2017 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 Drive-E AWD Premier Road Test Review

By : Trevor Hofmann
  Volvo’s V60 Cross Country isn’t the newest kid on the block, but it’s nevertheless one of two compact crossover wagons in the premium sector. This makes it stand out despite its aging platform, as does its all-new 240-hp 2.0L turbocharged 4-cylinder engine and 8-speed automatic. The stylish 5-door comes standard with AWD, 18-inch alloys, power-folding heated mirrors, pushbutton start, dual-zone auto HVAC, navigation, powered heated front seats, and more, while our Premier trimmed tester received a TFT gauge cluster, leather, etc. Check it out.......
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
                   
               
 
Volvo's Cross Country line is mostly unique in the industry. Certainly the Swedish company is not alone when it comes to producing
2017 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 Drive-E AWD Premier
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
crossover utilities, but unlike Volvo most premium-branded competitors duke it out in the regular SUV classes against the XC60 compact and XC90 mid-size models. Volvo takes things a step further by offering raised and bulked up versions of its V60 and upcoming V90 wagons in an effort to fill the niche between car and SUV, the V60 Cross Country and soon to arrive V90 Cross Country truest to the original crossover concept.

The idea isn't new. The first Cross Country rode on the mid-size V70 P2 (second-generation) platform way back in 1999. Volvo wasn't the only player in this market either, Audi first offering a taller version of its A6 Avant wagon dubbed Allroad the same year, and later bringing the compact A4 Allroad to market in 2009, which effectively replaced the regular A4 wagon in our market. Honourable mentions
2017 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 Drive-E AWD Premier
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
of mainstream volume branded models should be given to the American Motors' Eagle that initiated the rugged raised wagon idea way back in 1979 and Subaru's 1994 Outback that gave it legs in the modern era, launched simultaneously with the Impreza-based Outback Sport, the latter replaced with the current (XV) Crosstrek in 2012. Volkswagen has only recently followed suit with its Golf Wagon-based Alltrack, but so far none of Volvo and Audi's premium rivals have literally raised their compact wagon game.

The unique V60 Cross Country arrived on the scene for the 2015 model year, along with its rather unusual S60 Cross Country sibling that's attempting to toughen up the four-door sedan segment. How I wish Volvo Canada separated the sales of this model out so we could all enjoy a good giggle (they intelligently make it seem
2017 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 Drive-E AWD Premier
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
as if it's a highly sought after model that's purposely imported in limited numbers, by saying fewer than 100 will be brought to Canada), but unfortunately they won't even divide up Cross Country sales stats from the regular V60. Thanks to the brand's U.S. division we can compare a paltry 571 S60 Cross Country deliveries to the V60 Cross Country's more reasonable 2,725 last year (and let's remember that Americans like sedans a lot more than we Canadians, so the sales ratio will likely be skewed further in the V60 Cross Country's favour), which while looking mighty good against the Audi A4 Allroad's 2,300 sales needs to be assessed beside the regular V60 wagon's 3,407, as well as the XC60 compact SUV's much stronger 20,452 sales. In other words, it's an also-ran.

More interesting is how the entire V60 line's 627 Canadian sales were more than three
2017 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 Drive-E AWD Premier
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
times stronger per capita (we're about a 10th the size of the U.S. market) and came dangerously close to outpacing the entire S60 sedan line's 657 deliveries last year, which would be the equivalent of the BMW 3 Series Touring and Mercedes-Benz C-Class Wagon outselling their four-door sedan variants. Such thoughts are laughable, but to Volvo and its diehard customer base, the wagon isn't merely an afterthought that might one day get axed like Cadillac's CTS Sport Wagon, Jaguar's X-Type Sportwagon, or Lexus' IS SportCross, it's an essential bread and butter body style.

Call me unusual if you like (I've been called much worse), but the V60 Cross Country makes total sense to me. Then again, unless you carry a lot of very expensive kit around and your neighbourhood requires the security of a lockable trunk
2017 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 Drive-E AWD Premier
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
(hence the S60 Cross Country), wagons are a lot more useful and more often than not look sportier than their three-box counterparts, whereas SUVs can be heavy and cumbersome. My appreciation of wagons is no doubt a result of my half-Euro parentage and Canadian upbringing, and possibly my 50-something age, although other than our familial 1960 Pontiac Strato Chief Station Wagon, a '70 Oldsmobile Vista Cruiser we borrowed from friends for a road trip to California one year, and the odd Chevy Nomad seen at weekend show and shines, I can't remember thinking wagons were remotely cool.

