If there is a niche to be filled, expect most carmakers to fill it with some creative engineering teams. Volvo is no different and the S60 Cross Country is the company’s latest attempt to attract buyers from the SUV segment. The car is essentially the S60 sedan, which now gets additional ground clearance, plenty of body cladding, a scruff plate and all-wheel drive to help its 4x4 credentials. Volvo hopes that this will push the car’s desirability among lifestyle buyers.
There is little denying that the S60 manages to look attractive from all angles. The huge grille in the front along with the sharp and angular lamps gives it a very aggressive stance. This stance is further enhanced by the long bonnet. The short and stubby boot along with the C-shaped lamps give it plenty of personality too. The scruff plate up ahead as well as the plastic cladding around the body also give it lots of muscle. At 201mm, this car’s ground clearance is better than even the Audi Q3 and Mercedes GLA, its main rivals at this price point.
The extra ground clearance means that this car is easy to get in and out of. Once you are inside, you will love the seats. Both rows offer excellent cushioning as well as support. The front one’s especially offer very good side bolstering, which is terrific for track days.
The materials used for the seat upholstery is first rate too and that along with the plethora of features on offer gives this car a ‘fee good’ factor missing in many rivals. First time users might get intimidated by the clutter of buttons on the dashboard, but once you get the hang of it, you will realise that it’s a very easy to operate place. Other niceties include different colour themes for the gauges back lights, which you can change at the flick of a button.
Engine, performance and gearbox
The S60 Cross Country will come with only one engine option in the form of a 2.4-litre diesel motor. This engine develops 189bhp of power and 420Nm of torque. Power is sent to the wheels via a six-speed automatic gearbox. The Volvo uses an intelligent 4x4 system, which uses many electronics and detects which wheel needs maximum traction and which wheel is slipping and needs least. This helps the system send power to the wheel with max traction and helps the car get out of a sticky situation.
The engine is pretty silent for the most part and it’s only when you rev it really hard that it becomes audible inside the cabin. The gearbox is decent in terms of shifts. The best part is that the gearbox helps mask the car’s turbo lag, which is present below 1600-1700 rpm. Overall performance is good and acceleration is brisk.
Ride and handling
Volvo has increased the ride height of the Cross country over the regular sedan. But that said, most owners will only take it off the road to explore some broken muddy roads with unpaved cement rather than take it over sharp crevices. The car is an able handler and ride comfort is good at both slow city speeds as well as highway. The car never feels uncomfortably stiff or harsh even on the worst road conditions. The steering is adroit as well giving you loads of feedback. As speeds increase the steering tends to add weight adding to the sense of involvement.
The Volvo S60 Cross Country comes across as a fantastic mix of the comfort, features and practicality of a sedan along with the 4x4 abilities as well as looks of a premium SUV. Volvo seems to be onto something big here.
Images by Mohd. Nasir