Cars

2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country Review: Is the Subaru Outback of Volvos Any Good?

Pros:

  1. Wagon shape, SUV size
  2. Calm, Zen interior
  3. Tremendous premium value

Cons:

  1. Interior style aging a bit
  2. Suspension damping
  3. Why no T6 engine?

Why is MotorTrend testing a wagon as part of its SUV of the Year regimen? Well, because the Volvo XC60 Cross Country has full-time all-wheel drive and an 8.3-inch ground clearance equivalent to its main SUV competitors. And if we’re going to place the Subaru Outback in this category, so should we the Volvo.

Given that it is basically a XC60 crossover with a different body shell, does it make sense for smart shoppers to buck the SUVs-for-all trend and get this lifted Volvo wagon instead?

To us, this car is the right vehicle unfortunately located in the wrong time and segment. Americans, for now, don’t care for wagons. Which sadly means the V60 Cross Country will get overlooked while people peer over its low-slung roof at the adjacent XC60 (which, to be fair, is an excellent crossover).

But what a combination of alluring features the Cross Country delivers: “It drives like a sedan, off-roads like a Subaru, and looks better inside and out than other luxury brands that are supposedly above Volvo in the industry hierarchy,” features editor Scott Evans said.

With a base price of $46,095 and an as-tested price of $50,190, “This car is truly a tremendous value, especially considering how versatile it is,” features editor Christian Seabaugh said. “Few other vehicles provide a better balance of on-road comfort, outright performance, off-road capability, and practicality in one package.”

This holds true even though it comes only with a T5 2.0-liter turbo-four powertrain, which routes a relatively modest 250 hp and 258 lb-ft of torque through its eight-speed automatic transmission. Still, it’ll get you from 0 to 60 in 8 seconds, which is quick enough for any Volvo that doesn’t have a prancing-moose decal on its flank. If Volvo sold more of these wagons, they might consider bringing in the turbocharged/supercharged T6 version to add 60-odd horses, but the T5 is acceptable.

The V60 Cross Country is more than a V60 wagon with a lift kit, however. The platform underpinnings’ track extender allows the Cross Country to be 1.2 inches wider than the traditional V60 wagon—keeping the cornering and handling more carlike.

Its carlike handing is no empty boast. If you’re an SUV owner pining for the days when your vehicle didn’t corner like an elephant on roller skates, this Volvo is nicely planted in curves and exhibits excellent body control, though the suspension bottomed out over a couple sudden sharp undulations.

And credit a country with long winters for developing an all-wheel-drive system that works really well in the slush. Do your winter mornings often involve a downhill driveway after a big snowfall? No worries, between the AWD system and Volvo’s excellent hill descent control.

Inside, there are no surprises to anyone who has shopped Volvo lately. There isn’t much new here, but the distinctly cosmopolitan styling is aging very well—call it Scandinavian Zen. The seats are firm and comfy, and the crosshatch-patterned cloth inserts delight. The infotainment system resides in the familiar iPad-like screen, which has a slight learning curve.

Volvo also knows its core customers: Most live north of the chilly 40th parallel. Which is why the V60 Cross Country’s heated steering wheel comes with three warmth settings.

Perhaps no one gave the Volvo higher praise than editor-in-chief Ed Loh, who described it as “definitely on my list of vehicles to buy if/when I get fired”—an honor reserved for high-value (read: cheap) cars. When the financial apocalypse comes, you could do worse than to be in a V60 Cross Country.

2020 Volvo V60 T5 AWD (Cross Country)
Base Price/As Tested $46,095/$50,190
Power (SAE net) 250 hp @ 5,500 rpm
Torque (SAE net) 258 lb-ft @ 1,500 rpm
Accel, 0-60 mph 8.0 sec
Quarter Mile 16.1 sec @ 86.4 mph
Braking, 60-0 mph 132 ft
Lateral Acceleration 0.82 g (avg)
MT Figure Eight 27.2 sec @ 0.67 g (avg)
EPA City/Hwy/Comb 22/31/25 mpg

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