Volvo’s long been known for its wagons, and the latest V60 Cross Country conjures up memories of wagons past.
Back in 2004, I visited Mexico’s Baja Peninsula. Driving the then-current Volvo XC70 Cross Country, I did something many people would deem unthinkable. Starting on the eastern coast of the peninsula, I crossed the peninsula’s spine — the Sierra San Pedro — to its west coast, using no roads at all. Following a barely marked network of burro trails, sometimes scrambling inch by inch over huge rocks, the competence of the XC70 amazed me.
Once I reached the west coast, I headed north on what could only be described as a “washboard” gravel road, over which I saw speeds well into triple digits. The journey was so arduous, I expected the Volvo to shiver like a wet dog and send body parts flying all directions when I arrived at my destination. But it didn’t, and I came away from that adventure with a great deal of respect for the capabilities of the Volvo Cross Country.
Some 20 years later, I found myself once again traversing a Sierra at the wheel of a Volvo Cross Country. This time it was Northern California’s Sierra Nevada and the Volvo demonstrated itself to still be wholly capable of handling anything it encountered. One of the most memorable aspects of both trips were the looks of sheer amazement on the faces of people the Volvos and I encountered when they saw us emerging — wholly unscathed, save for generous coatings of dust — from landscapes the word “foreboding” would only mildly describe.
Not the Vista Cruiser
I get it though. When people see a Volvo Cross Country their minds say, “station wagon.” However, the sleek Volvo is far more than just a station wagon, it’s a genuinely capable off-road device with the ability to go wheel to wheel with all but the most exceptionally gifted off-road SUVs.
You know, the G-Wagens, Range Rovers, Land Cruisers, and Grand Cherokees of the world. Although, truth be told, given the minimal demands the vast majority of the owners of those vehicles impose upon them, the Volvo is more than capable in that regard as well.
A 247-horsepower turbocharged 4-cylinder engine powers the Volvo V60 Cross Country B5 for the 2024 model year. The powerplant is tuned to deliver that output at 5,400 rpm — along with 258 lb-ft of torque at 1,800. An eight-speed automatic transmission feeds all four wheels. EPA-rated fuel economy is 24 mpg in the city, 31 on the highway and 27 overall.
There was a time when every automaker offered a station wagon of some sort. Sadly, those days
are gone, and the SUV is the station wagon of the 21st century. Meanwhile, the 2024 Volvo V60 Cross Country B5 handily demonstrates there is no need to put up with the compromises SUVs inflict.
The V60 Cross Country is sized nicely, handles well on pavement, delivers good fuel economy and is one of the best-looking automobiles offered today. It is also one of the most comfortable.
Inside presents a stunning vista
Settling behind the wheel of the Volvo, one is immediately impressed with the style, quality and usefulness of its interior fittings. All controls are placed logically, the oversized infotainment screen is easily deciphered, and the materials choices are absolutely first cabin.
The beauty of Scandinavian design is wholly apparent, demonstrating once again the fact that true elegance resides in simplicity. Clean lines dominate the look and please the eye masterfully. Just the right amounts of wood and metal trim are strategically juxtaposed against supple leather upholstery to create an effect that can only be characterized as upscale.
Ably punctuating the luxurious surroundings, the Volvo’s equipment list is quite generous. The front seating positions are heated and ventilated, ambient lighting provides subtle cabin illumination at night and incoming air is purified before it is permitted to reach your nostrils. My 2024 Volvo also featured a head-up display and a 15-speaker Bowers and Wilkins audio system.
Practicality is considered too. You’ll find 71.7 cubic feet of cargo capacity with the second row of seats folded away. One of my colleagues managed to convince the V60 C
ross Country to hold 22 carry-on sized suitcases in that arrangement. The Volvo will accommodate 40.7 cubic feet of cargo with the second row deployed and will accept eight carry-ons in that configuration. Door pockets abound. The storage bin underneath the center armrest is decidedly capacious and the glove box is amenable to handling far more than just gloves.
Safe and sound
Volvo hasn’t sacrificed its position as a leader in safety either. Driver assistance features such as lane-keeping assist, automated emergency braking and additional collision-avoidance technologies are standard. The Volvo also has a semi-autonomous driving mode.
Simply put, the 2024 Volvo V60 B5 AWD is pretty much all anyone would ever need. It’s capable of taking four people and their luggage just about anywhere—and bringing them back. Handsome, comfortable, luxurious, spacious and well equipped, it’s also capable of doing so with outstanding aplomb.
I like it.
Pricing starts at $50,300.