2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country First Drive Review: The Good Old Days Are Back

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2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country
2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country | Photo: Charles Jolicoeur

Remember the Volvo XC70? I hadn’t thought about it for a while either until I got behind the wheel of the new Volvo V60 Country Country for the first time last week.

As it should be, our first drive of the all-new 2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country happened in Sweden. Northern Sweden, actually, in quaint little Lulea. It was freezing, of course, and the majority of our time spent behind the wheel occurred on a frozen portion of the Gulf of Bothnia. Residents swim in it in summer, and we drifted on it in the dead of winter.

As my first review of the Volvo V60 Cross Country came to an end, I realized I had essentially been driving a new-generation Volvo XC70.

It was discontinued back in 2014 when Volvo was just starting to reinvent itself. The car itself had been a hit with buyers, however, and probably never should have gone anywhere. We know, wagons aren’t nearly as popular as SUVs these days and that was the case five years ago, but the Volvo buyer is a different bread.

The Volvo V60 Cross Country takes the spirit of the XC70 and resurrects it in a much more appealing package visually. The V60 CC represents everything that’s going well with Volvo right now, from its stunning design to its flawless interior, but it retains that unique Volvo wagon feel we lost when the XC70 retired.

Some will say the V90 Cross Country is the new XC70, but the V60 CC is closer in both feel and dynamics. It’s also priced about the same. Unlike the previous-generation V60 Cross Country, however, the new model feels big (in a good way), luxurious, opulent even.

Volvo V60 Cross Country vs Normal V60

First off, what’s so different about the V60 Cross Country compared to a normal V60? It starts at $48,900 while the 2019 V60 starts at $43,900 so what can justify the $5,000 difference?

2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country
2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country First Drive Review | Photo: Charles Jolicoeur
2019 Volvo V60
2019 Volvo V60 | Photo: Matt St-Pierre

For starters the V60 Cross Country has more ground clearance and sits a full 3 inches higher than the Volvo V60. Will you notice the changes behind the wheel? Not specifically, but you do feel like you’re in a more robust vehicle when driving the Cross Country. A higher ground clearance also means that you can go further off the beaten path.

The V60 feels like a car, pure and simple. The V60 Cross Country, not so much. It serves as the bridge between the V60 and the XC60 in Volvo’s lineup, and it feels like that behind the wheel You’re not really high off the ground, but you feel bigger than other cars on the road.

There are some design differences as well. The V60 Cross Country gets a unique grill design with dots instead of slats, and the bottom part of the body is covered in black cladding.

2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country First Drive Review Image
2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country | Photo: Charles Jolicoeur

The biggest difference is not the cladding or the higher ground clearance, it’s the powertrain. Volvo did their homework here as to not cannibalize its own models. The base V60 CC gets all-wheel drive and a 250-horsepower turbocharged 2.0-liter engine with 258 pound-feet of torque.

This engine is standard in the Volvo V60, but only with front-wheel drive. If you want an AWD Volvo V60, you’re paying… $48,900 which is the Cross Country’s base price. In the V60, however, you get a more powerful T6 engine with 295 horsepower and 316 pound-feet of torque.

The base 250-hp turbo is the only engine you’ll find in the V60 Cross Country. The good news is that it’s plenty powerful for what most buyers want to do with their V60 CC. You’ll get to 100 km/h in under 7.0 seconds.

New Volvo V60 Cross Country
New Volvo V60 Cross Country interior | Photo: Volvo

Impressive Grip

Our entire first contact with the 2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country happened on either ice-covered or snow-covered roads. I don’t think our studded Nokian Hakkapeliitta tires ever saw a clear patch of asphalt.

These tires proved once again that grip on slippery surfaces depends first and foremost on the rubber wrapped around your wheels. No all-wheel drive system, no matter how advanced, can do anything for you if your tires are appropriate for the season or in good condition.

That said, with the right tires, the Volvo V60 Cross Country is a very effective winter weapon. It corners with confidence and handled the proper ice track the folks at Volvo had prepared for us with relative ease.

This wasn’t a fluffy, cutesy little track with a few turns. We had a blast getting up to speed on a long, winding, and yes, challenging track. More importantly, we were able to test Volvo’s all-wheel drive system in its proper environment.

2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country First Drive Review
2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country First Drive Review | Photo: Charles jolicoeur

We learned that in real-world conditions, it would be quite hard to lose complete control of your V60 CC. Don’t forget, we were driving at 50 km/h on pure ice and going through a slalom at 35 km/h. Keeping an even 40 km/h through a long u-turn was the objective.

No one will ever try and do that on a slippery urban street or suburban avenue after a snow storm. If the Volvo V60 Cross Country handled what we were doing in northern Sweden so well, it won’t have any issues handling your daily winter commute.

You’ll want to tick the box for the Premium Package if buying a Volvo V60 Cross Country. It adds plenty of features which we will come back to in a second, but the one feature we want to talk about here is Drive Mode Select.

It’s your standard drive mode system with Eco, Comfort, and Dynamic modes, but it also features an Off-Road mode. The latter provides an effective Hill Descent Control system which is useful when going down a steep, slippery hill. If you plan on going off the beaten path often in your V60 CC, you’ll want this driving mode.

2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country Interior
New Volvo V60 Cross Country interior | Photo: Volvo

The Best Seats in The Business

The 2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country likes icy roads and is quite capable on them. It’s also one of the most comfortable vehicles you can buy at this price point, regardless of segment.

Volvo seats are still the best in the game and provide both ample side support and long-drive comfort. You’ll quickly find the perfect driving position and there’s perfect visibility throughout the cockpit.

The rear seats have a ton of space for a vehicle of this size and the trunk has more space than most luxury SUVs offered at $50,000. The Volvo V60 Cross Country is the rational choice. It’s the car you’ll buy if you want to be pragmatic about buying a spacious, safe, comfortable vehicle that’s luxurious enough without being over the top.

Speaking of luxury, you’ll want to add the Premium Package. At $3,400 it’s by no means cheap, but the Drive Mode Select system paired with Sensus Navigation, headlight washers, 4-zone climate controls adaptive headlights, front fog lights, and keyless drive with automatic tailgate give enough value to the package.

You’ll need some time to get used to the iPad-style Sensus Connect infotainment system. We’re not huge fans of it for the simple fact that you have too much navigation to do to get to the most basic functions like radio and climate, but as an owner you will eventually figure it all out.

Final thoughts

The 2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country proves that wagons are often the best option if you need space without sacrificing driving pleasure. It feels like you’re driving a car, it’s supremely comfortable and quiet, but it has more interior space than many comparably-priced luxury SUVs and can go farther off-road than many of them as well. It’s the perfect compromise that doesn’t feel like a compromise.

2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country Images Gallery

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