What is it like to drive?
From launch the V60 Cross Country is only available with the mid-range 2.0-litre D4 diesel engine. It uses twin-turbochargers to make 187bhp and 295lb ft, which is sent to all four wheels through an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The 247bhp T5 petrol - also 2.0-litres - will be offered in the not-too-distant future, and that’s the one we’ve been driving.
And it’s…fine. Quiet enough at low revs, although not especially smooth when the revs rise. Fast enough, certainly, with 0-62mph happening in 6.8 seconds, but that’s not really relevant because this is one of those cars where you immediately and without realising adapt a very laid-back style of driving. One where you never use more than half-throttle because it simply isn’t necessary. Where you rest one elbow on the door, the other on the centre console, and drive everywhere with your fingertips at eight and four. Where you let people out of side turnings, and don’t stare menacingly at other badly behaved motorists.
The easy steering and exceptionally comfortable seats are contributing factors. Even the eight-speed automatic gearbox behaves itself most of the time, which is good because one of the few issues we’ve had with V60s in the past was a clunky, indecisive gearbox.
Even in Dynamic mode, this is in no way an exciting car to drive. Just quietly competent, and satisfyingly fuss-free. The drive mode selector is best left well alone, as a matter of fact - the V60CC is so happy in default Comfort mode you won’t ever feel the need to try the others.
Except, perhaps, ‘Off-Road’ mode. This mode, which only operates below 25mph, calibrates the engine, gearbox and all-wheel drive system to better handle slippery surfaces, ups the power assistance for the steering and automatically enables hill descent control. So selected, the V60CC will get far farther off-road than most of its owners will ever need or want it to.
Cross Country means 60mm of extra ground clearance, and suspension set up to be softer and more “comfort oriented”, says Volvo. We drove the V60CC in northern Sweden, on icy, snowy roads with temperatures hovering around -27 degrees celsius. All the cars available to test were fitted with studded tyres, meaning it was tricky to get to grips with the ride and handling. In the UK the V60 ought to feel soft. Out here it handles bigger bumps and undulating road surfaces OK, but patters a bit over washboards and broken surfaces. Hopefully most of that’s down to the tyres - we’ll find out for sure when we get a go in the UK.