By on October 16, 2015

Volvo S60 Cross Country - model year 2016

Sometimes you get it right. Sometimes you get it wrong. And sometimes you get it so wrong we all figure you were just playing a practical joke.

Launched just after the arrival of Volvo’s hugely anticipated second-generation XC90, Volvo’s S60 Cross Country is a Swedish/Chinese take on the failed Subaru Legacy Outback SUS. 17 years later.

Elevated wagons can be successful. Just look at the outrageous success of the Subaru Outback or the staying power of Volvo’s own XC70. Elevated sedans? Consumers aren’t really into the concept. Thus, after selling 50 copies of the S60 Cross Country in its abbreviated launch month of August, Volvo USA sold only 29 S60 Cross Countrys in September, one for every 1.7 states in the union.

That’s not a lot, a fact made all the more clear when you consider that Volvo sold 1,182 copies of the XC90 in September alone. Because sometimes you get it right.

Admittedly, September was not a good month for Volvo’s trio of elevated non-SUVs. After averaging 277 monthly sales during the previous six months, Volvo sold only 134 V60 Cross Countrys in September. The V60 CC is the wagon sibling of the S60 CC, and in the wagon’s worst month since launching last winter, it still outsold the S60 CC by nearly five-to-one.

Volvo S60 Cross Country - model year 2016

Meanwhile, the XC70 suffered a 17 percent loss to 463 September sales during a month in which the U.S. auto industry exploded and Volvo’s two core SUVs/CUVs combined for a 92 percent year-over-year increase.

Then there’s the S60 CC. Let’s not forget that September was only its second month on the market. It can take time for a car, even a jacked-up sedan with black wheelarch cladding, to stir up demand, to pluck your heartstrings with just the right amount of force, to seduce you with its step-in height. Availability isn’t exactly Camry-like – head to your local Volvo dealer and you won’t be deciding between S60 CCs in a variety of colours and wood trim appliques. Cars.com currently displays only 154 S60 CCs in its inventory, clarifying that Volvo and its dealers understand the car’s limited appeal. Volvo never intended the S60 CC to be one of their volume players.

But just how limited is the interest? Look at the vehicles which sold less often than the S60 CC in September 2015, a batch of discontinued models including the Nissan Cube, Jaguar XK, Scion xD, Scion iQ, Mazda2, Land Rover LR2, Honda Ridgeline; and supercars including the Audi R8, Porsche 918 Spyder, and Lexus LFA.

Indeed, consider the supremely rare vehicles which sold more often than the S60 Cross Country in September, including discontinued models like the Dodge Avenger and Honda Insight, high-end sports cars such as the Mercedes-AMG GT, Alfa Romeo 4C, and Nissan GT-R; and oft-maligned GM vehicles including the Chevrolet SS and Cadillac ELR, among hundreds of other nameplates.

Only two percent of the S60s sold in the United States in September were of the Cross Country variety. Only 0.9 percent of the Volvos sold in the United States in August were S60 CCs, a figure which fell to 0.5 percent in September. It’s not as though the S60 CC’s rarity is made conspicuous by the Volvo brand’s supreme popularity, either. Volvo’s share of the market in September 2015, at just 0.4 percent, was little more than half what it was a decade ago.

Volvo XC90 XC60

Having established the near complete unwillingness of the American car-buying public to coalesce around the idea of an elevated Volvo sedan, September’s figures also made clear that Volvo can get it right. The new XC90 won’t soon tackle segment leaders like the BMW X5 and Mercedes-Benz GLE; supply is too limited, and Volvo’s return from the North American brink will take time. But September’s 1,182-unit tally was the highest mark for the XC90 since December 2010, 56 months ago.

Far greater volume is being generated by the XC60, now in its seventh year. Never before has the XC60 sold as well as it is selling in 2015. It remains a midpack player in a category controlled by the Audi Q5 and Acura RDX, but the XC60 is hugely important to Volvo’s U.S. operations. Four out of every ten Volvos sold in America in the first three-quarters of 2015 were XC60s.

Sometimes Volvo gets it right.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures. Follow on Twitter @goodcarbadcar and on Facebook.

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77 Comments on “Ain’t Nobody Buying The Volvo S60 Cross Country...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    So are people just hypocrites? This has the a foot extra off the ground I keep hearing is the most important feature of any new purchase.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      Well, unless it’s a sedan. Then [email protected] that. We don’t want that.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        I can’t stand that kind of hypocrisy. All I hear about is ride height and the truth is it has to look like a truck as fake as it actually may be. Can we drop the stupid height and standard rear limo tint on the CUVs at least then? I can’t see through the f***ers when I’m trying to make turns against oncoming traffic at stop signs. If they say normally it would not be as bad.

