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Volvo V60 Cross Country D4 diesel (2020) review: 4.0/5

Can Volvo's latest V60 Cross Country make a more compelling case for itself than a conventional estate or SUV?

Neil Briscoe

Words: Neil Briscoe - @neilmbriscoe

Published on: December 7, 2020

Words: Neil Briscoe - @neilmbriscoe

Published on: December 7, 2020

Tech Specs

Model testedVolvo V60 Cross Country D4 AWD
Pricing€61,981 as tested; V60 starts at €43,450
Engine2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmissioneight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Body stylefive-door, five-seat estate
CO2 emissions157g/km
Motor tax€280 per annum (from 2021)
Combined economy47.8mpg (5.9 litres/100km)
Top speed180km/h (limited)
0-100km/h8.2 seconds
Power190hp at 4,250rpm
Torque400Nm at 1,750rpm
Boot space529-1,441 litres
SafetyEuro NCAP rating for Volvo V60

What are you driving?

That's actually a good question because while this Volvo wears the badge of the entirely conventional V60 estate, it also comes with the suffix of Cross Country, which means it's half-way (so to speak) to being an SUV. It's a little taller than the usual V60 estate, adding an extra 60mm of fresh air under the floor, and it has the usual black plastic bits stuck onto the bottom of the doors, and the edges of the wheelarches to signify it as being a bit more rough-and-tumble than your usual family wagon. Around the back, you'll find the Cross Country name embossed into the black plastic that slots beneath the tailgate.

Mind you, it can actually be a bit tricky to tell, from a distance, that this V60 is a Cross Country model. A ride height increase of 60mm sounds like a lot, but it's really subtle enough, and the 'Osmium Grey' paintwork of our test car meant that the plastic add-ons kind of blended in a bit. If you were hoping that your neighbours would notice the outdoorsy nature of your new Volvo, you might want to go for a slightly brighter colour.

Mind you, there's absolutely nothing wrong with the way the V60 looks - from the 'Thor's Hammer' headlights to the back of the tailgate, this is - pretty much without question - the best-looking mid-size estate car out there. Our test version came with the D4 190hp turbodiesel engine (how unfashionable) with all four wheels driven via an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

Options fitted to this one include a panoramic glass roof, an automated parking system and an excellent Harmon/Kardon stereo.

Name its best bits

By coincidence, this V60 Cross Country was the car we picked up just as Lockdown II: The Lockdown Returns kicked in, and so this ended up being something close to a long-term test. Which is something that actually shows the Volvo off the best, as it's one of those cars that just slots so effortless and efficiently into your life that you start to wonder how you ever lived without one. A BMW 3 Series Touring will offer you a more thrilling cross-country drive, but as a thing to drive every day, as a car into which to load your kids and your dog, and anything else you need to carry, the V60 Cross Country really does take some beating.

The best bit, by far, is the V60's interior. Although the shapes and styling are familiar to anyone who's sat in a Volvo XC90 or S90 in the past eight years, and even though the 'Sensus' infotainment system is starting to show some grey hairs, the V60's cabin is one of our favourite automotive interiors. It's a cliché to say that Volvo makes great seats, but it's a cliché for a reason - even after several hours behind the wheel on long journeys, twinges and aches are notable by their absence, and the heated seats and steering wheel really come into their own at this time of year.

So too does the four-wheel drive. Once winter sets in, in Ireland, and once the roads start to gather their annual coating of mud, dirt, cow poop and leaf mulch, it is extraordinarily reassuring to have that extra traction and sure-footedness that comes from the Cross Country's all-wheel drive.

The V60 is also an exceptionally smooth and relaxing car to drive, too. The ride quality is relaxed, without being floppy. The steering, although not the most communicative, is well-weighted and faithful. The overall balance is tilted towards comfort, but the V60 doesn't feel out of its depth on a briskly driven country road.

