By on November 5, 2014

Volvo V60 Cross Country

Faced with dismal sales of the Volvo V60, the Swedish auto maker has decided to adopt a time-tested strategy for boosting sales of slow-selling station wagons: turning it into a pseudo-crossover.

Enter the 2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country. The V60 is sure to bring three things to the party

  1. All-wheel drive and a turbocharged 5-cylinder engine
  2. A minimally raised ride height and the most minor applications of dreaded “cladding”
  3. A cohort of malcontent enthusiasts and wagon fanboys ready to denounce it for betraying the Holy Crusade of Wagondom.

My own estimation of the V60 is that it’s a very nice car, but not a great station wagon, in the traditional sense of the word. If you want that, you ought to take a look at an XC70, which unfortunately, does not pass the Wahabbi-esque purity tests of the wagon jihadis (namely. no “cladding” and a marginally lower ride height, lest they be infected with the common-stock stench of crossover-dom). The fact that the XC70 soundly beats the V60 in terms of cargo and people carrying capacity is irrelevant. The wide world of wagons in America is about status signalling and ideological superiority, not the cold realities of dimensions and consumer tastes.

But I’m happy that Volvo is bringing out this model. There is no way that it won’t raise sales of the entire V60 range, which means that Volvo will make more money. And that might mean we get something like the V40 in the future. And that’s the compact wagon that I’ve been waiting for…

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76 Comments on “Can’t Sell Your Wagon? Call It A Crossover...”


  • avatar
    PrincipalDan

    It’s a wagon kids. Move on.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Of course logically this would be the XC60, as the “Cross Country” wording died in in 06, with 07 seeing the more attractive new version just labeled as XC70.

    BUT OH WAIT, they already used that on a blocky crossover, before they realized the V60 wasn’t anything anybody wanted (being too small, less capacious, and more expensive than the imminently better, more usable XC70). So here we are with this nonsense “Cross Country.”

    The XC60 should have been the XC80, then they’d have a complete XC60/70/80/90.

    /end Volvo irritation rant.

    • 0 avatar
      CH1

      The V60 outsells the XC70 in the USA. More importantly, the V60 is Volvo’s third highest volume product, globally – outselling the XC70 more than 2:1.

      The notion that the V60 Cross Country exists because the V60 isn’t selling well is an uninformed USA-centric view. The V60CC is expected to be a low volume product in the USA, and wouldn’t exist anywhere if it were all or mostly about US sales. Furthermore, the V60 is selling at or a little above Volvo’s initial expectations in the USA.

      To emphasize the point even more, Volvo’s second highest volume product, the V40, isn’t sold in the USA in any form, yet the V40 Cross Country has been available abroad for nearly two years.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Wait, wasn’t this the model we previously declared a hatchback?

  • avatar

    Well, who can blame them. Frankly, this probably would have made more sense than bringing over the V60.

    Whatever keeps Volvo alive is a good thing.

  • avatar
    natrat

    too long, too rectangular. I think people buy the cuvs cuz they don’t look so awkward

  • avatar
    Swedish

    Exactly what the Mercedes GLA is – a wagon jacked up on long springs and over sized wheels. The Mercedes GLA reminds me of a Ford Escort Wagon from the 1990s someone put a 5K paint job on and shoved 20 inch wheels underneath.

    The Volvo V60CC is a more premium offer; bigger, way batter looking, arguably safer and a better value.

  • avatar
    Alfisti

    The issue with the V60, apart from usual absurd Volvo pricing, is that it’s an in between size. I drive an 08 9-3 combi and it’s a near perfect compromise of utility and looks. I have literally lost count of the number of Home Depot, Ikea and furniture store runs I have done where items have fit int eh vehicle by less than an inch.

    My point? Any smaller and a wagon is not really fit for duty as the primary family hauler.

    So if you go smaller, you have to GO SMALLER. As in X1, EX37 and the raft of new comers like the NX, lincoln whatever and the Q3. This provides practical service for the families second vehicle. In my case an X1 for the missus where she can throw her files for work in the boot easily.

