Nine-time 24hrs champion gives the current crop some tips
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The Top Gear car review:Volvo V60 Cross Country
For:Looks ace, is incredibly relaxing to drive
Against:Never exciting, touchscreen fiddly at times. And we don’t know how it really rides yet
What is it?
Another one of those jacked-up estate cars, for people who quite like the idea of an SUV, but don’t really want one. We like them a lot.
The Volvo V60 Cross Country takes the regular V60 - the Swedes’ answer to the BMW 3 Series Estate, Mercedes C-Class Estate and Audi A4 Estate - and adds 60mm of ground clearance, all-wheel drive, hill-descent control and ‘Charcoal’ (read: big black plastic) wheel-arch extensions. It’s expected to account for ten per cent of all V60 sales in the UK.
It’s the same formula Volvo’s used for decades, most recently with the bigger V90 Cross Country - add height, soften suspension, clad in plastic, profit. Easy - especially as the V60 only has one real competitor, the Audi A4 Allroad.
The idea is that the V60 Cross Country will get far enough off-road to suit pretty much anyone (as Tom Ford proved when he took the Mercedes E-Class All-terrain bear hunting in an Estonian forest, these types of cars are usually far more capable off-road than you expect/we give them credit for) but at the same time isn’t quite as big or as brash as a similarly practical, conventional SUV.
The old V60 had a little bit too much in common with an ancient Ford Focus, but this new one (which was released in early 2018) rides on the same ‘SPA’ platform that lives under Volvo’s excellent 90 series cars. That means loads of active and passive safety tech, a massive 10cm increase in wheelbase (giving corresponding improvements in rear-seat and luggage space) and under the bonnet space only for four-cylinder engines.
Well, we say ‘engines’. From launch the only available motor is the mid-range D4 diesel, though the T5 petrol will be added later.
Inside it’s just as we’ve come to expect from current-generation Volvos - a neat, Scandi design with most functions controlled through a responsive portrait touchscreen that dominates the centre console.