A gift to car buffs
In the mind of the diehard car-nut, there are two people in this world—those who know cars, and those who don’t. With only 500 iterations of the 2016 Volvo S60 Cross Country slated to enter the U.S. market as 2016 models, it’s pretty clear which faction this car caters to. Rejoice fellow car nerds, your obscure automotive reference has arrived.
At its core, the limited-run Cross Country is still an S60 sedan, just with a higher ride height that will probably only be discernible to car junkies. Think of it like a really nice AMC Eagle. With that extreme exclusivity and relative anonymity—it’s indeed something special, but how is it to drive?
Swedish Reservation One of the big Volvo talking points of late is the company’s new Drive-E four-cylinder engines, which combine turbocharging, supercharging, and even hybridization to unlock impressive levels of performance. They’ve permeated the U.S. market already, however you won’t find one under the hood of this Cross Country. Instead, it still uses Volvo’s 2.5-liter turbocharged straight-five, good for 250 horsepower and 266 lb.-ft. of torque. Not a bad mark in the least. It’s a smooth engine—it has been for years—and has a unique feel that only a five-cylinder can provide. With its quick-shifting six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive system, the S60 also feels light on its feet and pliable in the turns. Volvo says 0 to 60 mph is done in just 6.7 seconds, and that sounds about right. But off-the-line speed isn’t really what this car is about.
All Terrain, All the Time All-weather sedan practicality is more of its niche, and it is certainly a niche. The elevated S60 benefits from 2.6 inches of additional ground clearance, fender flares, and taller all-season tires, which come mounted on either 18- or 19-inch wheels. That added rubber makes for a slightly more relaxed drive too. Would you want to off-road it? No, no you wouldn’t. But if the snow flies in your neck of the woods and you have a desire to be a bit different than the crossover-crazed masses, this is your car. Inside you’ll find the Cross Country is no drastic departure from the normal S60. Volvo’s older Sensus infotainment system lives in the dash and features a vast array of buttons to fiddle with. The interior styling is clean, though beginning to show its age. The highlight by far and away are the seats. Though it’s been said a multitude of times before, these bolstered buckets are very, very comfortable.
The Verdict As far as U.S. exclusivity goes, it’s pretty up there at only 500 models, and complements the equally hard-to-find 2015.5 Polestar S60 sedans and V60 wagons that Volvo released onto these shores. Those are about as fun as they are blue, which is to say—very. If this jacked-up S60 gets U.S. Volvo fans all jacked-up…well, perhaps we’ll see more in the future. And if so, hopefully, just hopefully, they make a Polestar version. Specs Engine: 2.5L 5-Cylinder Turbo Horsepower: 250 0-60: 6.7 Seconds Price (as tested): $48,390 Pros High levels of exclusivity Quiet, pliant, and enjoyable ride Fantastic seats Cons Crossover price tag with less practicality No Drive-E engine options