Sub-zero temperatures, packed snow, and ice-covered lakes are brutal environments for most vehicles. But the 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country treats this frozen tundra like its own personal playground, gliding over ice, climbing steep banks, and kicking up snow in the process. This is Sweden’s newest snowmobile.
Our proving ground is the brutally cold Swedish city of Luleå (pronounced: Loo-lay-oh), just 80 miles outside of the Arctic Circle. Temperatures are well below zero, and north of town, a frozen lake layered in three feet of ice provides the perfect makeshift ice driving course. There, the V60 proves it’s more than just a warmed-over wagon, hoping to cash in on suckers – we mean, adventurous millennials – looking for an off-road-ish, crossover alternative. This stunning Swede has all the right elements for both trails and pavement.
Chunky, charcoal-colored cladding and a hearty 3.0-inch suspension lift separate Volvo’s rugged Cross Country from its low-riding counterpart. Even with its added off-road touches, the svelte design of the standard V60 carries over beautifully. If anything, the tough touches make the V60 more appealing. But the upgrades go deeper than that.
Gallery: 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country: First Drive
Pop the V60 Cross Country into its trim-specific “Off-Road” mode to recalibrate the engine, gearbox, and all-wheel-drive system in pursuit of more grip. The suspension is now spongier and more comfort-oriented, and with the addition of standard hill-descent control means the V60 Cross Country can tackle steep descents like a boss. You can thank the XC40-matching 8.3-inch ride height for keeping the car’s nose clean on said declines, too.
The V60 Cross Country’s suspension undulates impressively over ruts, helps it crawl down steep and snowy banks easily, and allows it to get pretty angular on a lateral slope. Even on Volvo's makeshift ice course, and with the “Sport” traction control option engaged, the V60 Cross Country refuses to go totally sideways. Granted, our tester wore Michelin X-Ice North studded tires (which are illegal in 11 U.S. states), but we can still distinguish the V60 Cross Country's off-road capabilities from other so-called rugged vehicles.
The standard turbocharged 2.0-liter T5 engine from the base V60 carries over, and we couldn't be happier.
The standard turbocharged 2.0-liter T5 engine from the base V60 carries over, and we couldn't be happier. It's the only engine Volvo offers on the U.S.-market Cross Country (Europeans also get a 2.0-liter four-cylinder diesel), and it’s perfectly suited to this car. Rated at 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, the T5 engine and its standard eight-speed automatic are a competent combination on both snowy back roads and paved highways.
Power delivery is silky smooth if somewhat lethargic given the amount of play in the gas pedal. And even in “Dynamic” mode, with marginally better throttle response and slightly heavier steering, the V60 Cross Country focuses on comfort above all else.
The same “if it ain't broke, don't fix it” mantra rings true for the interior. The V60's premium leather treatment and upscale finishes carry over to the Cross Country, including the Apple Carplay and Android Auto-compatible 9.0-inch touchscreen. An expansive cargo area affords up to 50.9 cubic feet of space with the rear bench folded, and the heated steering wheel and front seats are saviors at -16 degrees Fahrenheit.
There’s plenty of available legroom and headroom – the V60 Cross Country’s passenger compartment is almost SUV-esque in nature. You'll find a max of 40.0 inches of headroom and 42.3 inches of legroom up front – that’s better than the XC40 (39.0/40.9 inches). And in the back, the 38.0 inches of headroom and 35.2 inches of legroom available in the comfy rear seats are only down slightly to the taller crossover (39.1/36.1 inches).
Volvo’s sterling reputation for safety is not lost on the V60 Cross Country. Not only is the V60 Cross Country stable on snow, but it’s also safer for civilians, other vehicles, and even large animals. Volvo City Safety technology comes standard and includes things such as automatic emergency braking and collision avoidance. Volvo’s semi-autonomous Pilot Assist software is also available and works at speeds up to 80 miles per hour.
Unlike the larger, special-order-only V90, Volvo promises both the V60 and the V60 Cross Country will be available at dealers nationwide beginning this summer.
Unlike the larger, special-order-only V90, Volvo promises both the V60 and the V60 Cross Country will be available at dealers nationwide beginning this summer. Volvo hasn't released pricing details, but the Cross Country model should cost around $45,000 given the base V60's asking price of $38,900. At that price, the V60 Cross Country would sit neatly between the $45,800 Audi Allroad and a fully equipped example of the Buick Regal TourX, which costs around $41,000. The V60 CC is even on par price-wise with a number of SUVs, like the BMW X3 and Mercedes-Benz GLC-Class.
The Volvo V60 Cross Country is an all-around winner. It has all the looks, technology, and comfort you expect from a Volvo product, but with an added pinch of rugged aggression. It puts less capable wagons to shame with features like hill descent control and a hearty three-inch lift, and even humbles smaller crossovers with its expansive cabin and comfortable ride. Top to bottom, it’s one of Volvo’s most comprehensive vehicles to date.
2019 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5