By on April 3, 2015

2015.5 Volvo V60 Cross Country Exterior Side-004

Volvo may not have invented the wagon but no company has as much dedication to the practical cargo hauler as the Swedish brand. With the new V60 Cross Country they have expanded to six wagons world-wide (V40, V40 Cross Country, V60, V60 Cross Country, V70 and XC70). Wagon fans sad that Volvo isn’t bringing their smaller boxes to the USA may be relieved to know the V60 Cross Country is not replacing the V60. This means that for the first time in a long time, we have access to three Swedish wagons on our shores.


Volvo is a company normally associated with safety and practicality. They are the comfy penny loafer of the luxury segment if you will. This Volvo is different. Rather than the boxy form-follows-function style we’re used to from Sweden, the V60 is more about style than practicality. The change is most noticeable in the rear where we get a hatch that is raked forward and a greenhouse that plunges and pinches toward the back. e still have a subtle hint of the Volvo “hips”, but the design has been smoothed and simplified since the 1999 S80 that started Volvo’s modern style.

For off-paved-road duty, Volvo jacked up V60’s ride height by 2.6 inches, added some silver trim here and there, swapped out the grille for a honeycomb-themed version and added some black wheel arches. Thus the oddly named V60 Cross Country was born. For reasons I don’t quite understand, the CC gets larger wheels (18-inch) narrower 50-series rubber. This should be your first hint that the CC is more soft-road than off-road focused. As you might expect from a car maker located in the north, the CC can be had with an electric heated windscreen ala Range Rover that speeds ice removal when the snowpocalypse returns. Perhaps it’s my preference towards wagons in general, but I think the the tweaks work on the CC, it retains the crisp style I appreciate on the V60 but adds just enough “rugged” style to differentiate it on the road.

2015.5 Volvo V60 Cross Country Interior.CR2


For those that haven’t shopped for a Volvo wagon in a while, the Swedes continue to shuffle model numbers around. Once upon a time the wagon variant of the S60 was the V70 and the off-road version was the XC70. Today however the V70 and XC70 are based on the S80 wagon. The V50 was once the wagon version of the smaller S40 leaving just V60 available. Sounds logical, right? So an off-road modified V60 would be a XC60. Oops, that already exists. So Volvo dusted off their older “Cross Country” nomenclature, the same trim that ostensibly got shortened to “XC” a while back. Confused yet?

The V60’s is on the small side for this segment and that’s most noticeable in the rear where we have less legroom than you’ll find in the A4 and BMW 3-Series wagons. This is the key reason that Volvo will be bringing their stretched S60 sedan to America next year, sadly there is no word of a matching V60L.  Front seat accommodations are spacious, but still offer a less room than the Germans. One thing Volvo has consistently excelled at however is seat comfort. Front and rear seats are well padded and extremely comfortable. All 2015.5 Volvo models finally ditch the lumbar support knob for a 2-way power variety which is welcome, but not as adjustable as the 4-way competition. In an interesting twist, all CC models get a variant of the S60 and V60’s sport seats which offer exaggerated bolstering on the back and bottom cushions. I like the feel, but if you’re a larger person you may find them a little narrow.

The cargo area is where we see the consequence of Volvo’s sexy side profile. Behind the curvaceous hatch sits half the cargo capacity of an XC60 at just 15.2 cubic feet. With the rear seats folded it expands to 43.5, about half of what you find in the XC70. The cargo space is small enough that even the questionably practical BMW X4 has a little more room in the back. Audi’s allroad slots between the XC70 and V60 Cross Country in overall dimensions and cargo capacity.

2015.5 Volvo Sensus Connect Infotainment Navigation-004


2015.5 doesn’t bring a larger screen or major UI changes to Volvo’s Sensus Connect but it does add a cell modem. The new “Connected” Sensus gives the driver access to online business searches, streaming media without a smartphone, OnStar-like telematics services (Volvo On Call) and access to Wikipedia. The service requires a data subscription to use the full range of services, but wisely Volvo decided to toss in a WiFi chipset so you can share your cell plan with passengers or use a paired smartphone for Sensus’ data connection if you’d rather not have another cell phone bill. Also along for the ride is a smartphone app to let you see if you locked your car, remote start the engine, or honk the horn and flash the lights if you’ve lost your car in the IKEA parking lot.

