• SUV-inspired wagon with 5-passenger seating
  • Higher ground clearance than standard V60
  • T5 models make 250 horsepower
  • Due this summer, pricing estimated at $44,500 

 

Driving the 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country wagon in Sweden provided a fresh perspective on the wagon as SUV typified by earlier Volvo Cross Country efforts as well as vehicles like the Subaru Outback and Audi Allroad. While an SUV projects an image of go anywhere, do anything, drivers of this taller wagons are the ones who actually do go anywhere and do anything. 

How so? The evidence is the various kinds of roof racks you see on these wagons as opposed to the standard rails on an SUV. You’re more likely to see bikes, kayaks and ski carriers on a Cross Country than you will on a run-of-the-mill crossover SUV.

Newest addition to S60/V60 range

The 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country complements the recently introduced S60 and V60 sedan and wagon. Unlike the S60, which is built in a new U.S. assembly plant in Charleston, S.C., the V60 Cross Country, along with the standard wagon, are made at Volvo’s Torslanda plant outside its headquarters city of Gothenberg, Sweden.

Like its larger V90 Cross Country sibling, the V60 Cross County stands 2.7-inches taller at 59.0 inches which translates to high ride with 8.3 inches of ground clearance, again nearly 3 inches more than the standard model. It retains the standard wagon’s other dimensions including a 113.1-inch wheelbase, overall length of 188.3 inches and width of 75.4 inches.

The only distinguishing exterior characteristics are the black matte front spoiler which flows into the black wheel arch and rocker extensions and finishes up at a rear diffuser at the rear housing twin rectangular exhaust tips. The overall shape of the V60 Cross Country is clean, sleek and modern. It’s a timeless and slightly rugged look that is bound to age well.

Upscale interior

Inside, the V60 Cross Country is fitted with highly supportive and well-bolstered front sport seats with leather upholstery. While this is more of a compact than midsize 5-passenger wagon with decent rear legroom, three persons are somewhat of a tight fight across the rear bench. With that rear bench folded down, however, the cargo area opens up to a generous 60.5 cubic feet of space.

The cockpit is straight up S60/V60 with Volvo’s vertical touchscreen that once you get the hang of it, is highly intuitive. There’s still plenty of traditional buttons and knobs for the hidebound, including a volume knob and unique roller selector to choose the various drive modes that range from Economy to Off-Road. In between there’s Dynamic, Comfort and All-Wheel Drive. Volvo’s Sensus Connect infotainment system boasts Apple CarPlay and Android Auto compatibility and offers a 4G Wi-Fi hotspot.

One powertrain initially 

All 2020 V60 Cross Country models will use the T5 powertrain that has a turbocharged 2.0-liter 4-cylinder engine making 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. That output is delivered to all four wheels via a BorgWarner AWD system connected to an 8-speed automatic transmission. In other global markets, the 315-horspower T6 and 303-horsepower T8 plug-in hybrid models will be available and may at some point join the T5 Cross Country in the U.S., although there is nothing official yet.

The 250-horsepower on tap in the T5 is plenty robust for a vehicle of its size. Driving in winter conditions and having some time to hang the rear end out on an ice track, I found the Cross Country to be predictable in its handling with direct steering and linear brake feel. It drives in the best tradition of European sport wagons. Even though the wagon has a large open cabin, the body structure felt tight and well-insulated from outside noise.

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While we had extra grip afforded by studded tires, the V60 Cross Country feels surefooted in all conditions and the all-wheel drive more than helpful in pulling the car out after drifting off a plowed surface into a snow bank. We also had a chance to take the V60 Cross Country over a small obstacle course that showed off its hill hold and descent capability, as well as its ability to traverse angled terrain, cross over ditches and buried logs thanks to it greater ground clearance than the standard wagon.

Driver assists

Volvo’s vaunted safety reputation is enhanced by the wide range of driver assists that are standard on the V60 Cross Country. Among these features are City Safety with Autobrake, Pilot Assist, with helps with steering acceleration and braking on well-marked roads up to 80 mph, as well as Run Off Road Mitigation, Oncoming Lane Mitigation as well as Lane Keeping Assist. There’s also optional rear cross traffic alert with automatic braking available.

When driving after dark in Sweden, which was really from about 3:30 in the afternoon on, the automatic light feature on the Cross Country was an interesting experience. Most press drivers occur in sunlight, so we have little experience in testing these systems on programs. Volvo’s automatic lighting was no only spot in in dipping the highs for oncoming traffic, but also would aim light beams left and right to pick up signs and other objects. Such a system is clearly influenced by the long Swedish nights when encounters with wildlife ranging from reindeer to moose means that even a split-second in lighting your peripheral vision can mean the difference between having and avoiding a collision.

 Pricing, availability

This packaging of the T5 AWD powertrain in the Cross Country slots neatly into the current Volvo V60 lineup, which starts with the front-drive T5 Momentum base model priced from $38,900. The step-up T5 FWD R-Design is $43,900. If you want AWD, you have to move up to a Momentum T6 for $43,400. The higher T6 trims are the R-Design at $48,400 and the top line Inscription at $49,400. All prices exclude $995 delivery.

So, with the 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country as the only T5 powertrain with AWD and its available only as is, (there’s no Momentum, R-Design or Inscription trims available), it’s reasonable to expect that it will be priced somewhere between the T6 Momentum and R-Design variants. As a result, we estimate the MSRP to come in somewhere around $44,500, or about $1,000 more than the base T6. In the V90/V90 Cross Country line, there exists a similar $1,000 step-up between the baes V90 at $51,450 and the Cross Country, which starts at $52,500 plus delivery.

Dealers will be accepting orders later in the first quarter with vehicles expected in showrooms by summer. Both the 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country and V6 wagons will be carried in inventory.

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