        • 0 avatar
          bball40dtw

          “Can we drop the stupid height and standard rear limo tint on the CUVs at least then?”

          The average CUV doesn’t have much more ground clearance than a midsized sedan. The CR-V and Rav-4 have less an inch more ground clearance as compared to the Civic, Corolla, Accord, and Camry.

          The only CUVs that are truly “jacked up” are the Escape, Forrester, and all the Jeeps. The Escape and Forrester have 2″ of ground clearance more than their sedan counterparts.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            “The average CUV doesn’t have much more ground clearance than a midsized sedan.”

            So this! And it’s getting to where their roof height is leveling out to sedannish, too. Just give them another refresh or two and there’ll be no ergonomic or vision advantages to C/SUVs

            The evil claws of CAFE tighten upon EVERYTHING! And SQUASH it!

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            “The average CUV doesn’t have much more ground clearance than a midsized sedan.”

            I’d like to see some more numbers there. The Ford Edge and Escape have 7.9″, the comparable Focus has 4.7″, and something tells me the Fusion has significantly less (although I couldn’t find the actual figures).

            With that said, even a 4×2 F-150 has 8.5″.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Just look at the crappy HR-V for confirmation and a vision of the near future.

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            What bothers me most about the HR-V is that it has almost the same WB as the CR-V (although it is narrower). A subcompact CUV in my book should not exceed 101″.

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            Well, I’m game for putting an HR-V in a giant vice to reduce the wheelbase and pop the top up a mite.

            Probably should heat it first.

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            Accord: 5.8 in
            Civic: 5.7 in
            CR-V: 6.8 in
            Camry: 6.1 in
            Corolla: 5.8 in
            Rav-4: 6.3 in
            Malibu: 6 in
            Cruze: 6.5 in
            Nox: 6.9 in
            Altima: 5.5 in
            Sentra: 6.4 in
            Rogue: 7.4 in
            200: 5.8 in
            Dart: ?
            Cherokee: 8.7 in

          • 0 avatar
            bball40dtw

            DrZ, I can’t edit, so here is a better list:

            Accord: 5.8 in
            Camry: 6.1 in
            Malibu: 6 in
            Altima: 5.5 in
            200: 5.8 in
            Sonata: 5.5 in
            Legacy: 5.9 in
            Fusion: 5.5 in

            Civic: 5.7 in
            Corolla: 5.8 in
            Cruze: 6.5 in
            Sentra: 6.4 in
            Dart: ?
            Elantra: 5.3 in
            Impreza: 5.7 in
            Focus: 5.7 in

            CR-V: 6.8 in
            Rav-4: 6.3 in
            Nox: 6.9 in
            Rogue: 7.4 in
            Cherokee: 8.7 in
            Tucson: 6.4 in
            Forrester: 8.7 in
            Escape/Edge: 7.9 in

            It is really dependent on brand. Some lift their CUVs. Some do not. Subaru and Ford seem to lift their CUVs the most. FCA obviously lifts Jeeps too. The Compass and Patriot seem to have less ground clearance than the Cherokee, Escape, and Forrester though.

          • 0 avatar
            Fred

            Curiously Lotus Elan is 6.2″ almost the same as a Rav4!!! http://www.lotuselansprint.com/index.asp?pageid=41824

          • 0 avatar
            Drzhivago138

            Thank you, bball. Data is beautiful.

        • 0 avatar
          CJinSD

          I think the limo tint is a necessary security precaution. Without it, CUVs would be the target of break-ins every time someone leaves a package in the back.

    • 0 avatar
      don1967

      Or maybe people are just smarter than we give them credit for. I mean, if you’re gonna screw up center of gravity, MPG, etc. you might as well at least benefit from having a hatchback with some cargo-hauling ability.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Why not just buy an ordinary hatchback then, why put up with the trade offs?

        EDIT: I think its the look I’m so tough in my not-a-truck. Mileage and center of gravity probably don’t even play into it, its about projecting a faux plastic fantastic image to yourself.

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          Mostly because there are no mid- or full-size hatchbacks. The CUV is less a replacement for the hatchback and more a replacement for the SUV, to which it is superior in all the ways important to someone using it as a DD. Compared to an SUV, a CUV has a less truck-like ride and better MPG. Yes, a compact hatch or sedan gets better MPG than a compact CUV, but most of the original buyers of CUVs were coming off of Explorers and (Trail)Blazers.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I agree with this but I will add “a less truck-like ride [but with a truck appearance], and better MPG”

          • 0 avatar
            CoreyDL

            Fuel economy is lower down on the consideration list for Americans. If our fuel was much more expensive, these CUV’s would shrug themselves back down into wagons and hatches in a hurry.