The V60 Cross Country is. I like its taller profile and stylish body cladding, which is simple matte black around the wheel cutouts and purposefully non-truck-like in between
2017 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 Drive-E AWD Premier
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
where sculpted silver rocker extensions reside. These are beautifully detailed, as are the lowered front and rear fascias that come complete with stunning silver front and rear undertrays, which happened to look body-colour on my Bright Silver Metallic painted tester. Lastly, an italicized "CROSS COUNTRY" nameplate is discretely written in embossed block letters across the rear bumper's thick matte black garnish. The V60 Cross Country also doesn't get the usual SUV-like roof rails across the top, its take on the useful contraptions flush-mounted albeit still useful for attaching a roof rack with cross members. Down below, machine-finished V-style five-spoke 18-inch alloys with light grey painted pockets get wrapped in 235/50R18 Pirelli Scorpion Verde all-season rubber, combining for a nice look and great traction.

Those taller tire sidewalls are joined by a 65-mm (2.5-inch) increase in ride height for 200 mm (7.9 inches) of total ground clearance and considerably more wheel travel, which together with undercarriage protective skid plates, standard Haldex torque-vectoring all-wheel drive,
2017 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 Drive-E AWD Premier
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
hill descent control, hill start assist, and a host of active traction and stability control tech, improves off-pavement capability. Understand, this is a soft-roader in most every respect, but it's certainly good enough for tackling a muddy dirt road on the way to the summer cottage or a snow covered ski hill parking lot, plus a little more when called upon. At the same time it takes to corners much better than your average SUV, because its centre of gravity is considerably lower. All the while the Cross Country's 360-degree visibility is improved over the regular V60, the extra height providing a better vantage point amid congested city traffic.

Due to those relatively small aforementioned sales numbers, Volvo keeps things simple when it comes to choosing powertrains
2017 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 Drive-E AWD Premier
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
and trims. To be clear, Volvo is beyond generous to offer three engines in the regular V60, the Cross Country smartly integrating the base V60 T5 Drive-E AWD combination, which means the turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder makes 240 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque and drives all wheels via an eight-speed automatic with "Geartronic" manual mode. It was also smart to replace last year's 2.5-litre five-cylinder and six-speed auto combo even though the engine and transmission spent just two years in this relatively new model, the smaller four producing 10 horsepower and 8 lb-ft of torque less output, but with a smaller displacement and two additional forward gears considerably better fuel economy at 10.8 L/100km city and 7.8 highway compared to 11.8 and 9.1 for the 2015-16 version.

I
2017 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 Drive-E AWD Premier
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
certainly didn't notice any lack of go power, the V60 Cross Country delivering strong straight-line performance from standstill to freeway speeds, while highway passing performance was also very good. There's even plenty of power and loads of grip for a fun stint through a winding canyon road, but it was the Cross Country's ride quality and overall comfort that really impressed. The regular V60 already offers a very compliant fully independent suspension, but the Cross Country's greater wheel travel makes it even more comfortable, while its standard eight-way power-adjustable front seats are some of the best in the industry.

Volvo covers these in its T-Tec Textile upholstery in $45,200 base trim, although my $2,500 pricier Premier tester was upgraded with leather in the same Off-Black tone.
2017 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 Drive-E AWD Premier
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
You can opt for Soft Beige instead, or pay another $750 for contoured sport seats in all Off-Black, two-tone Off-Black and Soft Beige (that looks light grey in the photos), or Beechwood (a rich saddle brown; misspelling intentional). My tester came with the standard Milled Aluminum inlays, which looked fabulous and had that cold feel of genuine metal, although if you're more of a traditional luxury fan a mere $425 will buy you Urbane Wood or Piano Black Wood inlays.

Along with items already mentioned the V60 Cross Country's standard features list includes the usual premium suspects such as power-retractable heated side mirrors, an electromechanical parking brake, pushbutton ignition, a beautiful leather-wrapped multifunction steering wheel, cruise control, rain-sensing wipers, dual-zone
2017 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 Drive-E AWD Premier
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
auto climate control, Bluetooth phone connectivity with audio streaming, navigation, driver seat memory that also adjusts the side mirrors, heatable front seats, HD and satellite radio, rear parking sensors, Volvo On Call telematics services, a powered glass sunroof, power-folding rear headrests, and more.

Additionally, the V60 Cross Country includes a very impressive combination of active and passive safety features including City Safety autonomous braking that detects vehicles as well as cyclists and pedestrians, Dynamic Stability Control with sport mode, torque-vectoring Corner Traction Control, whiplash protection front seatbelts, and more. Some of these help it earn a best possible Top Safety Pick Plus score from the IIHS, as well as 5 Stars from the NHTSA.

