It’s taken a while to get our hands on a Volvo V60 Cross Country in the U.S. Why? Diesel, that’s why. Volvo‘s decision to launch the car initially with only the 190-hp 2.0-liter turbodiesel—not a powertrain many American consumers would consider in the aftermath of the VW Dieselgate scandal—means we’ve had to wait until the car is available with the 250-hp 2.0-liter turbocharged gas engine. So what have we been missing?
After a 500-mile drive across Britain, on a mix of fast-moving freeways, fun-to-drive two-lanes, and jittery city streets, the diesel-powered V60 D4 Cross Country impresses as a wagon that manages to be at once supremely relaxed and yet still engaging to drive. No, it won’t go around corners like an Audi RS6 Avant. Or even a regular V60, for that matter. For a start, it has 8.3 inches of ground clearance and spring rates that are 8 percent softer than the regular V60.
Despite its plusher primary ride and increased roll in the corners, the fundamentals are sound: The D4 Cross Country reacts consistently to driver inputs, and, once set, holds course regardless of what’s happening where the rubber meets the road. It feels resolutely planted. Unless you’re playing Swedish rally drivers, deliberately kicking the tail out on gravel, mud, ice, or snow, the default limit-handling mode is marked by mild understeer.
That said, there’s still the same hint the brittleness in the ride quality that blights most modern Volvos. Pro tip: Stick with the stock 18-inch alloy wheels rather than going for the optional 19s and lower-profile tires.
The 2.0-liter turbodiesel engine suits the V60 Cross Country’s relaxed demeanor. The D4’s 190 horses are all mustered by 4,250 rpm, 1,250 rpm sooner than the 250 ponies turn up in the T5. More important, the D4 has 295 lb-ft of torque on tap from just 1,750 rpm, compared with the T5’s 258 lb-ft from 1,800 rpm. That extra grunt matters: Volvo claims a 0-60 mph acceleration time of 7.6 seconds for the D4 Cross Country, quicker than the 8.0 seconds returned by the T5 version in our initial testing.
On real-world roads, especially on part-throttle, the D4 feels just that little bit more effortless than the D5. And, according to the new, more accurate WTLP test protocol, it’s about 25 percent better in terms of fuel consumption on the combined drive cycle than the T5. Downsides? You’re always aware of the rattly knock from the combustion chambers, and the kickdown response from the eight-speed automatic transmission is oddly lethargic in Comfort mode.
Unlike the larger V90 T5 Cross Country, which is only available to order, U.S. Volvo dealers will carry the V60 T5 Cross Country in stock, priced from about $46,000, and they expect it to outsell the regular V60 wagon by four to one. Even so, Volvo doesn’t expect to sell that many, so waiting for an engine that’s more acceptable to American consumers makes perfect business sense.