By Frank S. Washington
CHICAGO – Volvo used terms like rugged, all weather and all road to describe its 2021 V60 Cross Country T5 AWD. But that description could not cover up the fact that this V60 was well equipped, luxurious and performance orientated.
They call the V60 an estate in Europe but in the U.S., it is a station wagon. But don’t get it twisted, Volvo has been known to make excellent wagons since the first one in the 1950s and its 2021 offering is no different.
The V60 was equipped with all sorts of stuff that you wouldn’t equate with sloshing through the woods. It had heated and cooled front seats with power extensions as well as heated rear seats.
A panoramic roof, heated steering wheel, adaptive cruise control, and wireless smartphone charging all contributed to a luxury experience. A surround view camera and the pilot assist system kept the vehicle in the lane.
On a quick weekend drive here, we tested this system. We took our hands off the wheel and let our V60 veer onto the lane marker. Pilot assist gently brought the car back into the center from the left or right lane marker.
Coupled with adaptive cruise control, the V60 could simulate driving itself. Automated cars are not as far off as you would think.
Volvo was so out front in terms of its interior design that even after five years the inside of the V60 did not look or feel old, nor was it out of date. The instruments were all digital. The infotainment touch screen was multipurpose. It operated like an iPad. We just slid it to either side get to the correct command menu and from there we could slide it up or down.
The front seats would massage us but, on the highway, we thought the relaxation that would cause was not a good thing. Those front seats had side bladders too that inflated to caress us and keep us firmly in place.
Volvo bills the V60 as a five-passenger vehicle. Because of the high tunnel that all wheel-drive mandates, we don’t think so. It is a four-passenger wagon; at least carrying four people in comfort.
The leather was soft and there was plenty of it. The wood trim was ample too. It reminded us of the Scandinavian philosophy of minimal elaboration. In other words, let the wood speak for itself. So it was that the covered sliding door to the center console was all wood as was a shelf of sorts that spanned the dash. It was surfaced with wood as well. This is such a second nature to Volvo; they didn’t even bother to mention it anywhere that we could find in the press material. But we think it was maple.
Powered by a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine, this V60 had 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque at 1,500 rpm. It had all wheel-drive and adjustable drive mode settings: eco, comfort, individual, dynamic, and off road meaning rough roads.
We took a V60 on a gravel road that led up a mountain in Banff, Alberta, Canada a couple of years ago to about 10,000 feet. It got us there with hardly a wheel slip.
Acceleration was smooth and assertive from just about any speed. We found the V60 very quick, reaction time to driver input was almost immediate. The engine was mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. It had a fuel rating of 22 mpg in the city, 31 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg combined.
We burned slightly less than half a tank of gasoline driving from Detroit to here and a little more than half coming back. We’re talking 270 miles one way. That wasn’t bad.
Adaptive LED headlights, blind spot alert, cross traffic alert with the rearview camera, driver alert control, pedestrian protection, lane departure warning, automatic braking and run off the road protection were part of a safety suite of technology.
Adaptive cruise control, a head up display, and surround camera were part of the advanced option package. A $4,000 premium sound system was a standalone option.
The sticker on our test vehicle was $57,290. And we don’t think the Volvo Cross Country T5 AWD was overpriced.
Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com