Volvo’s Sensus system continues to keep up with most of the entries in this segment by adding features to their snappy interface. The system is well laid out, intuitive, and oddly Volvo allows access to essentially everything while the vehicle is in motion. This allows passengers to enter information using the on-dash control-wheel without stopping the car. The driver can use the same knob, or a control wheel on the steering wheel to control system functions. The graphics, maps and voice commands aren’t quite as well done as iDrive and you can’t voice command your media library as you can in an Acura or Lincoln, but it is competitive with A3’s and allroad’s MMI and COMAND in the CLA and GLA.

2015.5 Volvo V60 Cross Country Engine 2.5L 5-Cylinder-002


Volvo’s slick 300HP turbocharged/supercharged engine is sadly incompatible with the V60’s AWD system. (The output to the rear axle is located in a different spot and would require modifications to the chassis.)  As a result, all 2015.5 Volvos with AWD use the company’s trued and true 5 and 6-cylinder engines and older 6-speed automatic. For CC duty, Volvo limits your engine choice to just the 250 HP 2.5L 5-cylinder engine which can crank out up to 295 lb-ft in overboost for a limited time. If you’d like Volvo’s smooth inline-6 turbo, you’ll have to step over to the regular V60 or the XC70. Thankfully Volvo chose to leave the anaemic 3.2L engine out of the V60’s engine compartment.

2015.5 beings new shift logic to the transaxle that significantly reduces shift time (and sacrifices some shift quality) when in “sport” mode. Despite receiving some efficiency tweaks a few years ago, the 2.5L’s fuel economy still lags behind the 3-Series wagon at 23 MPG combined. Sending power to the rear is the latest Haldex AWD system which can send up to 50% of the power to the rear axles at any time, and if wheel slip up front occurs the power transfer can exceed 90%.

2015.5 Volvo V60 Cross Country Exterior 18-inch Wheel


The new programming of the AWD and transmission in sport mode was instantly obvious behind the wheel compared to 2014 S60 T5 AWD I benchmarked back-to-back. The new AWD software  sends noticeably more power to the rear when flogging the CC on winding roads and  transmission shifts are considerably faster and firmer. The change in programming isn’t just about feel, it also took a quarter second off the 0-60 time without an increase in power. The Aisin 6-speed transaxle in Volvo’s product-line has always felt soft compared to the ZF 6-speeds that BMW and Audi used, but this software narrows the gap. The improved bundle scoots to 60 in 6.41 seconds, just under 3/10ths slower than a X4 xDrive28i (that review is coming up soon.)

With the V70 to XC70 transition the engineers softened the suspension, but they took a different path with the CC making this one of the firmer almost-crossover vehicles around. The suspension is more forgiving than the V60 R-Design, but significantly stiffer than the larger XC70 or the Audi allroad. This leads to impressive handling when compared to the allroad, XC70 or even the distant Subaru competition. Something along the lines of a BMW X4 or BMW 328i GT will feel more nimble without a doubt, but they are also significantly more expensive.

2015.5 Volvo V60 Cross Country Exterior

On the surface of things it would seem that the $41,000 V60 Cross Country commands a $4,000 premium over the V60, XC60 or XC70. That sounded logical to me at first, since BMW charges roughly the same to make the X3 less practical create the X4 from the X3. However, when you adjust for the standard AWD, 18-inch wheels, navigation, sport seats, LDS gauges, etc the CC actually ends up being slightly less than a comparable V60 and $1,500 less than the XC70 3.2. (Speaking of the XC70 and the 3.2, Volvo’s big wagon has a confusing engine line-up. Opt for FWD and you get their sweet four-cylinder turbo and new 8-speed auto. Get the middle-trim and you’re saddled with a wheezy naturally aspirated 3.2L engine, but pony up a little extra and you can get the same BMW-fighting twin-scroll turbo 3.0L engine as the V60 R-Design.)

