Used 2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country Wagon Review

Combining a sleek wagon body with the ride height and capabilities of a crossover, the 2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country is an intriguing concept, though its disappointing fuel economy, acceleration and interior space may give some shoppers pause.




what's new

The 2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country is a new vehicle.

vehicle overview

The 2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country started life as a standard-issue V60 wagon, but then Volvo sent it to SUV finishing school. The result is a genre-bending vehicle that blends the sleek styling of a wagon with the ruggedness of a crossover SUV. Otherwise, the V60 Cross Country remains true to its roots, which means it has state-of-the-art safety features, a handsome cabin and exceptionally comfortable front seats. But with upgrades like 7.4 inches of ground clearance and underbody skid plates, the V60 Cross Country is equipped to tackle a wider range of challenges.

The muscled-up character of this Volvo is clear from its elevated ride height and dark fender extenders, which give it an SUV-like appearance at a glance. Instead of the expected boxy body, however, the V60 Cross Country flaunts slippery, sculpted sheet metal that comes courtesy of its sport wagon heritage. Not surprisingly, it mostly retains the carlike character of the regular V60 from the driver seat, except that the added height gives you a superior vantage point in traffic. That's an appealing concept for shoppers who prefer true wagons like the V60 but wouldn't mind some crossover elements, too.

At this point, it may seem like the Cross Country is the V60 of choice. However, as it comes standard with all-wheel drive, it must make do with a previous-generation Volvo powertrain that produces slower acceleration and considerably lower fuel economy than the front-wheel-drive V60 Drive-E model. Rival wagons are superior as well. Then there are downsides shared with the regular V60. Rear legroom is relatively tight, which is a problem that crossovers generally avoid with their taller bodies and upright rear benches. Also disappointing is the Cross Country's maximum cargo capacity of 43.8 cubic feet, which puts it on par with compact hatchbacks.

For 2015, your choices for luxury wagons are few, but those remaining picks might be better alternatives. If you are looking for greater space, capability and fuel economy from a wagon and aren't horribly concerned with a luxury badge or premium cabin appointments, the 2015 Subaru Outback has an awful lot to offer. If you want to stick with upscale European models, the 2015 Audi Allroad and 2015 BMW 3 Series Wagon offer sportier handling dynamics and more modern engines. The latter also boasts a more spacious and versatile cabin. The 2015 Volvo XC70 is an older design, but it's airier inside and lets Volvo fans keep it in the family. Then there are any number of desirable, similarly priced compact luxury SUVs.

Frankly, it's hard to make a strong case for the 2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country by the numbers, as its handful of alternatives are more versatile and efficient overall. But if you like the idea of a sophisticated luxury wagon with some off-roading tricks up its sleeve, it's worth giving the high-riding Cross Country a shot.

trim levels & features

The 2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country is an entry-level luxury wagon with a raised suspension, giving it light-duty off-road capability. It comes in two trim levels: base and Platinum.

Standard features for the base trim include 18-inch alloy wheels, front and rear skid plates, roof rails, automatic headlights, LED running lights, power-folding mirrors, automatic wipers, a power sunroof, front and rear foglights, remote engine start and rear parking sensors. Interior highlights include an auto-dimming rearview mirror, a configurable digital instrument display, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, eight-way power front seats (with power lumbar adjustment), driver memory settings, 40/20/40-split rear seatbacks with power-folding head restraints, a navigation system, a 3G data connection with WiFi hotspot capability, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 7-inch central display, smartphone app integration and an eight-speaker audio system with a CD player, satellite and HD radio, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB/iPod interface.

Two options packages are offered on the base trim. The Convenience package includes keyless entry and ignition, a rearview camera, an integrated garage door opener and a digital compass, while the Technology package consists of adaptive cruise control, an enhanced forward collision mitigation system (including pedestrian and bicyclist detection), lane departure warning, automatic high beams and a drowsiness monitor.

The Platinum trim includes the Convenience and Technology packages as standard, and it adds adaptive xenon headlights, auto-dimming exterior mirrors, interior accent lighting and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system.

