I have a dream. It’s a fairly modest dream; certainly nothing quite on the scale of those of the great Dr King. But a dream nonetheless.
It’s this: one day, we’ll all stop buying SUVs.
Now, that might seem a strange thing to say when talking about a company such as Volvo, one that might reasonably be argued has turned itself into a very successful SUV manufacturer.
But fashions come and go, and while today keeping up with the Joneses entails leasing something that could at any moment scale the north face of the Eiger, some day soon the trend will be for something else.
And I modestly submit that the humble estate car is long overdue a renaissance of its own.
But what if you’re one of the 1% of people who bought an SUV because you genuinely need all-weather, all-terrain transport?
For you, I’d like to suggest that the V60 Cross Country is all the car you’ll ever need.
Over the regular V60, the Cross Country adds an extra 60mm of ground clearance and permanent all-wheel-drive. It’s a clever system – I particularly like that it engages AWD at a standstill making it easy to pull away cleanly no matter the conditions – and includes both an Off-Road drive mode to recalibrate the car’s systems to match the terrain and Hill Descent Control for when things get… well, hillier.
Exterior changes include the requisite rufty-tufty wheel-arch extensions and sill mouldings, chunkier bumpers, and unique 18-inch alloy wheels.
The spec gets a healthy boost, too. Cross Country models gain leather upholstery, active bending headlights with adaptive shadow technology (they’re awesome, by the way), hands-free power tailgate, keyless entry, roof rails, and multi-colour ambient lighting.
At launch, the V60 Cross Country was only available with a 190hp D4 diesel engine, but can now also be ordered with a 250hp T5 petrol unit. Both are mated to the company’s excellent eight-speed automatic transmission.
The regular V60 impressed with its surprisingly engaging demeanour. The Cross Country’s somewhat loftier gait does take the edge off things a touch but what remains, and to a far greater degree than we were expecting, is the V60’s pleasantly pointy front end. Turn-in and initial cornering are far sharper than any SUV we can think of. But the V60 Cross Country goes on to add a feeling of surefootedness that, we suspect, no SUV could match.
All modern Volvos tend to have that long-legged, continent-crossing character that makes them so amenable on a long journey. The V60 Cross Country takes that ability and dials it up to eleven.
Plus, of course, there’s all the usual Volvo strong-points – the desperately appealing interior design, the well-thought-out practical touches, the wide array of electro-safety gubbins, and perhaps the most complete set of ‘connected car’ features on the market.
Downsides are hard to come by. One could perhaps argue that the diesel engine’s clatter isn’t quite as well isolated as it is in its bigger brother, the V90 Cross Country, while economy inevitably takes a hit over the regular V60. After a week spent trekking across the country, we notched up a respectable average of just over 39 mpg.
Should the day arrive when my dream becomes a reality, the Volvo V60 Cross Country might be just the car to lure people out of their SUVs.
|Entry-level Price||£39,935||Price as tested||£51,245|
|Engine||1969cc 4-cyl turbo diesel||Transmission||8-speed auto|
|Power||190bhp @ 4,250rpm||Torque||400Nm @ 1,750-2,500rpm|
|0-62||8.2 secs||Top speed||130 mph|
|Economy||42.8-47.9 mpg||CO2||135 g/km|
|Dimensions||4784 x 1916 x 1504 (LxWxH)||Kerb Weight||1784 kg|