Audi’s allroad is several thousand dollars more than the CC when similarly equipped and is even a slight premium over the XC70 despite being smaller. The rugged Audi handles well, but the Volvo weighs several hundred pounds less and that more than compensates for the less advantageous weight balance in the corners. While the BMW X4 and 3-Series GT may deliver superior handling, they also come with a superior price tag. A comparable X4 xDrive28i will set you back at least $8,000 more.

2015.5 Volvo V60 Cross Country Exterior-001

The Audi allroad and the Volvo XC70 are made for rural living with a Euro twist. The soft suspensions soak up poor pavement in the boonies, the AWD systems are sure-footed on dirt roads and you won’t bruise your kidneys if you decide to drive off the beaten path to check on your trendy alpaca herd. The V60 Cross Country has a different mission in mind. Like the X4 and 3-Series GT, this Volvo was made for folks that live down a short gravel road but drive on high-speed winding mountain roads for most of their commute. In other words, my demographic exactly.

Trouble is, as much fun as the Cross Country was to drive, and how perfectly it seemed tailored to my demographic, the XC60 or the XC70 make considerably more sense. Part of that has to do with the V60’s position as a “styling exercise” than a practical cargo hauler. The XC60 gives up less handling ability than you’d think with twice the cargo capacity and the XC70 gives you more thrust, more luxury, and, again: twice the cargo capacity. The 2015.5 V60 Cross Country is one of the best wagons ever sold in America, but I’d buy a XC70 T6 instead.


  Volvo provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested:

0-30: 2.5 Seconds

0-60: 6.41 Seconds

1/4 Mile:15 Seconds @ 92 MPH

Average Fuel Economy: 22 MPG


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31 Comments on “Review: 2015.5 Volvo V60 Cross Country (with video)...”

  • avatar

    Nice review, Mister Dykes. I was starting to wonder why you’d buy this over a normal V60, but you helped me to understand. The added ground clearance actually could be useful for people who have to drive on gravel or unpaved roads some of the time.

  • avatar

    I have trouble calling a car with less cargo room than a Honda Fit a “wagon”.

    The whole appeal of a station wagon is it’s practicality. Something costing that much and being that large with so little cargo room doesn’t fit that bill.

    • 0 avatar

      I think there might be some discrepancies with how the cargo volume is measured. I think the Fit probably measures from floor to the roof while this measures from the floor to the cargo cover. I can’t confirm, but this was my gut feeling reading the laughably low cargo volume rating on the 3 series wagon when it seems pretty large in reality.

    • 0 avatar

      I think you have to look at it that it’s more practical than the sedan version of the same platform.

  • avatar

    Not happy. Not happy with the smaller rear passenger size and cargo areas. Not happy with the fact the newer engines don’t work. I like these engines.

    Just wondering why I would by this over a BMW3 wagon. Or just get a decent hatch. I mean, really, how bad can a gravel road get????

    Then again, I am one of the few that likes the CX70.

  • avatar

    I like the look of the Golf Alltrack much better but the Chinese are going safer by jacking up the car 3 inches, as opposed to not even an inch for the Golf. Neither will appeal the performance buyer so it’ll be interesting to see which one the granola outdoor set chooses. if its the Golf, maybe we’ll start seeing lower CUVs.

    • 0 avatar

      Pretty sure product decisions are made in Sweden. Sort of like saying “I really like what the Italians did with the Ram Truck”.

    • 0 avatar

      Like it or not, Volvo is now considered a Chinese company. If you forget that you’ll certainly be reminded of it at resale time.

      • 0 avatar

        I don’t disagree: many people now think or have decided that Volvo is completely Chinese. I think that’s a superficial, bumper-sticker level analysis, but I get that people are like that.

