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Volvo S60 Cross Country First Drive Review


Volvo was never known for its whacky side. But of late they have been busy breaking Volvo stereotypes and the new S60 Cross Country is one such statement.

 

Volvo S60 Cross Country

 

Volvo cars can be called a lot of things over the Swedish car maker’s illustrious history but whacky is definitely not one of them. Yes, they’ve had some really off-beat concepts over the years and their latest offerings can be summed up as being elegant and quintessentially Swedish. So imagine my surprise when the first adjective that my neurons threw up as I lay my eyes on the new S60 Cross Country was, whacky? The term cross country usually brings up pictures of something big and burly with a massive engine and the ability to climb over boulders. It isn’t a word usually associated with luxury sedans. But now it seems it can be. 

 

Exterior and Design:

I’ll be completely honest here, at first glance, the S60 CC can be quite deceptive. I mean it looks almost exactly like the S60 sedan from most angles and the only thing that doesn’t fit with the S60 profile is the unusual height. It’s only when you step to the side of the car that you realize that this isn’t the standard S60 but one that could probably be the best suited luxury car for our Indian roads. Confused? Keep reading.  The S60 Cross Country boasts of a ground clearance of 201mm which means it has better ground clearance than all of its competition. Even luxury crossovers like the Audi Q3 (170mm), the new BMW X1 (193mm) and the GLA (183mm). In addition, it rides on 235 section Michelin Primacy 3ST tyres mounted on 18-inch alloys with a rather large sidewall. Aesthetically it looks like a jacked up version of the S60 with an imposing yet reassuring stance. And when you move around the back and notice the chrome badge that reads AWD do you realize that there is more to this car than meets the eye. 

 

Volvo S60 Cross Country front seats

 

Interiors and space:

Well, first thing, when you get into the car it feels like you’re getting into a slightly higher V40. It does feel bit bizarre but at the same time also feels curiously satisfying. The interior is typical of the S60. The large bucket seats feel comfortable to sit in, the plethora of buttons on the dashboard are intact along with a 7-inch infotainment screen that also doubles up as the display for the reverse assist camera. The upholstery is done entirely in leather with a black and brown theme. The seats are comfortable and there is ample space for four in the car. Though due to the sloping roofline, the headroom at the rear is a tad restricted, especially for the taller passengers. Kneeroom though is aplenty. 

 

Volvo S60 Cross Country dashboard

 

 

Features and equipment:

There is no dearth convenience equipment in the S60 Cross Country, the best part however is that the car is available in one trim only and that trim is fully loaded. You get electrically adjustable front seats with memory function for the driver’s seat. Dual-zone climate control comes in as standard and so does the sunroof, steering mounted controls and an electronic parking brake. It also comes with parking sensors both up front and at the rear coupled with a reversing camera with distance and obstacle indicator for low light conditions, rain sensing wipers also come in as standard. 

Safety has been given the highest priority like in all Volvos and the list of the safety equipment is long and exhaustive though, a heads-up-display though has been skipped. 2-step airbags are standard along with curtain airbags and whiplash protection for front seats. Also fitted as standard to the Cross Country is the Dynamic Stability Traction Control system or DTSC along with Volvo’s City safety braking system.

 

Volvo S60 Cross Country engine 2.4-litre, 5-cylinder turbo-diesel


Engine and performance:

This is where I explain the statement made earlier; there’s more to this car than meets the eye. The engine is a slightly down-tuned version of the D5 motor used in the standard car, emphasis on slightly. The 2.4-litre 5-cylinder turbo-diesel still makes 190PS of max power and 420Nm of peak torque, most of which is available from 1,500rpm. The engine is mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission which comes with paddle shifters for better control on manual shifting. Add to the mix a permanent All-Wheel-Drive system and a ground clearance of 201mm, and you’re looking a t a borderline tread-anywhere-ability. 

 

Volvo S60 Cross Country

 


Ride and ease of driving:

Ride, comfort and ease of driving have always been Volvo cars’ biggest attributes and the S60 Cross Country is no different. Normally raising the suspension of a car tends to give way to a fair amount of bodyroll, but there is no such case here. The car finds the perfect balance between a stiff and a soft setup for a great ride and good handling. The suspension travel has been increased which allows the S60 to navigate even the bigger undulations with ease. And the least of your concerns unlike in most luxury sedans, is the ground clearance. So it does feel a bit spooky but also guiltily gratifying as you glide over the broken pieces of road without even looking at the brakes as others gape at the car as if it is some sort of wizardry. Broken patches, dusty sections, even gravel poses little challenge to the Cross Country. Though, the downward travel of the suspension is quite limited which means the bigger potholes do tend to make themselves heard from time to time. 

On the move, the S60 feels planted and unwavering. The gearbox can run through the shifts seamlessly and the severity of the shifts depends on how much pressure is being applied to the throttle. At sedate speeds shifts are rather latent but as you start pushing the car, the faster they get. The electric power assist steering wheel too is speed sensitive and firms up considerably as the speed starts to climb and remains rather soft and light at sedate speeds. Though the material used on the steering wheel feels rather hard to touch and can get a tad uncomfortable if you’re used to turning your car one handed. Apart from that it is a great car to drive. Then there are the assistance systems, chief among which is the City Safety system which brakes automatically when it senses an impending crash and works till the speed of 50kmph. And much to my relief and embarrassment I found out that it actually works. 

 

Volvo S60 Cross Country ride quality

 

 

Handling and braking:

The S60 was always a decent handling car but thanks to the AWD system on the Cross Country is has become an even bigger hoot to drive. The understeer is almost eliminated and the direct steering makes the car quite agile. Couple that with the speed sensitive steering wheel and you get a car that remains planted even at high speeds. The only downside here is the size of the steering wheel, if it was a bit smaller, it would’ve made an already nimble car even more so especially in traffic. The disc brakes all round work rather well. Though the bite is immense, the feel is on the lower side. 

 

Volvo S60 Cross Country rear space

 

 

Price and efficiency:

Though the car hasn’t been launched yet, but when it does come onto our roads it will be priced between 40.0-43.0lakh ex-showroom Delhi, which makes it more affordable than the new top of the line facelift 3-series, Mercedes-Benz C-class and the Audi A4 quattro.  

 

Verdict:

Truth be told, the S60 Cross Country is a ca that is hard to summarise. The closest we can get is that it is a luxury, sport sedan crossover. And it is its peculiar nature that makes the car quite desirable. There is no doubt that the Cross Country will stand out in a crowd no matter where it goes. And along with being a luxury sedan from Sweden it also boasts of a ground clearance higher than most crossovers. It is the perfect luxury sedan for a country like ours where ground clearance on our expensive cars is our primal worry. And not just the ground clearance, the AWD system also gives you access to the rougher part of town and terrain. Simply put, where most luxury sedans tend to be like gowned beauties meant for the red carpet, the S60 CC is like Demi Moore with a Beretta strapped to her thigh.