
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Perhaps the greatest achievement of the Cross Country is that it drives almost exactly like a normal V60.
You would expect that longer suspension to cause it to wallow in corners. But if it does, I couldn’t tell — and I drove both cars back-to-back.
Would I spend five grand more to have the Cross Country over the V60? No, but I live in a town and don’t go pheasant shooting.
But I would buy the V60 tomorrow and, if you need extra grip or like caravanning breaks, the Cross Country is worth every penny.
Reader’s car of the week
HOW’S this for a classic? This beautiful piece of British motoring history was sent in by Phil Dutton from Redditch, Worcs.
Phil says: “It’s my 1954 Jaguar XK120 – one of the last ever produced.
“In its day, it was the fastest road production car in the world – and it still keeps up with modern vehicles. It’s a joy to drive.”
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Source: The Sun Motors – Volvo V60 Cross Country offers a reliable alternative to the SUV and it’s cool