2020 Volvo V60 T5 AWD Cross Country Review

Making the case to keep wagons alive


Amos Kwon, Editor-In-Chief



Positives: Silky exterior design with a touch of sportiness, beautiful interior beats the Audi A4 Allroad, premium materials abound, solid safety features, fun to drive, comfortable ride.
Negatives: Pricey when adding options, infotainment lag is annoying, steering could use more effort.
Bottom Line: The V60 Cross Country hits all the right marks. It's decently quick, smooth over the rough stuff, stunning inside and out, as well as remarkably safe.
Wagons are a tough sell, but when you add some ground clearance, Americans pay some attention because they love their high-riding crossovers. The V60 Cross Country addresses some of that with 2.5 more inches of ride height over the V60 wagon on which it's based. Rather than competing with the likes of the Subaru Outback, which is about $12K less in comparable trim and has a larger cargo hold, the V60 CC's only real competition is the Audi A4 allroad, whose starting price is on par with the V60 CC's. We drove the only trim the V60 CC comes in, the T5, with its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine, for a full week to see if this sport-luxury wagon possesses greater appeal than the hordes of compact crossovers out there. Read on for our detailed review.
 

Driving Experience

8.2

 

Who says wagons can't be fun to drive, as well as provide a pleasing ride on virtually all surfaces? The V60 CC manages to do them all well, and it strikes a good compromise between performance and comfort.

Ride Quality: The softened suspension provides good dampening over uneven pavement, gravel roads, and bumps while still allowing a modicum of road feel, unlike much spongier SUVs.

Acceleration: The sprint to 60 mph is done in the mid-six-second range, and that's very good. There's minimal turbo lag, and the V60 CC moves quickly. While it's not as quick as the Audi A4 Allroad, it's more than sufficient for on-ramp pushes. The 2.0-liter turbo four is the only engine available. At times, it sounds rough and unrefined, which is a bit harrowing for this price.

Braking: The brakes were easy to modulate and exhibited no dead spots or lack of progressiveness.

Steering: Steering is on the light side, but it exhibits good precision and on-centeredness.

Handling: Despite its slightly elevated ride height and softer suspension setup, the V60 CC handles well. It feels balanced and provides enough composure to feel fun and engaging.

Technology

8.6

 

We have mixed feelings about the Sensus system, but overall the technology in Volvo cars and crossovers are quite good. They went from very dated systems a few years ago to a truly unique portrait screen and mostly touchscreen operating system with the redesigns. The digital instrument cluster is one of the best around.

Infotainment System: The 9" screen is crisp and handsome. It takes quite a bit of getting used to in terms of swiping left and right for entire main menus, but once you do, it's actually quite simple. We still don't like the preponderance of vehicle functions controlled via touchscreen, but that's the way the industry is headed. If Volvo could fix the initial lag of the system on startup, we'd give it a 9.

Controls: Most controls are operated on screen, which can be frustrating at times. The audio knob and buttons just underneath the screen are large and easy to operate. We don't like the twist ignition knob, the difficulty in using the knurled drive mode selector, or the two pulls/pushes to put the car in drive and reverse.

Styling

9.2

 

It's no secret that we have a thing for wagons, and the V60 CC is easily one of the best-looking (if not THE best) wagons made today. While it's not as attractive as its larger stablemate (the V90 Cross Country), it's got a sportier look thanks to the smaller dimensions and thinner profile. The interior is just like other Volvos--beautiful in just about every way.

Front: Volvo keeps its grilles distinct thanks to a nice scalloped look. The Thor's Hammer headlights with the T-shaped DRLS look great.

Rear: We like the sporty back end of the V60 CC, but that big body-colored slab that prevents the taillights from looking fuller (like the V90's) needs to be slimmed down.

Profile: The V60 CC is nicely proportioned from tip-to-toe, and we like the absence of chrome around the tapering side windows. The plastic fender treatment isn't as overdone as past Cross Countrys, thankfully.

Cabin: Volvo interiors are stunning in every way. High-end materials, a linear dash, great layout, and nicely sculpted seats make for a cabin you never tire of looking at.

Comfort

9

 

Not many carmakers do interiors as well as Volvo, especially when it comes to the front seats. While the V60 might not be huge inside, it actually manages to transport five people in comfort.

Front Seats: The 10-way power adjustable front seats are excellent with good cushioning and bolstering. The optional thigh bolster extensions provide more surface area just where you need it.

Rear Seats: Rear seats are quite comfortable. While the 35.2 inches of rear legroom doesn't allow a 6+ foot person to spread out behind another 6-footer, it's manageable and on par with the Audi A4 allroad.

NVH (noise/vibration/harshness): Aside from the rough engine sounds, the Volvo is quiet and well built.

Visibility: The V60 CC's seating position is excellent, and sightlines are very good. The D-pillars are on the thick side due to the brake lights, but cameras make things much easier.

Climate: The climate system and heated seats in front and back work very well. We had no problem firing things up quickly, and the large vents move huge volumes of air nicely.

Safety

9

 

The V60/V60 CC did very well in crash tests by both entities, and the excellent standard safety features should give owners peace of mind. The systems work remarkably well, and Volvo makes safety a priority. The V60 scores higher than the A4 allroad, too.

IIHS Rating: It's a Top Safety Pick for 2018. It has not been tested for 2020, but the V60 CC is largely unchanged.

NHTSA Rating: The V60 CC has been given five stars by the federal government.

Standard Tech: The standard safety features list is longer than your arm and comes with an excellent adaptive cruise control system that combines with the Pilot Assist Semi-Autonomous Drive System to make commutes and long drives much less tiresome.

Optional Tech: Our tester came with the optional 360 Surround View Camera.

Storage/Cargo

7.9

 

Wagons are great for cargo, despite the fact that they typically don't have the largest boots in the industry. On par with compact crossovers in terms of cargo space, vehicles like the V60 CC have the advantage of a lower load height.

Storage Space: Volvo's interior design makes some minor compromises in terms of small item storage. The sliding top cupholders are great for keeping some things out of sight, while the small front tray is limiting. The armrest and door pockets are medium-sized and good for most daily items.

Cargo Room: The V60 CC has 23.2 cubic feet behind the second row and 50.9 cubes with the seats folded flat. It's a bit smaller than the A4 allroad, but the load floor is wide and flat.

Fuel Economy

7.7

 

The V60 CC is a heavy wagon at over 4,200 pounds, which is a few hundred pounds more than the Audi A4 allroad. That said, it still manages good gas mileage that's the same as the Audi on the highway but a mile shy in the city. Driving in Dynamic mode like we makes it creep down into the teens for local driving.

Observed: 19.2 mpg.

Distance Driven: 136 miles.

Audio

9

 

The $4,000 Bowers & Wilkins premium audio system is a symphony of sound, but it's pricey (and you get nothing else with it). We think the standard 10-speaker system is probably quite good, but it likely won't blow your socks off the way the B&W upgrade does. Still, $4K is a big nut to swallow just for an audio system.



Final Thoughts

We love the V60 CC. For those who want to enjoy driving and still have a modicum of off-road (meaning gravel) capability, it's an excellent choice. It looks and feels premium, and it offers good performance, despite the sometimes noisy and rough turbo four. One bonus is the fact that no one else you know will have one, and Volvo easily manages to avoid the snooty factor like Audis and the granola ethos of the Subaru Outback.
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