        • 0 avatar
          Quentin

          I don’t think my wife goes down the road in her Rav4 feeling tough. She drives the MINI when she doesn’t have our daughter.

          There are a lot of reasons to CUV. When you open the tailgate of a CUV, you see height, width, and depth. When you pop the hatch of a wagon or hatch, the door is typically in your line of sight. Just like house shopping, people envision what they can do with space when they see it the first time. When you pop the trunk of a modern car, you realize that while you might have depth and width, it better all fit through the pillbox opening. CUV floors are typically low but the roof is high. They feel airy. You can adjust your seat however you like because the more upright cabin doesn’t immediately force you to recline the seat. The wheelbases don’t have to be super long to provide good front and rear legroom and the shorter wheelbase allows them to be more maneuverable. Getting kids in and out is improved because you aren’t folding the kid in half to get it over the side bolsters in the front facing car seat while trying to not smash their head on the C pillar. Almost all of them offer AWD.

          To that last point, if the upcoming MINI Clubman gets AWD, I could see her replacing her MINI and Rav4 with the Clubman. It is a legit wagon. She didn’t care for the Countryman at all.

          • 0 avatar
            Dave M.

            Stop with your facts nonsense. They don’t want to hear that.

            Personally I love the 8.3 inches my Outback has – it’s great for steep driveway turn-ins, light trails for biking, and briefly flooded roads from our torrential downpours here in Houston. I appreciate the ease of ingress/egress, and the level loading zone. My wife has an Edge, and my kid’s first car will be a compact crossover. Easier to see and safer overall.

            My AWD is an awesome bonus.

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          Volvo really should revive the C30, and price it to actually compete in the market.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      CUVs and SUVs are known as trucks. Consumers want the utility more than anything, and the utility (perceived or real) supersedes the manufacturers brand. Luxury truck? Absurd, but consumers don’t seem to notice in the CUV and SUV segment. Somehow, pickup consumers notice, though. Lincoln Blackwood was a bomb.

      If the convention of SUV/CUV isn’t present, the false marketing narratives don’t work. I don’t think consumer hypocrisy is the underlying cause. Manufacturers created the CUV/SUV segment and minivan segment when CAFE killed the fullsize sedan.

      • 0 avatar
        Drzhivago138

        Luxury truck? Only absurd if you put a luxury badge on it. The Lincoln Blackwood failed, but the Mark LT did okay. Put a Ford grille on it and call it the F-150 Platinum and you can’t sell enough. Same reason a GMC Denali is about as luxurious in some ways as a theoretical Cadillac pickup (Escalade EXT notwithstanding) would be.

    • 0 avatar
      dal20402

      The same buyers who like the ride height don’t like sedans in general.

    • 0 avatar
      Superdessucke

      I don’t know about hypocrites but it does underscore the fact that they don’t need all wheel drive and a high ride height. Not that I ever believed that they needed it in the first place. The CUV is a fashion statement. Little more.

      It’s going to take the Chinese awhile to learn American automotive tastes. And when they do they will change haha.

      • 0 avatar
        RideHeight

        “The CUV is a fashion statement. Little more.”

        Well, I’m certainly all about fashion and I drive a CR-V so it’s your day to be right!

        • 0 avatar
          Drzhivago138

          I drive a Mazda Tribute and I’m known among my coterie as always exhibiting the cutting-edge of fashion. Maroon corduroys and secondhand tweed jackets will be all the rage next spring!

          • 0 avatar
            RideHeight

            I wore my heavy camo hoodie in today. Around here, that’s business formal.

            It’ll be too warm to wear it home, probably.

  • avatar
    Kyree S. Williams

    I kind of understand the Volvo V60 Cross Country, Volkswagen Golf Alltrack and Audi allroad. But this is just silly.

    As for the XC60, if I were looking for a compact crossover, it would be my first choice, especially in R-Design guise. I see a lot of women driving it, but I think it has a very handsome, gentlemanly, tailored look.

    • 0 avatar
      CoreyDL

      I like the XC60 as well. It’s handsome and has a nice presence for something that size, and is very nicely restrained in the styling department. It’s a little expensive IMO, but they seem to be getting away with it.

      You really can’t tell the design has been around for six years either, which tells me it’ll age well in the future. Resale value from what I’ve seen around on Ebay is good as well.

      I’d like to drive one and check it out, actually. And maybe an XC90 later, after all the whiz-bang has been proved.

