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Volvo V60 dressed to impress in country set lifestyle

14:55 04 January 2016

Volvo V60 Cross Country boasts raised ground clearance and body protection which gives it a more purposeful look.

Volvo V60 Cross Country boasts raised ground clearance and body protection which gives it a more purposeful look.

Volvo

Volvo has expanded its niche Cross Country model range with a butcher V60 lifestyle estate. Motoring editor Andy Russell says it certainly looks the part.

Volvo V60 Cross Country

Price: Volvo V60 Cross Country D3 SE Nav £30,995 (range £30,445 to £38,025)

Engine: 1,969cc, 150hp, four-cylinder turbo diesel

Performance: 0-62mph 9.1 seconds; top speed 127mph

MPG: Urban 61.4; extra urban 70.6; combined 67.3

CO2 emissions: 111g/km

Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 20%

Insurance group: 26 (out of 50)

Warranty: Three years or 60,000 miles

Will it fit in the garage? L 4,638mm; W (including door mirrors) 2,097mm; H 1,545mm

It looks the part

I have a pair of rugged walking boots which rarely get muddy and some orange running shoes that look great even if I rarely break into a trot. But I like them, they look good and make me feel the part when I do a long hike or fancy some exercise.

Many motorists also have a love affair with 4x4s and sport utility vehicles but never plan to get them muddy or go off-road but driving one makes them feel good.

It’s also led to some niche vehicles filling gaps in the market. Take Volvo’s Cross Country range, launched with the V70 estate nearly 20 years ago and now dubbed XC70, but its success has seen the Swedish car-maker expand the range to include the V40 hatchback, S60 saloon and now the V60 lifestyle estate.

So what’s new?

Take a V60, continually in Volvo’s top three sellers in the UK, raise ground clearance by 65mm and butch up the bodywork with front and back skid plates, side scuff plates, plastic wheel arch protectors, bigger, chunkier bumpers – embossed with ‘Cross Country’ at the back – and integrated exhaust tailpipes.

The standard V60 is a good looker and the Cross Country’s extra garnish really sets off its smart lines, making it look more purposeful which will appeal the country set.

It adds £1,200 to the price of the D3 SE Nav versions I drove, which is not unreasonable for the more muscular look.

Under the bonnet

The V60 Cross Country is diesel only with the new 150 and 190hp 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo diesel engines in front-wheel drive D3 and D4 while the all-wheel drive D4 uses the five-cylinder 190PS 2.4-litre turbo diesel mated only to an eight-speed automatic gearbox.

The V60 Cross Country is more about looks, with the extra ground clearance useful on rutted tracks, rather than serious off-road ability but the extra traction will useful for those who tow.

The D3 engine is enough for most needs, a good blend of performance and economy and very quiet, barely audible at motorway speeds, while the six-speed manual gearbox has a precise shift. Everyday driving returned 45mpg with a lot of urban driving to 55mpg on the open road.

How does it drive?

I was expecting that, with the V60 riding higher thanks to the extra ground clearance, the driving experience would have suffered so was pleasantly surprised that it is still a capable, comfortable cruiser. It also corners confidently although that taller stance does lead to some body lean if you’re really pressing on along twisty routes.

The low-speed ride is fidgety and bouncy at the back end, particularly when travelling light, on bumpy roads but smoothes out with speed and there’s very little road noise which, combined with the quiet engine, makes long journeys rather relaxing.

Space and comfort

The V60 is more lifestyle estate than large load-lugger but will seat four average adults quite comfortably but passengers over six foot may find legroom tight in the back even if headroom is not a problem.

The 430-litre boot is quite shallow with a high floor, and little storage space beneath it, but for more cargo carrying capacity rear seat backs split 60/40 and fold flat with the boot floor to open up a 1,241-litre load bay.

At the wheel

The driving position has a good range of adjustment so it can be tailored to all shapes and sizes and the instruments are easy to take in at a glance but the V60 still has the old-style control panel packed with lots of small, fiddly buttons for various functions, including the heating and ventilation, which take some time to find your way round and are not ideal to use on the move as you have to look down at them.

But the cabin has a real quality feel with soft-touch plastics and trim highlights and a reassuringly solid action to the main controls and stalks.

The most unnerving thing was the driver’s seat heater automatically switching on with the engine which spooked me the first time it happened and then, as someone who hates heated seats, just niggled me having to keep turning it off.

Final say

The V60 Cross Country is going to be an acquired taste with its extra body protection which some would see as unnecessary but, in rural settings, it looks the part. And, for some, it gives the right impression and that’s all that matters.

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Andy Russell

Andy Russell

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EDP motoring editor, journalist who loves wheels and engines but hates cleaning them.

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