    The Volvo is half pregnant. Oh, and about 10K too expensive.

    • 0 avatar
      Swedish

      How is the pricing absurd? This come standard with City Safety autonomous braking, top notch safety credentials and this 5 cylinder powertrain combo is proven. Price a Mercedes GLA, GLK with similar options that come standard on a V60CC, V60 or even XC60 and then come talk to me about absurd pricing.

  • avatar
    eggsalad

    Bring back the 245!!

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      +one hundred trillion

    • 0 avatar
      KixStart

      Yeah, but let Toyota manufacture it.

      • 0 avatar
        7402

        I’m pretty sure at least some 240s had Toyota-sourced transmissions.

        • 0 avatar
          krhodes1

          Every 240 with a 4spd automatic has an Aisin-Warner transmission, as do all 9x0s AFAIK. 740s were split between AW and ZF for some reason in the first years of their production. I believe the old 3spd automatic was a Borg-Warner, but could have been an AW in later years of the 3spd.

          The company was founded as a joint venture between Aisin-Seiki and Borg-Warner. That lasted from ’69-’87. I have no idea what if any ownership relationship there is or was between AW and Toyota. Toyota also uses AW transmissions extensively.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    Profile looks almost exactly like the Subbie Crosstrex thing. I won’t be buying either, but if given the choice its the Subbie.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      This is two classes above the Crosstrek – pretty much a luxified Outback competitor, square on the nose. The pricing of this will begin right about where the Outback 3.6R tops out.

      I’d take the Outback because I want an AWD system that’s more than a bad joke. I do love me some Volvo seats, but we need one vehicle in the family with meaningful AWD.

  • avatar
    sirwired

    I don’t think the V60 is failing to sell because it’s a “wagon”, it’s failing to sell because it manages to have less cargo room than a Honda fit while being a larger package.

    A car with wagon styling but without wagon practicality is not a winning recipe.

  • avatar
    STRATOS

    The biggest reason Volvo metal doesn’t move is their pricing policy.People want a high status brand for their high status price.Regardless of label on specific model.I would have thought with the new Chinese owners they would be under priced, not the opposite.

    • 0 avatar
      Alfisti

      THIS.

      I am your Volvo buyer. I want a niceish car but don’t like looking flash. Safety matters with a child and maybe a second if we could just stay awake. Approaching middle age, expanding waistline, thinning hair. I drive a Saab FFS, i mean really i am square in Volvo’s gun sights but for the price of an XC60 i can buy a Q5 … why on earth am I buying an XC60 when i can get a Q5?

      Insanity. I have been hassling them on twitter about this and to their credit they reply but they cannot keep denying the problem exists.

    • 0 avatar
      jefmad

      I like Volvo, and would like to buy one of their cars to help them survive. What is stopping me is their pricing. When I priced a V60 and an XC60 out the first thing I thought was that there must be significant cash on the hood, they can’t actually think the cars will sell for those dollars. Unfortunately I was wrong, Volvo does expect Audi and BMW money for their cars.

  • avatar
    stuki

    The XC70 suffers from having the world’s worst automatic and no manual availability. And from using springs and dampeners originally designed for a 50cc scooter. The V70 is soft, but the bump stops save it before you get too seasick. While the xc rides like a Raptor on racing slicks with a drunk transmission.

    • 0 avatar
      SlowMyke

      While I can’t argue from personal experience most of your points, no vehicle today suffers from a lack of a manual transmission, save for a few select models. None of those models are volvos. While the enthusiast crowd, most everyone here, loves driving dynamics and involvement, the vast majority of the market couldn’t tell the difference between a Taurus SHO and an M3 in terms of driving characteristics. They can tell “fast” and that’s about it. Volvo has a small wagon following which is mostly alienated when you shoot for style over practicality, but the biggest part of their problem is pricing. Good grief are they expensive. I’d have one myself if not for the pricing. I have an irrational love for volvo and actually like the v60. I don’t need a racecar and I’d consider it more a stylized sedan or hatchback than wagon so it wouldn’t bother me that it’s not the most practical.