        Personally I find VW/Audi’s joined-at-the-hip status with the Chinese leadership and STATE-owned partners more troubling:

        Contrast that with a guy who pulled himself up by the bootstraps (started off selling washing machines) to build a PRIVATELY-owned car company in China, of all places:

        Or don’t contrast it, per usual.

      • 0 avatar
        Alex L. Dykes

        So far all the Geely ownership had meant for Volvo is massive amounts of cash flowing in an unusual direction: out of China and into Sweden for R&D. Resale value hasn’t really changed much since the ownership change and largely resale value follows age of the model so resale value in the S80 is poor because it is old at this point, similar to the XC90’s value. Oddly ALG reports the XC70’s resale value as one of the best in the (small) segment, and the V60 is expected to be fairly average for the luxury segment.

  • avatar

    I actually like the 3.2 Six in my 2012 S80. It is super smooth, gets decent gas mileage and provides more than adequate power. Is it a powerhouse? No but it is hardly anemic.

    • 0 avatar

      No, the 3.2-liter isn’t anemic at all. It’s probably the most solid recent Volvo engine, too. It was at that time the base engine, being a replacement for the old 2.5-liter low-pressure turbo I5.

      • 0 avatar

        The T6 is a more compelling replacement, though.

        It’s also smooth, being a straight six, and *adding AWD* along with it in the 2015 vs 2014 S80 reduced fuel economy by … one mile per gallon, with 25% more horsepower and almost 50% more torque, and that available at lower RPM.

        That’s why the 3.2 is basically gone from the current lineup, I’m sure.

    • 0 avatar

      I like my 3.2 S80 as well. I’ll gladly trade a few g-forces for low maintenance, anvil-like reliability, and real-world MPG that actually lives up to expectations. And besides it’s hardly “anemic”. A little flat at low speed perhaps, especially in a stoplight race with a T6, but plenty swift for real-world highway manoeuvres.

  • avatar

    This is a fantastic car. If you are ok with the limited space.

  • avatar

    Here is another comparison of all the mid-size wagons out there, for all those who wonder why anyone would choose the Volvo over the competition. Curious in this case the V60 won out because of storage.
    Just goes to show you can’t really trust those specs.

    • 0 avatar

      Thanks a lot for sharing that link! Here’s a genuine enthusiast perspective with real testing involved. Good, compressed writing. I liked that. And the best car won, of course.

  • avatar

    ” For reasons I don’t quite understand, the CC gets larger wheels (18-inch) narrower 50-series rubber. This should be your first hint that the CC is more soft-road than off-road focused.”

    Amen; I wish my XC70 had smaller-than-18s. Or room to downsize from the factory ones.

    “So Volvo dusted off their older “Cross Country” nomenclature, the same trim that ostensibly got shortened to “XC” a while back. Confused yet?”

    Yeah, they should have just renamed the XC70 the V70XC and kept the XC prefix for the SUV line; that’s the only real confounder in the naming scheme, and the easiest way to rationalize it.

  • avatar

    I wonder for how long is Volvo going to offer the 5 cylinder engine. It will never be a fuel efficient engine as it is really ancient. The proverbial lipstick on a pig.
    Last I heard, they will phase them out by 2020?

    • 0 avatar

      Maybe you would like to put lipstick on it, but the 5-banger is not a pig in any sense. My ’99 V70 easily gets 30 MPG on the highway, and 24-25 in all short-trip driving (to work, school and errands). There is plenty of power throughout the rev range.
      Volvo durability is legendary as well, up there with the best Toyotas. My humble little wagon has passed 180K on the original starter, alternator, clutch and muffler. The engine doesn’t even need oil between changes. The seats are better than just about anyone’s, as well.
      Hopefully the Chinese won’t ruin a brand with a tradition of sensibility and quality.

  • avatar

    Alex, does the XC60 have extendable sun visors?

  • avatar
    Calico Jack

    After all the nimrods going “Oh, no one will buy Chinese” and “Volvo’s not going to be able to say in the North American market for more than another year or two” it’s nice to see Volvo continuing to put out good product. In the end, long-term success or failure is all about good product…and that’s what Volvo makes. Not perfect, but quite good. Get over it, Volvo haters.

