It hasn’t been the smoothest of rides for Volvo over the five years since the Swedish corporation was taken over by Geely Holding Group (China). In the interim a lot of activity has been going on behind the scenes, including design overhauls and futuristic tech inclusions. In fact, by 2019 Volvo will launch a completely new fleet and be well on the way to reclaiming their rightful place in the limelight.
The 2016 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 AWD is one of the first clues as to where the carmaker is headed, while including nods to the past and quintessential Volvo elements. As we’ll see, Volvo hasn’t quite refined the prototype yet, and a few features are elementary.
However, the overall package proves that station wagons are bringing sexy back. Stylish, and utilitarian as ever, let’s take a closer look at the new 2016 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 AWD.
It would have been tempting for Volvo designers to create an ostentatious off-road bandit, and we’re glad they didn’t succumb because the restrained results are perfect. From the roof cross rails and brush guards to the tinted windows and front and rear skid plates, the whole package is gorgeous.
A metallic paint job adorned our test vehicle, and came with the top-of-the-line Platinum trim. The $3,650 trim included auto-dimming exterior mirrors, adaptive xenon headlights and LED daytime running lights.
With winter approaching, the inclusion of heated power outside rearview mirrors (with memory) is a brilliant addition. The power retractable exterior mirrors are also of the highest quality and 19-inch BOR matte black wheels hold 235/50 Continental all-season tires. Rounding things out is the honeycomb grille and black-trimmed fender arches.
If things look a little familiar inside the V60 Cross Country, it’s for good reason; the dashboard is the very same set-up found in sibling S60/V60 Volvo’s.
Unfortunately, the center stack remains stuck in the past with convoluted buttons and a confusing interface. The screen itself though, is modern and stylish.
Interior accent lighting come standard with the Platinum trim and the Harman Kardon premium sound system (160W high performance) with 8 speakers blared for the duration of our test week.
The premium interior is highlighted by stunning shimmer graphite aluminum inlay compliments, urbane wood inlays and a leather and silk metal steering wheel.
The seats are as you’d expect: comfortable beyond belief. The driver gets an 8-way power sports seat with 3-position memory and lumbar support. The front passenger receives a similar seat, while those out the back ride on some of the plushest 40/20/40 flat folding seats with center armrest. I was on babysitting duties for some of my test week and I found the power child lock indispensable, especially because the children in question struggled to sit still for longer than two seconds. Likewise, the dual outboard two-stage child booster seats are of the highest standard.
Bothered by the cold, or reside in a chilly climate? This is the car for you. The V60 Cross Country enjoys a Climate Package with heated front seats, windshield, steering wheel and heated windshield washer nozzles. But don’t worry, this isn’t a car exclusively for eskimos, and it features an impressive interior air quality system and dual-zone electronic climate control.
A 2.5L turbocharged 5-cylinder engine with CVVT and DOHC powers the V60 Cross Country, and is paired with a 6-speed Geartronic automatic transmission with Advanced Quick Shift (AQS). This combination offers up to 250 horsepower at 5500 rpm (that’s 10 horsepower more than the front-wheel drive) and 266 lb.-ft. of torque at 1800 rpm.
Drive performance can be customized to suit your needs, and comes in three varieties: Eco, Elegance (normal) and Performance. Activation is simple and ergonomic, and can be found to the left of the steering wheel stalk.
We spent a lot of time in Performance mode, but trialed all three. The display screen alters graphics and color themes depending on what mode is selected. Unsurprisingly, the Eco mode uses predominantly green lighting, while the Performance mode illuminated the screen in red hues.
The Touring Chassis was bestowed with Advanced Stability Control and did its job without fault, as did the front MacPherson strut and rear multi-link suspension.
AWD with Instant Traction is a capable system from Haldex. Again, the system was designed for cold climates, so we couldn’t really appreciate its full range in sunny old California.
While we may not have freezing temperatures, we do have rough roads, and we did our best to drive over as many of them as possible. The good news is the Cross Country never faltered, and tackled whatever we threw at it with ease.
Stability and Corner Traction Control is aided by the Torque Vectoring System, which brakes the inside wheel. Additionally, an involved network of active safety systems brings the car to a rapid halt without danger of losing control.
No complains about steering; the Power Assisted Rack and Pinion steering was like a bat out of hell in its response time.
This ULEV (ultra-low emissions vehicle) with turbocharged engine is said to achieve 20 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway for a combined 23 mpg. During our week with the car we tested the turbo and recorded below the average at 22 mpg.
Grab a cup of tea, because the list of tech inclusion is lengthy. Keyless drive, HomeLink integrated garage door opener and rear park assist camera are just the beginning.
Vying for attention is the electronic ignition with push button start and stop, electronic parking brake and Electronic Stability Control with Hill Descent Control. One of my favorite features was the electronic brake distribution and assistance, and it saved my bacon a few times when I was being overly heavy on the gas.
If you do find yourself driving the Cross Country over extreme terrain, rest assured the 3-point safety belts and Unibody high strength steel safety cage will keep everyone securely in place.
Airbags come in the form of Inflatable Curtain (IC) head impact protection and Side Impact Protection System (SIPS) with driver and front passenger dual chamber side-impact airbags. But wait, there’s more! A driver and front passenger dual stage supplemental restraint system compliment padded head restraints and a whiplash protection system. Basically, you become invincible once entering this Volvo.
If the aforementioned specs didn’t convince you of your safety, let me introduce you to the Technology Package, which boasts distance alert, driver alert control, collision warning and lane departure warning (among other things).
Another bonus was the BLIS package (Volvo really did spoil us this past week), and its lane change merge aid, blind spot infotainment system and cross traffic alert.
Some convenient extras that I had fun playing with were the electronic ignition with push button start and stop and electronic parking brake.
Plenty of entertainment features have made their way into the Cross Country, but we couldn’t help feeling disappointed with the small 7-inch color, LCD monitor. In 2015, this just doesn’t fly. Nevertheless, the Sensus Navigation worked well and the dash was given a single CD input with WMA and MP3 capability, plus HD radio and USB/AUX portals.
Complimentary subscriptions are extensive and include Sensus Connect (for Wi-Fi), Volvo On-Call and SIRIUS radio, plus 10-year emergency crash notification.
What we loved: The sleek design, high stance, impressive engine and near-perfect steering response are worthy of praise. We also like the unflappable AWD system and smooth ride even on unpaved roads. The multitude of safety features is up to Volvo’s usually high standard, and the plush seats are good enough to sleep on.
What we didn’t like: For an ultra-low emissions vehicle we expected the fuel stats to be better, and we would have appreciated more cargo space and a few extra inches in the rear.
With a price tag of $49,775 (including all those extras and premium packages) the 2016 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 AWD represents value for money, and looks like an ideal option for active, outdoorsy families who pack light.
The Cross Country is competing in a market saturated with small SUVs and crossover vehicles. The Volvo was designed in direct competition to the powerful, and affordable, Audi Allroad. The Cross Country does its damndest to overtake the Audi, but lacks the Allroad’s stylish cladding and awesome styling.
Photo Credit: Copyright 2015 Victor Mosqueda / Car Fanatics Blog