    • 0 avatar
      sportyaccordy

      Bad automatics don’t push people into manuals.

      Derek should do a series to take the wind out of all these B&B myths. It’s growing tiring reading the same car comment board memes over and over.

    • 0 avatar
      salhany

      I have no idea what you mean by this comment. I own a 2010 XC70 T6, have run up 35000 miles on it in less than 18 months. I’ve had no issues with my transmission, it works just like any other automatic. As for the suspension, I initially found it too soft, but the $200 addition of an IPD rear sway bar has proved wonders in calming down the ride and making it feel like a proper European car.

      It’s a really, really nice car, or at least mine is. It’s a shame no one else seems to know about them or care.

      Disclaimer: I bought mine used. New it listed for $44K, which is absurd.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        That’s kinda the point we made above.

      • 0 avatar
        stuki

        I test drove one in hilly San Francisco. I’m pretty sure I can remember moments when the tranny didn’t know whether to be in 3rd or 6th, gave up and just settled on 1st instead. After spending enough time thinking about it, to roll backwards halfway down the hill I was on….

        But if you can get it to drive well, and has a quick fix for the roll, it’s one heck of a car. The European V70 (with a manual) is only a layer of brown paint and a diesel engine away from being as good as a wagon can realistically get. I just couldn’t get over how much composed the XC60 drove, than the more practically laid out and less brittle 70.

  • avatar
    DC Bruce

    Perhaps for people your age, Derek, wagons are an affectation, maybe even hipsters. But for those of us who remember the real wagons from pre-SUV, pre-minivan days, the wagon has real virtues (regardless of the color of its paint, the type of transmission or whether its engine burns diesel oil or gasoline).

    First, the wagon has a lower overall frontal area than your typical SUV. This usually leads to better fuel economy. Secondly, a classic wagon has a substantial amount of rear overhang. This translates into a lot of cubic inches, which are more useful because they’re less vertical and more horizontal. The result: you can actually carry more stuff.

    • 0 avatar
      redav

      I remember real wagons from pre-SUV, pre-minivan days. I thought they were ugly lardasses. And I don’t dislike wagons–they just are genuinely uncool.

      Don’t give me the frontal area non-sense. Back in the pre-minivan days, frontal area wasn’t a topic of discussion. And SUVs of equal volume are more versatile because of taller compartment heights. Accept it. SUVs won, and the general buying public doesn’t care about what you care about.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    Derek Kreindler sneers: “The wide world of wagons in America is about status signalling and ideological superiority, not the cold realities of dimensions and consumer tastes.”

    Say what?

    My wife drives a 2003 BMW 525iT (that’s the E39 chassis, for those keeping track), a wagon that BMW alas no longer sees fit to offer in the US. She likes it because it’s a quality car that has the extra carrying capacity a sedan lacks, while being spared an SUV’s multiplicity of downsides. These last include the fuel penalty from Dutch barn aerodynamics, tippy handling, excessive weight, and plenty more.

    FWIW in 2013 we rented a Volvo V60 (turbo-diesel automatic) for a week of driving around Switzerland and France. Not a bad vehicle for the purpose in that it was comfortable, swallowed our luggage handily, had decent performance in the mountains and hardly ever needed to be refilled with $9/gallon fuel.

  • avatar
    NeilM

    So WTF is wrong with the comments section here? I post something and it vanishes into the aether. If I repost I get a WordPress error that I’ve already posed that.

    Edit: But of course the above post worked just fine. Here’s what I tried to post earlier:

    Derek Kreindler sneers: “The wide world of wagons in America is about status signalling and ideological superiority, not the cold realities of dimensions and consumer tastes.”

    Say what?

    My wife drives a 2003 BMW 525iT (that’s the E39 chassis, for those keeping track), a wagon that BMW alas no longer sees fit to offer in the US. She likes it because it’s a quality car that has the extra carrying capacity a sedan lacks, while being spared an SUV’s multiplicity of downsides. These last include the fuel penalty from Dutch barn aerodynamics, tippy handling, excessive weight, and plenty more.

