If you love the handling of a sedan but need to go at times to places with bad roads and cannot buy two cars for this requirement, Volvo has you covered. Meet the new S60 Cross Country, wherein Volvo gave S60 the Cross Country treatment. What that means is that the S60 Cross Country now has qualities of SUVs in order to overcome slush, bad roads, sand and similar off-road conditions. That sounds like a perfect vehicle for weekday office runs and the weekend trip to the farmhouse or an adventure drive. The fact is that it only sounds perfect for the job as of now so we decided to drive the S60 Cross Country and find out if it strikes the balance or misses out due to compromises.
EXTERIOR AND LOOKS ;
Unlike the V40 Cross Country, where the differences from the standard car are purely cosmetic, the S60 Cross Country has also had its suspension lifted. The ground clearance is now a proper 201mm which, Volvo is happy to point out, is more than what any of the current crop of compact luxury SUVs offer. It also gets all-wheel drive as standard, and of course, there is the usual smattering of rugged add-ons – black plastic wheel-arch cladding, silver scuff plates and a rather nice-looking honeycomb grille. The look actually works surprisingly well, and the S60 CC comes off as purposeful, rather than awkward. What really helps are the larger wheels and tyres, which add some much needed bulk to fill up those wheel arches. They’re attractive 18-inchers with 50-profile tyres, and that means ride comfort should also be well catered to.
INTERIOR AND SPACE ;
– There are no changes on the interior front as well so you get the same dashboard and layout of the cabin but the upholstery is quite different. The seats get a dual tone orange and black combination, which really stands out and adds to the feel good factor about the cabin. They look quite youthful and are extremely comfortable to sit in, thanks to the under-thigh and back support. The steering wheel is the same 3-spoke unit with all the necessary buttons for the infotainment and cruise control. The all-digital TFT instrument cluster is the party piece of the Volvo S60. You can change themes according to your mood, you have three option – Eco, Elegance and Sport.
The interior of the S60 looks a tad dated but is driver friendly with supportive seats and convenient ergonomics The centre console of the Volvo S60 Cross Country looks quite busy with infinite set of buttons and knobs. It is tilted towards the driver, which is very convenient but you have to get used to so many buttons on it. It gets dual zone climate control system, so the air conditioning is superb and chills the cabin very quickly. The infotainment screen is not a touch screen unit and the system is not too user friendly, you need to figure out a few knobs and buttons to operate the menu. However, it shows exhaustive details about the car including oil levels, tyre pressure, service info, etc. Bluetooth pairing is easy and the audio system quality is very good.
The screen in the middle doubles up as a display for the reverse camera with dynamic guide lines. For the front you have proximity parking sensors. The inside rear-view mirror looks very cool because it is frameless and also shows the direction in which the car is moving, neat! The fit, finish and quality levels are excellent and feel long lasting. Even the feel of the switches and knobs is quite solid, you get nice and tactile feedback from the stalks and window switches. Space at the back is just okay, only meant for two adults with limited headroom and legroom. We won’t recommend it for chauffeur driven people. Thankfully Volvo has added a space saver spare wheel in the boot which is kept in a flat box to keep things tidy unlike some German rivals that throw a spare wheel in the boot without a hard cover. Yes it does eat some space but looks tidy in the Volvo and is practical.
ENGINE AND PERFOMANCE ;
As with any Volvo’s, the powertrain is quite the hero in here too mainly driving in inner parts and the outskirts of the city. The Volvo S60 Cross Country derives power from the same 2.4-litre turbo-charged five-cylinder diesel unit seen in the regular S60 sedan. But, it’s been detuned to pump out a maximum power output of 190 PS and 420 Nm of peak torque as against 215 PS and 440 Nm. The all-wheel drive system is offered as standard and it transfers power to the rear wheels only when needed by calibrating the surface conditions and traction level. The linear power delivery is due to the six-speed automatic transmission with smooth gear shifting even on congested roads. Additionally, the driver can use the paddle shifters on auto mode as well by flicking the + plus side to gear up or – side to shift down. This is a clever way to ramp up the speed or do a quick overtaking without having to wait for the torque to kick in at a long press of the throttle. You can engage Sport mode and get not alarmed about as the engine is highly user-friendly regardless of where you take the car for a spin. You can hear the turbo-five sing its harmony when the suspension stiffens up, throttle response made sharper and the engine becomes more responsive on Sport mode. You can feel certain amount of vibration inside the cabin while idling and the motor does put a smile on your face. With that said, it is well refined and not as awe-inspiring as a BMW but it will get there eventually.The future versions will have four-pod Drive-E units as Volvo is set to phase out the existing engines above 2,000 cc by next year. It gets off the line aggressively and at above 120 kmph speeds it comes alive so well. But in the lower band, at around 2,000 rpm, you get diesel clutter but this motor is well suited on dirty surfaces and makes the ride enjoyable on regular tarma
RIDE AND HANDLING ;
On the move, the S60 feels planted and unwavering. The gearbox can run through the shifts seamlessly and the severity of the shifts depends on how much pressure is being applied to the throttle. At sedate speeds shifts are rather latent but as you start pushing the car, the faster they get. The electric power assist steering wheel too is speed sensitive and firms up considerably as the speed starts to climb and remains rather soft and light at sedate speeds. Though the material used on the steering wheel feels rather hard to touch and can get a tad uncomfortable if you’re used to turning your car one handed. Apart from that it is a great car to drive. Then there are the assistance systems, chief among which is the City Safety system which brakes automatically when it senses an impending crash and works till the speed of 50kmph. And much to my relief and embarrassment I found out that it actually works.
The S60 was always a decent handling car but thanks to the AWD system on the Cross Country is has become an even bigger hoot to drive. The understeer is almost eliminated and the direct steering makes the car quite agile. Couple that with the speed sensitive steering wheel and you get a car that remains planted even at high speeds. The only downside here is the size of the steering wheel, if it was a bit smaller, it would’ve made an already nimble car even more so especially in traffic. The disc brakes all round work rather well. Though the bite is immense, the feel is on the lower side.
The 2017 S60 Cross Country comes with a raft of standard safety features that include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front-seat side airbags, side curtain airbags and whiplash-reducing front head restraints.
Also standard are a rearview camera, frontal collision warning and mitigation with automatic braking (includes pedestrian and cyclist detection), lane departure warning and intervention, Volvo’s On Call system and rear parking sensors. Blind-spot monitoring with rear cross-traffic alert and front parking sensors are optional.
Volvo S60 Cross Country carries an all rounder character with its stand out style and muscular presence, all-wheel drivetrain, cockpit-inspired waterfall console tilted towards the driver and with the most noticeable asset of 201 mm ground clearance. The rugged packaging gives the confidence to push the limits and in a nutshell, the S60 Cross Country delivers the luxury and comfort of a sedan along with the bolder presence and off-roading ability of a Sub Utility Vehicle.