First Drive

2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country D4 UK review

We drive the new Volvo V60 Cross Country, which gets rugged styling, raised suspension and optional four-wheel drive to help the family estate appeal to a wider audience

Words ByAaron Smith

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The Volvo V60 Cross Country is a beefier version of the Swedish car firm's regular V60 estate.

It's aimed at those who want more off-road security and increased versatility, and follows on from its V40 Cross Country smaller sibling by gaining a set of upgrades and styling enhancements to inject it with more off-roading potential.

The most noticeable modification is a 65mm raised ride height over the standard model, giving the Cross Country greater ground clearance. Other styling additions include wheel arch extensions, front and rear skid plates, a metallic front grille and gloss trim around the doors and mirrors.

Four trim levels are available at launch - SE, SE Nav, Lux and Lux Nav - with the choice of three diesel engines. A 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel is available in two states of tune (148bhp D3 and 188bhp D4), while the range-topping model is an 188bhp 2.4-litre four-cylinder D4 AWD turbodiesel with extra torque.

The latter motor is the only option if you want your V60 Cross Country with four-wheel drive and only comes with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. You can, however, choose a six-speed manual or the auto on the D3 and D4 front-wheel drive variants.

What's the 2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country like to drive?

On the road, the Cross Country feels not too dissimilar to the standard V60 estate, which is a good thing. There's slightly more body roll on tighter bends, but for the most part it remains composed.

We didn't get a chance to test its off-road credentials fully, but on the rutted country lanes on part of our test route, it felt sure-footed and competent.

Potholes are dismissed fairly comfortably with minimal vibration sent through the cabin. However, deep undulations on faster flowing A-roads will make you aware of that extra ride height, as the Cross Country's body takes a little longer to settle afterwards than a standard V60.

There's more than enough grunt from the 2.0-litre 188bhp D4 diesel unit as tested here. It pulls cleanly from just 1400rpm and the hefty spread of torque means you don't have to change down a gear when getting up to speed on motorways, too.

It's not the most refined of diesel engines, though. On start-up, minimal vibration filters through to the cabin, but it emits a coarse-sounding note that grates more than in some of its rivals, especially in the higher rev range. The six-speed manual gearbox is precise and well-weighted, albeit with a relatively long shift action. It's no chore to use, though.

Volvo anticipates a 50:50 sales split between retail and fleet sales, with 25% of total V60 sales being Cross Country. This D4 variant in manual guise emits just 111g/km, giving it a 20% Benefit-in-Kind rating for company car tax.

What's it like inside?

The cabin remains much like a standard V60's, with its excellent driving position that's still in-keeping with an estate car rather than sat higher up like in an SUV. There's plenty of steering wheel and seat adjustment, too.

Our test car was cloaked in cloth upholstery seats (leather is available on SE Lux and above), which are supportive and offer plenty of comfort - a Volvo hallmark. The switchgear looks and feels the part, with the exception of a flimsy centre console tray that feels cheap to open and close.

Rear head- and leg room is not exactly impressive, either. It's more than acceptable for children and average-sized adults, but six-footers will struggle to get comfortable.

At 430 litres with the seats up, boot space is not exactly class-leading, but it's still more than enough to swallow a week's family shopping. The rear seats fold in a 40/20/40 fashion and have the ability to drop perfectly flat, too.

Standard kit on this mid-range D4 SE Nav model includes a 7.0in colour touchscreen, sat-nav, DAB radio, Bluetooth, rear parking sensors, plus auto headlights, wipers and 17in alloy wheels.

Volvo's extensive safety equipment naturally features on the Cross Country. Six airbags are standard across the range and our test car came with the Β£1900 optional Driver Support Pack, which includes pedestrian and cyclist detection, blind spot assist and collision warning with automatic braking.

Should I buy one?

The Cross Country will no doubt add more versatility and appeal to Volvo's V60 range, but priced from Β£32,245 in this mid-spec form, it's expensive when compared with its chief rivals.

Skoda's Octavia Scout 4x4 does everything the V60 Cross Country does, but with a larger boot, equally high cabin ambience and a strong range of engines, for almost Β£10,000 less than the equivalent four-wheel drive V60 Cross Country.

The Seat Leon ST X-Perience four-wheel drive in 2.0 TDI 184 DSG guise is almost Β£6000 less than the cheapest AWD Cross Country, too.

If your heart is set on a V60 Cross Country, we'd recommend this version. Unless you're an off-road enthusiast or live out in the sticks, a front-wheel-drive D4 SE Nav will competently deal with most situations you're likely to face on UK roads.

What Car? says...

The rivals

Skoda Octavia Scout

Seat Leon ST X-Perience

Volvo V60 Cross Country D4 SE Nav manual

Engine size 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel

Price from Β£32,245

Power 188bhp

Torque 295lb ft

0-62mph 7.8 seconds

Top speed 130mph

Fuel economy 67.3mpg

CO2 111g/km