    FWIW in 2013 we rented a Volvo V60 (turbo-diesel automatic) for a week of driving around Switzerland and France. Not a bad vehicle for the purpose in that it was comfortable, swallowed our luggage handily, had decent performance in the mountains and hardly ever needed to be refilled with $9/gallon fuel.

  • avatar

    So the V60 Cross Country versus the XC60 is sort of like the Audi Allroad versus the Q5…although I don’t think (especially given the character of the original) that the Allroad ever pretended to be a “crossover” in today’s sense.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    Hang on, I’ve thought of something:

    The V60 in high specification costs the same as the XC70 in high specification. In theory this V60 Cross Country will be -some- thousands more expensive than the regular V60, because of the extra trim and AWD, etc.

    So that means it’s going to cost MORE than the XC70? I’m gonna go to a Volvo dealer (wherever that is) and have them try and justify this to me once it happens. I’m sure I’ll be the only person on the lot.

  • avatar
    KixStart

    Isn’t this the story of the Chevy Uplander?

    “Can’t sell your minivan? Call it a crossover!”

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    More or less Kix, although I believe there was a whole new platform designed around that concept.

  • avatar
    Ihatejalops

    Whoa, wait a minute here. I keep hearing from the a jalopnik crowd that wagons are best sellers! That if someone made it, people would buy it in droves. Are you telling me that the guys at jalopnik are wrong? That they wouldn’t know the car business if it hit them in the face? I can’t believe it! Ugh.

    • 0 avatar
      ajla

      Doug DeMuro is weaponized terribleness.

      • 0 avatar
        sportyaccordy

        Are you sure? You do know he drives a FERRARI, don’t you?

        You don’t like to hear him drone on and on about getting gas… in his FERRARI? What about that time he let a female friend drive… his FERRARI? How about the time he drove around Manhattan… IN HIS FERRARI!!!!…. and made it out unscathed? Can you imagine that? Someone drove their car in Manhattan… sorry, their FERRARI…. and NOTHING HAPPENED! Made for GREAT reading!

        How about his brilliant insights on stuff like how aftermarket parts don’t help resale? Or how cars are fine past 100,000 miles (even though the average age of a car on the road in the US is 11 years old)? Or how buying an old cheap luxury car is a bad idea?

        How could you not enjoy the hyperbole and painfully obvious, low level observations of what seems like a well spoken 12 year old who just signed up for his first internet comment board account? Doug DeMuro may very well be the greatest automotive journalist of this generation. His ability to take the exciting or insightful and turn it into the mundane and grating is unparalleled. Did I mention he drives a FERRARI?

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Maybe he could have mentioned he was driving to return a pair of pants and then was thrown from the car making a turn; thus ruining the very pants he sought to return.

  • avatar
    kosmo

    Not a bad car (hatchback, let’s be real), but I think an XC60 trumps it in all regards with the addition of a set of springs to lower it 1.25 inches (still leaving around 7 inches of ground clearance!).

    When I bought my XC60 R-Design, I kept trying to like it less than the comparable X3, but after 3 long back to back test drives, I had to admit that I liked it more.

    But the pricing was stupid. Fast forward 4 weeks, and the optioned up unit I test drove was suddenly being offered at a bit more than $5k off sticker, and Volvo had some gig going where if financed at 1.9%, they would make the first $1,500 in payments. Sold, though I’ll probably lose all that at resale, compared to an X3.

    SportyAccordy’s point far above reminds me of a “marketing maxim” from an old Max Barry book called Syrup: If your product fails to sell in the desired quantities, resist the urge to lower the price, instead raising the price, imbuing the product with cachet. Watch sales skyrocket.”

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Nice, evidently I can’t post figures.

      Yup, can’t post the figures. Let this to be a lesson to those in IT, constantly subscribing to product updates is foolish as I suspect the numerous changes WordPress did from 1.5 onward is behind this problem. You should always be at least one version behind and only test newer versioned software in a controlled environment BEFORE you release it to production. Chrome feels like its near v6789, and FF v334. Stupid stupid stupid. /rant

      @kosmo

      My initial thoughts were the R-Design package would bump it a bit and it seems with lower mileage the MY12 R-Design beats out the MY12 X3 3.5i. However with higher miles (>50) the Volvo loses out to the BMW.