As
2017 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 Drive-E AWD Premier
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
mentioned earlier my tester was upgraded to Premier trim, which added unique 18-inch alloys, bright side window mouldings, silver roof rails, proximity access, an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a gorgeous full-colour adaptive digital TFT gauge cluster, and the already noted leather upholstery, while you can improve it further with active dual-HID headlights with auto high beams and headlight washers, auto-dimming side mirrors, LED accent lighting, a HomeLink garage door opener, a digital compass, a heatable windshield, heated windshield washer nozzles, a heatable steering wheel, heated rear seats, an interior air quality system, front parking assist, a rearview camera (that really should be standard), 3G Wi-Fi hot spot connectivity, a 12-speaker Harman/Kardon audio system, a Quick-Fold Front Passenger Seat, dual two-stage child booster seats, adaptive cruise control with Queue Assist, Distance Alert, Driver Alert Control, road sign information, lane departure warning,
2017 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 Drive-E AWD Premier
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
collision warning along with pedestrian and cyclist detection with full auto brake, and lane keeping assist.

Along with these factory options the V60 Cross Country can be had with dealer-installed accessories such as a front blind view camera that adds a 45-degree field of vision to the left and right, rear window sunshades, a rear seat entertainment system with dual eight-inch screens, a protective steel grille that stops rear cargo from entering the passenger compartment under heavy braking or accident, rubber all-season floor mats, a cargo mat, and more.

The V60 Cross Country offers up a nicely designed interior that gets high marks for
2017 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 Drive-E AWD Premier
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
design and build quality, although its scorecard only gets a mid-grade when it comes to the materials used and overall modernity. This means you'll be pampered with soft touch surfaces across the dash top and instrument panel, but most of the IP's lower panels are made from harder plastics, including the glove box lid. Still, each door is skinned in higher end pliable synthetics, which isn't always the case in this class especially amongst the Japanese. As noted its metal inlays are real, while Volvo dresses up other cabin areas with a tasteful assortment of satin finished and textured metals.

The floating centre stack continues to be an attractive styling statement, but despite some beautifully detailed rotating metal knobs the general layout is micro-managed with overzealous switchgear. I remember being impressed with this setup 10 years ago, and my analog loving nature appreciates it, but Volvo's new state-of-the-art
2017 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 Drive-E AWD Premier
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
tablet-style touchscreen found in the XC90, S90 and upcoming V90 makes the outgoing system look both dated and complicated. Just the same, all of the V60 Cross Country's switchgear is superb, and its main digital interface, while a bit small at 7.0 inches, is easy to operate and filled with features, unless of course you've spent time with the newer system. In contrast, my tester's upgraded TFT gauge cluster is much more advanced, the large centre dial surrounded by secondary digital meters, while the displays are configurable depending on the drive mode selected.

As noted the V60 Cross Country's front seats are comfortable with plenty of adjustment and more importantly good inherent design, while the car's front passenger compartment is spacious too. It would be in ideal choice for a road trip, as
2017 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 Drive-E AWD Premier
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
you'd probably arrive more refreshed then when setting out. The rear seats aren't quite as roomy, but I certainly had no problem fitting in with comfort. After positioning the driver's seat for my five-foot-eight frame I had about four inches ahead of my knees and another four or five above my head, Volvo smartly sculpting the rear portion of the roof out to increase ceiling height. Rear passengers also enjoy vents built into the backside of each B-pillar, and overhead reading lights, whereas my tester was upgraded to include three-way heatable outboard seats. Additionally, no matter which door you're using the Cross Country's taller ride height makes for easier ingress and egress.  

This benefits loading too, the cargo area reasonably large at 430 litres (15.2 cubic feet) behind the rear seats when measured below the retractable cargo cover or 692
2017 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 Drive-E AWD Premier
Photo: Karen Tuggay, Canadian Auto Press
litres (24.4 cubic feet) from the cargo floor right up to the roofliner. Fold the solidly built 40/20/40-split rear seatbacks flat and its gear-toting capacity increases to 1,220 litres (43.1 cubic feet), which isn't as generous as the premium wagon class average, but still makes for a versatile cargo/passenger environment that lets your rear passengers enjoy the comfort of a window seat while long items, such as skis, are stowed in the middle.

I suppose Volvo traded off maximum potential cargo space for sleek styling, and it's difficult to argue against the latter after taking in the Cross Country's beautiful lines. Sure the V60's general shape is starting to show its age, but that's only due to the automaker's brand-wide design language overhaul, its new rectangular grille, Thor's hammer LED headlights, and more upright rear glass making everything else in the Swedish company's lineup appear like yesteryear's news. Compare the V60 Cross Country to competitors and it comes off both sportier and more elegant, while the fine details noted earlier really stand out. No doubt redesigns of the V60 and S60 lines are well on the way, but until then they remain smart choices in their respective segments, and the Cross Country an especially good way to get the merits of an SUV while enjoying the better handling of a car.
©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)
 
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