Optional bundles on both trims include the Climate package (providing an upgraded air filtration system, along with heating (for the windshield washer nozzles, steering wheel and front and rear seats) and the Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) package (providing a blind spot warning system, rear cross-traffic alert, front parking sensors and lane change/merge assist).

Stand-alone options include a few of the bundled items above as well as interior wood trim, a pair of built-in child booster seats (which delete the heated rear seats if specified) and a rear seat entertainment system with dual screens.

performance & mpg

The 2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country is powered by a turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder that produces 250 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. It sends power to all four wheels via a six-speed automatic transmission. In Edmunds.com testing, though, a V60 Cross Country accelerated from zero to 60 mph in 7.5 seconds, which is about a full second slower than the front-wheel-drive V60 Drive-E as well as other wagons and compact SUVs.

EPA-estimated fuel economy for the Cross Country stands at 23 mpg combined (20 city/28 highway), a lackluster figure in comparison to some other luxury crossover SUVs. It achieved 24.5 mpg on the Edmunds evaluation route, which is significantly worse than the front-wheel-drive V60 Drive-E model that returned 32.9 mpg on the same route.

safety

The 2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country's list of standard safety features includes antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. Also standard is Volvo's City Safety forward collision mitigation system, which detects imminent collisions with other cars and can automatically apply the brakes. The Technology package features an enhanced version of this system that can detect pedestrians and cyclists.

Additional safety options include lane departure warning, blind spot warning with rear cross-traffic alert, lane change/merge assist and a driver drowsiness monitor.

In crash tests conducted by the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety, the regular V60 received the top score of "Good" in every tested category. Its frontal crash prevention technology also received a rating of "Superior." The higher-riding V60 Cross Country had not been crash tested as of this writing.

In Edmunds brake testing, the V60 Cross Country came to a stop in 127 feet, which is a few feet longer than average.

driving

Like the regular V60, the Cross Country is generally a pleasant small wagon to drive. It is smaller and more maneuverable than a compact SUV, yet unlike with the regular V60, you do get a modicum of the elevated view out that SUV drivers enjoy. The Cross Country's elevated ride height also imbues it with the ability to tackle light off-roading challenges such as rutted dirt roads or grassy fields. The extra ground clearance may also be a plus for those who live in places where snowplows are slow to clear the roads.

The steering is nicely weighted and linear in its effort as you turn, but the Cross Country's handling around turns suffers from a lack of tire grip and some body roll. The regular V60 is much sharper to drive. Oddly, the Cross Country also has a surprisingly firm ride along with an elevated amount of vibration that makes its way into the cabin over bumps. Finally, acceleration feels quicker than our instrumented testing would indicate, but the six-speed automatic transmission is a bit dim-witted and the engine itself emits a rather uncouth growl.

interior

The 2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country features a stylish interior crafted of premium materials. There's definitely some Swedish flair here, and the overall ambience is one of understated luxury. A driver-configurable digital gauge cluster provides three pre-programmed looks, giving the V60 Cross Country a high-tech character that not all rivals can match. The "Sensus" infotainment system is for the most part user-friendly, with our main quibble being the control knob's location on the dash, as console-mounted knobs tend to be easier for the driver to operate. Some may also find the recessed 7-inch display a bit basic by current standards.

The front seats are some of the most comfortable and supportive you'll find in any car, at any price. It's as if Volvo hired a chiropractor to design them -- they're that good. Shorter occupants may find the fixed headrests positioned too far forward, however. Adults in the rear seats may also wish for more legroom, though kids should fare well enough. Speaking of kids, the available built-in booster seats are remarkably handy for parents and grandparents who need to transport little ones from time to time.

Fold those rear seatbacks down and you'll end up with 43.8 cubic feet of cargo room, a surprisingly modest figure given that the V60 Cross Country isn't exactly a small car. Though this number is smaller than some of its competitors, the flexibility offered by the 40/20/40-split design makes the best use of the space available. The low load floor and the lower roof also make placing bulky, heavy items inside or up top much easier than in an SUV. The cargo area's standard two-position, roll-out dog security net is also a clever feature for those with four-legged friends.

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.