  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    My initial thoughts were the R-Design package would bump it a bit and it seems with lower mileage the R-Design beats out the X3 3.5i. However with higher miles (>50) the Volvo loses out to the BMW.

    MY12 Volvo XC60 AWD 3.0L R-Design

    03/08/13 DFW Lease $35,000 31,539 Avg RED 6GT A No
    07/11/14 PA Regular $26,000 57,696 Avg WHITE 6GT P No

    MY12 Volvo XC60 AWD 3.0L R-Design Platinum

    11/08/12 PA Lease $38,000 6,739 Avg RED 6GT A No
    02/15/13 DFW Lease $38,500 312 Avg RED 6GT A No
    03/22/13 FT LAUD Regular $37,700 9,574 Avg BLACK 6GT A No
    06/20/13 PA Lease $40,000 4,897 Avg GREY 6GT A No
    06/28/13 PA Regular $34,250 28,067 Avg BLACK 6GT P No
    11/01/13 PA Regular $25,500 52,433 Avg GREY 6GT P No
    07/24/14 PA Lease $32,400 9,592 Avg RED 6GT P No
    09/24/14 NASHVILL Regular $27,000 33,099 Avg BLU GRAY 6GT A No
    09/24/14 NASHVILL Regular $22,600 60,522 Avg RED 6GT A No

    MY12 Volvo XC60 AWD 3.0L R-Design Premier

    02/12/13 OHIO Regular $34,600 10,792 Avg BLACK 6GT A No
    07/09/13 OHIO Lease $32,600 23,862 Avg BLACK 6GT A No
    07/18/13 PA Lease $35,250 5,866 Avg BLACK 6GT P No
    07/18/13 DARLNTON Regular $31,200 21,031 Avg WHITE 6GT A No
    04/15/14 DENVER Lease $24,700 43,686 Avg BLUE 6GT A No
    06/12/14 PA Lease $28,400 34,078 Avg WHITE 6GT P No
    08/06/14 CEN FLA Regular $25,800 36,620 Avg WHITE 6GT A No

    MY12 Volvo XC60 AWD 3.0L

    10/08/14 DENVER Regular $27,100 28,195 Avg BROWN 6GT A Yes
    10/10/14 PA Regular $28,100 26,496 Above COS WHIT 6GT P Yes
    10/10/14 PA Regular $26,000 29,868 Below BLK SAPH 6GT Yes
    10/16/14 PA Regular $26,500 33,431 Avg BLACK 6GT Yes
    10/29/14 NASHVILL Lease $27,800 26,622 Above BLUE 6GT A Yes
    10/30/14 PA Regular $28,000 29,774 Above WHITE 6GT P Yes
    10/30/14 PA Regular $26,250 22,092 Avg BLUE 6GT P Yes
    11/04/14 ST LOUIS Regular $26,800 23,657 Avg BLACK 6GT A Yes

    MY12 BMW X3 35i

    10/07/14 OHIO Lease $32,250 20,732 Above SPARKLIN 6GT A Yes
    10/07/14 OHIO Lease $27,000 52,746 Avg CARBON B 6GT A Yes
    10/09/14 PHOENIX Regular $28,000 21,338 Avg BLUE 6GT A No
    10/16/14 PA Lease $27,500 51,649 Avg BLKSAPPH 6GT P Yes
    10/16/14 PA Lease $26,000 51,942 Avg VERMILIO 6GT P Yes
    10/22/14 NJ Factory $29,250 32,781 Avg SPACEGRY 6GT A Yes
    10/27/14 RIVRSIDE Lease $29,000 48,660 Avg TITANIUM 6GT A Yes
    10/30/14 PA Regular $30,500 44,995 Avg BLACK 6GT P Yes
    10/30/14 PA Regular $24,750 54,697 Below SILVER 6GT Yes
    11/04/14 RIVRSIDE Regular $31,250 26,155 Above SILVER 6GT A Yes

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