2018 Volvo V60 Cross Country First Test: Old Reliable


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Yes, we know Volvo has a brand-spanking-new 2019 V60 wagon in the wings, and we expect there will also be a Cross Country version with extra ground clearance. And we are heartened by the prospects of a 2019 V60 Cross Country, if our experience with the outgoing 2018 V60 Cross Country is any indication.

It is a bit like comparing apples and oranges, though, because the new model will ride on Volvo’s new Scalable Platform Architecture, and we have loved what SPA does for the current XC90, S90, V90, and XC60. But we felt it was still worthwhile to spend some time in the outgoing V60 on the old EUCD platform, which it shared with Ford, for more insight into what makes Volvo tick.

Volvo’s Cross Country lineup was designed for a Scandinavian lifestyle where ground clearance and traction are often called upon by the families that use these vehicles. In the 2018 V60 Cross Country, the extra 2.6 inches of ground clearance and the Haldex all-wheel-drive system proved themselves as we climbed some off-road hills with deep snow and explored other little-traveled terrain with complete confidence the Volvo would take it all in stride—and it did.

Like all Volvos today, our wagon has a 2.0-liter direct-injection inline-four. Being a T5, the V60 Cross Country is turbocharged, generating 240 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. Our testing showed it can go 0–60 mph in 6.7 seconds and complete the quarter mile in 15.2 seconds at 89.8 mph. Not bad. The new 2018 XC60 T5—which weighs 4,100 pounds versus the V60 Cross Country’s 3,979 pounds—takes 7.3 seconds to hit 60 mph from standstill and runs the quarter mile in 15.5 seconds at 86.1 mph.

The engine works well with the eight-speed transmission, which did not huff and puff or hunt for gears even when we drove the Volvo at high altitudes. Our problem is that we have driven this engine–transmission combo in the new vehicles on the new architecture, and by comparison, stuffing the engine into this older model made it feel less refined.

Road test editor Chris Walton described a plodding feeling as he put the heavy chassis through our figure-eight course, and associate road test editor Erick Ayapana noted a “long and squishy brake feel, like stepping into a marshmallow.” With a MacPherson front strut and rear multilink suspension, the 2018 V60 Cross Country’s ride was rougher than we would like on uneven surfaces.

Fuel economy is a bit of an eye-popper. The EPA lists it as 22/30/25 in city/highway/combined, but our Real MPG came in at a distressing 15.4 mpg in city driving, but the car exceeded the highway promise at 32.8 mpg for a combined 20.2 mpg. The 110-pound-lighter 2018 Subaru Outback 3.6R got 19.6/27.9/22.6 mpg, and the new 2018 Buick Regal TourX wagon got 18.2/32.3/22.6 mpg in our testing.

A 2017 V60 Cross Country’s interior is shown below

Inside the 2018 V60 Cross Country are visual cues that the Volvo is an aging vehicle without a new electrical architecture to support the latest in autonomous driving nannies, infotainment, and other connectivity features. Every time we looked at the 7.0-inch infotainment screen, dated climate controls in the shape of a seat, and the plastic keypad in the center console to place a phone call, we were reminded this was from the old Volvo stable. We miss the 9.3-inch touchscreen that’s the centerpiece of new Volvos.

“The interior is trying hard to look like it’s younger than it is, but it’s obvious some high-resolution digital displays have been shoehorned into holes designed for yesterday’s market,” associate editor Scott Evans said. “Still, it remains a unique and compelling design and feels rich despite its age.”

The wagon is inviting, with its rich saddle leather and extremely comfortable seats—features editor Christian Seabaugh said he’d put them in his living room. But the wagon lacks the stunning, Zen-like interiors of the new batch of Volvos that are warm and airy, with soft-pore woods and simple accents.

“Even a few years ago, I could dismiss the S60/V60’s outdated bits as good enough to still be competitive, but today, the market has just moved too far ahead,” Evans said. “It’s too bad, because it’s still a fundamentally good car. It’s time, though, for the forthcoming successor.”

On a trek across the U.S. we found the V60 Cross Country does swallow a fair amount of gear, but packaging could be better. Front-seat passengers are comfortable, but the back seat is cramped. Other vehicles with similar footprints offer more overall interior space, notably the Outback.

The base price for our test vehicle is $42,845, but our Platinum-trimmed T5 came to $50,265. The $3,850 Platinum package includes the Harman Kardon sound system (new Volvos offer Bowers & Wilkins), keyless entry and drive, a rearview camera, adaptive cruise control with lane assist, collision warning with full auto brake, pedestrian detection, a lane keeping aid, active high-beams, and a driver alert control. A $1,300 climate package added heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, and a heated windshield wiper nozzle—all most welcome on the frigidly cold portions of our trek. The blind-spot monitoring package adds cross-traffic alert, front park assist, and lane change merge aid for $925.

Although the Volvo has an impressive list of safety features, the older electronic architecture does not allow for the latest advanced safety technologies, including the most advanced version of Pilot Assist. The technology is a step along the road to autonomous driving with its ability to steer, accelerate, and brake as it reads the vehicle’s surroundings. Our test Volvo did have lane keeping assist, which kept us on the straight and narrow over more than 2,000 miles, much of it straight highway driving across the broad states of Nebraska and Wyoming.

“The most shocking thing to me about the V60 CC is how far Volvo has come in a short amount of time,” Seabaugh said. “They went from making functional vehicles like the V60 CC to making proper luxury do-it-all cars like the new V90 CC in a single generation. Given the roll Volvo has been on lately, I can’t wait to see what it has in store for the next V60.”

2018 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 AWD (Platinum)
BASE PRICE $42,845
PRICE AS TESTED $50,265
VEHICLE LAYOUT Front-engine, AWD, 5-pass, 4-door wagon
ENGINE 2.0L/240-hp/258-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4
TRANSMISSION 8-speed automatic
CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST) 3,979 lb (59/41%)
WHEELBASE 109.2 in
LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT 182.6 x 71.8 x 60.8 in
0-60 MPH 6.7 sec
QUARTER MILE 15.2 sec @ 89.8 mph
BRAKING, 60-0 MPH 120 ft
LATERAL ACCELERATION 0.85 g (avg)
MT FIGURE EIGHT 27.2 sec @ 0.62 g (avg)
REAL MPG, CITY/HWY/COMB 15.4/32.8/20.2 mpg
EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON 22/30/25 mpg
ENERGY CONS, CITY/HWY 153/112 kW-hrs/100 miles
CO2 EMISSIONS, COMB 0.78 lb/mile


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