      • 0 avatar
        Funky

        I would recommend test driving a Mazda CX-5 as well. I drove a XC60 several times when one was provided to me as a “service loaner”. I was not impressed. I was much more impressed with the Mazda CX-5. And, just to drive home this point; I will mention that (having had the choice of either) I now own a CX-5 rather than the XC60.

        • 0 avatar
          Kyree S. Williams

          I test-drove a CX-5, long-term. I had a 2016 one in “Soul Red” when the Golf SportWagen was in the shop for a minor accident. It was great. It would be my top pick for a non-luxury compact crossover.

        • 0 avatar
          slance66

          I ended up with a CX-5 too. It does everything well. XC60 has lousy mpg, isn’t very quick unless in turbo guise, and is rather expensive. Having had two Volvos, I really don’t trust them reliability wise, and now as a Chinese owned brand, I trust them less.

      • 0 avatar
        Sigivald

        I test drove a V60R when I was looking, in December/January.

        Liked it really well, but ended up with an XC70 because I needed something I could actually take on a forest road without being terrified, and with more space inside for camping.

        I really, really like the Volvo interior and infotainment, as well as the outside*.

        (* My one nitpick is an incomprehensible design decision re. BT audio; if you’re paused and hit next/prev. track, it starts playing. Muted.

        Because OBVIOUSLY that is what you wanted to happen when you hit “next”, right?)

        • 0 avatar
          56BelAire

          I’m shopping CPO V60’s right now. Being old school, I like the lower driving position over the “elevated” position. I was torn between the FWD-4cyl and the AWD-5cyl, but have settled on the FWD. Gorgeous car, great Volvo interior, safety, plenty quick for me and awesome hwy 38 MPG, regular gas.

          Selling/trading my 2009 Caddy DTS which I love and has been trouble free. Best road car I have owned in my 55 years of driving.

    • 0 avatar
      TW5

      I dunno. The S60 Cross Country seems like the natural progression, but Scandinavia is probably the only place that can still pull it off. They practically invented modern rally, and Scandinavian drivers are/were known for their backwoods romps in old Saab two-strokes and rugged old Volvo wagons and sedans. Similar to American bootlegging culture, except the Swedes and Finns were doing it for recreation.

      Americans have lost touch with the bootlegging car culture. No more Smokey and the Bandit or Dukes of Hazard; therefore, no chance for Americans to identify with something similar in Sweden. The S60 Cross Country doesn’t seem weird to me, but maybe that’s because I remember my grandmother driving up and down the Smokey Mountains in her Subaru GL.

      They were trying to rekindle a segment that is dead as a doornail. Even the WRX is grounded to the ground these days, and that car was born from rally competition. Nothing with a trunk or a fastback can go offroad anymore. Not culturally acceptable.

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Gee, an overpriced little crampy car that smells like sulfur fails in the US? We must be racists.

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    Jacked-up looking crossovers make you look like the type of person who goes kayaking on weekends. The same can’t be said for jacked-up looking sedans.

    I think it’s a good looking car, it’s certainly better executed than the old Legacy SUS.

  • avatar
    Scottie

    Nice take on an AMC eagle, can they do the same thing to a c30?

  • avatar
    mmreeses

    yup, jacked up sedans are too bass thumpin’ urban for aspirational, self-conscious, middle-class, professional types.

    don’t flame the messenger, just calling it like I see it.

  • avatar
    slavuta

    Chinese thought they are smarter than folks at Subaru. But they are not. If with Subaru someone could afford a buying mistake, with Volvo it is a costly mistake. I am sure that 99.99% of the people who initially say, “I like it”, than backed off. Honestly, this car is WTF? kind of car

  • avatar
    360joules

    Comparing these photos to my son’s toy box. Ride height, wheel design & wheel proportion make it look like a Matchbox or Hot Wheels toy.

  • avatar
    whynot

    I love this car so much just because of how ridiculous it is. Would never buy one even if I could afford one, but still it makes me happy that there is a S60XC in the world.

  • avatar
    Prado

    Maybe they would sell more if they chromed the wheels and renamed it to the Volvo S60 Donk.

  • avatar
    SlowMyke

    All I got from this article is that Lexus is STILL trying to sell off the rest of the LFA’s? Good grief.

  • avatar
    Vulpine

    Honestly, just to look at them, I wouldn’t buy either one… sedan or wagon. I don’t like 4-door vehicles when two doors are enough for my needs 99% of the time. I currently own three vehicles, only one of which has four doors. One is a ’97 Ranger and the second is a ’14 Fiat. The third is an ’08 Wrangler Unlimited, whose primary purpose is winter driving when it needs to replace both other vehicles at different times.

  • avatar

    As V60 it makes sense. Is the estate version sold in the U.S.?