    • 0 avatar

      Hey Calico, “Volvo haters”? What makes you say that? Did you own any Volvo? And I am not talking about the 3 years lease. You know, over 60,000 miles.

      • 0 avatar
        Calico Jack

        To my mind, the general automotive community didn’t show much faith in or much respect for Volvo when they were bought by the Chinese recently. Some people said, “Well, Volvo’s core buyers will be too socially liberal to buy a Chinese car what with China’s human rights record. They’ll all buy Subaru instead.” And some people went into long, detailed analyses about how many units per month a company had to move to stay viable in the North American market and how Volvo was almost certain to fall beneath that threshold and pull out in favor of Europe.

        You sure as hell didn’t hear people say “I bet Volvo makes wise, confident use of their new resources and continues to make aggressively competitive models and gain market share”, no, sir, you did not. So I find it very enjoyable to see Volvo release models that are coming out swinging.

        And yes, I’ve owned Volvos. My last was a 1988 240 GL wagon with 270,000 on the clock and running fine until an idiot rammed it. My mother owns a 2001 V70 with 190,000. Long live Volvo!

        • 0 avatar

          “… some people went into long, detailed analyses about how many units per month a company had to move to stay viable in the North American market…”

          Interesting, because during the 1970s and 1980s Volvo had THE BEST tax-free buying service for American military personnel overseas to bring home a Volvo with them to the US.

          Many of these people, now pushing age 70 and beyond, still have those Volvo cars and station wagons as their daily drivers, today.

          IMO, Volvo caused their own demise because they built cars that would last forever.

          Had Volvo been like GM, Ford and the company formerly known as Chrysler, “planned obsolescence” would have been the strategy.

          It worked for Detroit, and Americans lapped it up.

          • 0 avatar
            Calico Jack

            Well, technically, Volvos like the 240 were designed to have a minimum life span of twenty years. That just seems like forever, especially to people used to domestic cars.

            Planned obsolescence as a strategy may have worked by and large, but not perfectly. Personally, I wrote off domestics, forever, after owning first a Chrysler LaBaron and then the Volvo 240 and a Mercedes w123 diesel. The contrast of engineering was just too stark and unavoidable. I felt like too much of a fool for having wasted my time and money on the Chrysler when the other options were available. Other experiences with Chevys and Fords confirmed that feeling.

            As far as I’m concerned, the domestics caused their demise by not selling cars that lasted forever. Volvo’s big problems were caused by letting their standards slide, and could be yet be fixed by reestablishing said standards.

  • avatar

    Nice test.

    “Today however the V70 and XC70 are based on the S80 wagon.”

    – Unlucky wording, as there is no S80 wagon. Platform maybe? “S” is for “sedan”, “V” not for “vagon”, but “versatility”.

  • avatar

    I’ll just leave this here :)

  • avatar

    As usual, the other CUV/Cross-Country/AWD products in the Volvo lineup are A) too expensive for what they are and B) outclassed in luxury and practicality by the XC70.

    That being said, many of the options you find on luxury vehicles are -not- available on the XC70, and that’s disappointing. No cooled seats, no rear heated seats, no panoramic roof, no radar cruise control until maybe very recently, no keyless start (must put fob in dash).

  • avatar

    My wife was recently looking to replace her’06 V70 R MT (yeah- that was a great car for 8 years). Largely agree with this review but we were looking more at the V60 T5. Nice car, great seats, strong motor, cool design, pathetic cargo area, somewhat overpriced (not hugely). Then the salesman mentioned an XC60 R-Design he just took in trade. Done and done. 325HP, sport suspension takes corners way flatter than it has a right to given the ground clearance, nice interior (a step behind this car), great back seat, good cargo area (if still far shy of the old V70), great value. My wife is thrilled.

    Volvo should take the the V60 drivetrains and put them in compact coupes and 5-door hatches, made in China and branded separately (but sold through existing dealers), a la Scion to Toyota. They could sell many, many units.

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