It's also practical, of course, with lots of rear legroom and headroom and a very decent boot - although that does come with the caveat that tall, bulky loads can be trickier to load up than you might expect.

Oh, and of course it's safe, with all manner of automated braking and emergency steering systems, and the excellent Pilot Assist, which helps you keep to the speed limit, and your lane, when on long motorway runs.

Anything that bugs you?

It feels unfashionable, suddenly, to be driving a diesel engined car around, but the V60's D4 four-cylinder doesn't do itself any favours by being rather noisy and grumbly, and a touch slow. Well, maybe slow is not quite fair, but it's certainly more languid than you might expect with 400Nm of torque on tap. It's also a touch thirsty - we failed to get anywhere near Volvo's official fuel economy figure.

Other than that, the only nagging doubt we have about the V60 Cross Country is that you could have all of its high-points in the standard V60 estate for rather less money than the €60,000+ Volvo's asking for this one, inclusive of options.

And why have you given it this rating?

Generally speaking, that standard Volvo V60 is probably where your money would be better spent - all of the looks, all of the wonderful cabin, for less cash than you'd need to upgrade to the Cross Country. However, if you live in the countryside, and regularly have to deal with poorly-surfaced or otherwise slippery roads, or figure you need something with all-corner grip to deal with harsh winters, then the V60 Cross Country makes a very compelling case for itself, arguably even more so than Volvo's own XC60 SUV.

What do the rest of the team think?

At the time of writing, the Volvo V60 Cross Country is offered for sale in Ireland in a single specification. And actually, it's different to the car featured here, as it's now called a 'B4' and it puts out a rather less impressive 157hp. Still, performance is not why you buy this car; you buy it because you love the oh-so-Scandinavian, estate-car-on-stilts appearance, its usefully sized and luxuriously appointed cabin and the way it tackles any journey on any surface with aplomb. It's not cheap, but there's no doubt it'd be a satisfying car to own.

Shane O' Donoghue - Editor

The practical layout of the V60 Cross Country and the surefooted nature of its all-wheel drive transmission make it easily a match for any modern SUV. Its diesel engine isn't the most refined, but it pulls well, and is capable of relatively decent economy. Where the Volvo stands out is in its overall comfort, thanks to fantastic seats and a compliant suspension setup that help to make long journeys seem to melt away. A great long-distance tourer.

Dave Humphreys - Road Test Editor



Alternatives

Car Reviews | Audi Q5 2.0 TDI quattro (2018) | CompleteCar.ie
Audi Q5 vs. Volvo V60 Cross Country D4 diesel (2020): Audi does sell the Cross Country-like A4 allroad, but arguably the Q5 is a sharper rival to the V60. It's handsome and lovely inside, but not quite as nice to drive as the Volvo.

Car Reviews | BMW 330d xDrive Touring | CompleteCar.ie
BMW 3 Series Touring vs. Volvo V60 Cross Country D4 diesel (2020): certainly the best-to-drive mid-size estate, and the BMW 3 Series Touring is practical too. Plus you can have it with four-wheel drive.
Car Reviews | Volkswagen Passat Alltrack | CompleteCar.ie
Volkswagen Passat vs. Volvo V60 Cross Country D4 diesel (2020): arguably as handsome as the Volvo, and hugely spacious inside. Shame that the Alltrack version, with extra ride height and four-wheel drive, isn't available anymore.

Tech Specs

Model testedVolvo V60 Cross Country D4 AWD
Pricing€61,981 as tested; V60 starts at €43,450
Engine2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmissioneight-speed automatic, four-wheel drive
Body stylefive-door, five-seat estate
CO2 emissions157g/km
Motor tax€280 per annum (from 2021)
Combined economy47.8mpg (5.9 litres/100km)
Top speed180km/h (limited)
0-100km/h8.2 seconds
Power190hp at 4,250rpm
Torque400Nm at 1,750rpm
Boot space529-1,441 litres
SafetyEuro NCAP rating for Volvo V60