Long-term test (Update 2): Volvo V60 Cross Country D4 AWD Inscription
They never used to be, but the words “Volvo” and “surprise” are increasingly found in the same sentence. Whereas the quirkily designed Swedish cars have traditionally offered safe and pragmatic motoring experiences, of late a couple of Polestars and chief designer Thomas Ingenlath’s new models have changed that perspective. And, as we’re finding out, so too has this Volvo long-termer.
My initial impressions of the V60 Cross Country were of a rather handsome wagon enhanced by a marginally raised ride height and extra body cladding. Add to that the torquey punch of its five-cylinder, 2,4-litre turbodiesel, and the V60 CC has been both an excellent family daily driver and an ideal adventure facilitator on various mountain-biking weekends.
Those were always going to be the V60 CC’s strengths, but what has come as something of a surprise has been its abilities off-road and just how comfortable it is on long journeys. I can attest to the former after a weekend adventure where a wrong turn through the Koue Bokkeveld saw me racing to make up time against a setting sun. While the ride is sometimes a little crashy on tar, over the area’s flowing gravel roads, the chassis dynamics and all-wheel-drive system saw the V60 CC devouring the distances with plenty of grip and a surprisingly good ride.
The Volvo was also enlisted on colleague Terence Steenkamp’s 2 300 km long-weekend trip to the Northern Cape. Along with more gravel, the V60 CC handled a slightly rougher off-road traverse with only mild wheel slip and he also confirmed my observations that its electrically adjustable front seats are exceptionally comfortable.
After 7 months
Current mileage: 10 234
Average fuel consumption: 9,12 L/100 km
We like: (optional) adaptive cruise control and blond-spot monitoring
We don’t like: engine gruffness at start-up; fuel consumption
Long-term test (Update 1): Volvo V60 Cross Country D4 AWD Inscription
So far, it’s been a faultless performance by the Osmium Grey V60 Cross Country. With day-to-day duties involving the school lift club that ferries four teenagers and the eyebrow-raising number of bags that their busy schedules demand, the extra boot space afforded by this estate is being thoroughly utilised.
Weekend duties are also making full use of both its interior dimensions as well as its gravel-road abilities. Most recently, two mountain-bike races on consecutive weekends saw the Volvo packed to the hilt with kit and bikes on the towbar-mounted Thule platform.
On the trip, the adaptive cruise control and Blind Spot Information System – both part of the optional R25 000 Advanced Pack – proved useful on the highway. Setting the cruise control at the national speed limit, the V60 Cross Country’s windscreen-mounted radar ensured a constant gap to the vehicle in front. Leaving braking and acceleration duties up to the Volvo, all I had to do was steer; even here, the lane-departure-warning system gave me a gentle vibratory reminder if I was neglecting this simple duty.
The trips also involved a substantial amount of gravel roads and the AWD system and suspension setup really came into their own. It may have a slightly hard ride over tar-road imperfections at low speed, but on gravel the damping works far better and the car feels particularly planted.
The trips also improved the fuel economy and while I’m averaging around 8,90 L/100 km, on the open road it reduces to 7,20.
After 4 months
Current mileage: 4 132
Average fuel consumption: 8,91 L/100 km
We like: intuitive safety systems
We don’t like: slightly firm edge to the ride
Long-term test (Introduction): Volvo V60 Cross Country D4 AWD Inscription
I’ve always had a soft spot for station wagons. When I was young, my mother had a VW 412 Variant and, when I became a dad, I was tasked with two important family-mobility purchases – a pram and a bigger car. Only marginally more expensive than the former was a used Volvo V40.
The V60 is two generations on in the same lineage and, with this Cross Country version, Volvo again targets a small slice of the SUV-dominated market. The standard V60 body gets roof rails, front, side and rear scuff plates, increased ride height (by 65 mm) and an all-wheel-drive system.
There are two derivatives: this 140 kW/420 N.m D4 turbodiesel and a 187 kW/360 N.m turbopetrol in two spec levels: Momentum and the pricier Inscription. My Osmium Grey example is a D4 Inscription, which isn’t quite as quick as the T5 but is still potent enough and offers more torque a little earlier in the rev range. It should be more economical, too, and although my current average of 9,5 L/100 km is nowhere near the claimed 5,7 L/100 km, I have seen it steadily drop from the 11,0 L/100 km it was displaying on delivery.
The ride is somewhere between an SUV and a wagon, which means you notice the increased ride height both in your elevated view of the road and in the V60 CC’s handling. It’s supple and comfortable, but there’s just a little more body roll in the corners. The Cross Country range is offered only with one transmission option, a six-speed Geartronic torque converter that is proving smooth, if a little slow on kick-down.
My D4 is fitted with the Sport Pack (R17 500) that, among other things, includes bi- xenon headlamps, heated seats, speed-sensitive power-steering, front park assist and gearshift paddles, which do help speed up the changes. It’s also been specced with the R25 000 Advanced Pack that has auto-dimming mirrors, blind-spot aid, lane- departure warning and adaptive cruise control with pedestrian and cyclist detection.
So far, the V60 CC has behaved impeccably and promises to be an ideal complement to my lifestyle. There are a few reservations, however: despite the multimedia infotainment system with a seven-inch colour display screen and an eight-inch TFT crystal driver’s display, the interior looks dated compared with those offered by other premium brands. And, at R573 000, it is up against very decent German compact SUVs.
That said, the V60 CC is an interesting alternative to the swarms of SUVs we see every day. It’s a handsome vehicle, too; the V60 may have been with us for some five years now but, in my view, remains one of the best-looking pieces of automotive design on our roads.
After 1 month
Current mileage: 859
Average fuel consumption: 9,55 L/100 km
We like: looks, raised ride height, AWD ability
We don’t like: dated interior, gruff engine