  • avatar
    wmba

    I cannot even tell what the difference is between an XC60 compared to a V60 Cross Country, and Volvo’s Canada website is half-down anyway, always a great sales tool.

    B*gger it, I’m not even interested enough to check out other Volvo websites. I find the multiplicity of *60* models more trying than Infiniti’s naming miasma. At least 5 models with 60 in the name, and now an S60L too.

    Few people even bother looking these things up. And the confusion is considerable anyway.

    • 0 avatar
      Sigivald

      In fairness to Volvo, that’s sort of like saying “Too many BMWs end in 28 or 35”.

      S means sedan, V means wagon, C meant coupe when they sold any, and XC means “some sort of SUV or offroad Wagon”.

      Numerics are comparative size (going back to the start of the pattern, from the tiny C30 to the XC90).

      It’s rational, in a way Infiniti isn’t.

    • 0 avatar
      Kyree S. Williams

      They’re just two versions of the same thing. It’s sort of like how the Audi allroad (lifted compact wagon) and the Q5 (compact crossover) are just about the same. Unfortunately, they quit selling the regular non-lifted A4 Avant wagon here.

      • 0 avatar
        wmba

        Thanks for the tips, but honestly, an Audi Allroad looks like an A4 on stilts with Rubbermaid flourishes, and the Q5 looks completely different, actually hulking in the showroom.

        A V60 CC and an XC60 look about the same to me. And there’s no reason to pick one over the other mechanically. Is there?

        • 0 avatar
          wmba

          OK, I looked them up. The XC60 has the older taller body and 9 inches of ground clearance, while the V60 has only 8 inches ground clearance and less headroom inside.

          Just to make things really clear, the 2015 V60CC has the old 5 cylinder engine, while the old XC60 has the new Drive E engine.

          WTF.

          And despite this the XC60 weighs 400 pounds more than the V60 CC. Why, only the trolls of southern Sweden know. These things make no sense to me whatsoever.

  • avatar
    readallover

    Or maybe ride height has nothing to do with it and it is simply that people won`t pay $45,000 for this thing.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    Subaru already tried out the “elevated sedan” thing, remember the SUS?

    If I want a jacked up Volvo I’ll hunt down another 240, then I can get extra clearance WITHOUT the CUV premium!

  • avatar
    RideHeight

    Now wait a minute… I just looked at Volvo’s website. First time ever.

    There are TWO S-60s! One is an honest if overpriced little crampy car.
    The other is this identical but slightly lifted goose. 10 GRAND DIFFERENCE!

    Now I *know* I can find cheaper lift kits than that.

  • avatar

    This car wasn’t created with the US market in mind at all and the numbers they are shipping here are limited, they know full well it’s as niche as niche gets.

    It’s really for Russia, Africa and Central Asia, places that have horrible roads where a car like this makes a lot of sense and since Volvo is already producing it at Torslanda they thought why not offer it here? So that’s why it’s here.

    Same with the S60L which is called Inscription here, it’s another variant of a car already made for another market that they are selling here more or less for fun and as a toe in the water.

    Personally I love this but am probably going to get the V60 Cross Country variant regardless.

    • 0 avatar
      RideHeight

      “It’s really for Russia, Africa and Central Asia”

      Ahh.. places where interior roominess is considered gauche. Got it.

    • 0 avatar
      Ryoku75

      “It’s really for Russia, Africa and Central Asia, places that have horrible roads”

      The roads in the US aint so great either, theres a reason why in the roads of crumpled up St Louie RWD Volvos are a common ride.

      And they dont need no $10k lifts.

  • avatar
    Der_Kommissar

    I remember this car when it was called the AMC eagle. We all know how that ended…

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/AMC_Eagle

  • avatar

    The once great Swedish auto industry is disappearing. At one time Swedish cars were considered better than American cars.

  • avatar
    Joss

    Volvo’s elevated sedan reminds me of previous (Prius,) Sentra they couldn’t sell too well.

  • avatar
    kmars2009

    I have an older XC 70. I plan on getting a newer one, if this one ever dies. Or will it be the V90 CC by then? Anyway, the V60 CC is nice, but there isn’t much room in back for my kind of cargo…large dogs. I can’t imagine why the S60 CC exists…but I’ve never been to Sweden…so who knows?

  • avatar
    msmandisaj

    I laughed heartily at this piece. While I personally am a fan of the raised S60, I see that nobody else is checking for it. So my question is…. how do I translate Volvo’s slow-to-move stock into a deal? I think the cars are a good 10K over priced. I’ll help them out of their misery if I can get one for $32K. How do car makers normally get rid of their duds?

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