Used 2016 Volvo V60 Cross Country Review

The 2016 Volvo V60 Cross Country could make sense as a crossover SUV alternative. But mediocre fuel economy, subpar acceleration and below-average handling dulls its appeal.




what's new

The Volvo V60 Cross Country continues unchanged for 2016.

vehicle overview

The 2016 Volvo V60 Cross Country would seem to have the ingredients to be one of the most appealing utility vehicles on the market. Here's a stylish, well-equipped and refined wagon that boasts extra ground clearance, a taller view out and tougher styling than the standard V60. Not being an SUV should provide sharper handling and a certain degree of distinctiveness, while the Cross Country's standard all-wheel drive should make it appealing to those in need of foul weather or off-road traction.

The 2016 Volvo V60 Cross Country is an intriguing alternative for those who want the styling and practicality of a wagon and the height of a crossover.

Unfortunately, it's that standard all-wheel-drive system that torpedoes its fuel efficiency and makes the V60 Cross Country difficult to recommend. Or, more accurately, all-wheel drive is tied to a less efficient engine and transmission combination than the newer powertrain available in the front-wheel-drive V60 Drive-E model. We've noticed a difference of at least 6 mpg, while the disparity is little better compared to competing all-wheel-drive wagons. Acceleration is slower than the pack as well, and there are other less desirable attributes, such as subpar handling and braking that result from less-than-grippy tires. Then there are elements shared with the regular V60, such as relatively tight rear legroom and modest cargo capacity.

If you're looking for a wagon and don't need all-wheel drive, we recommend the V60 wagon. Essentially it has most of the things we like about the Cross Country, but without most of the things we do not. If you do need or want all-wheel drive, the top-rated BMW 3 Series wagon is available with it and doesn't come attached to a significant fuel economy penalty (it's even offered with a frugal diesel engine). The Audi Allroad is admittedly only slightly more efficient and is getting on in years, but it, too, comes standard with all-wheel drive and some extra ground clearance. And, if you're not terribly concerned with a luxury badge, an upper trim level of the Subaru Outback delivers greater space and capability. There are also any number of desirable compact SUVs, such as the similarly priced Volvo XC60.

Frankly, it's hard to make a strong case for the 2016 Volvo V60 Cross Country by the numbers, as the handful of alternatives (including those offered by Volvo) are more versatile and efficient overall. Though there is much we love about this characterful little wagon, it's impossible to ignore its foibles.




trim levels & features

The 2016 Volvo V60 Cross Country is a four-door, five-passenger wagon available in Premier and Platinum trim levels. It differs from the standard V60, reviewed separately, with extra ground clearance, different powertrains, standard all-wheel drive and unique styling elements.

Standard equipment on the Premier includes 18-inch wheels, automatic headlights, LED running lights, hill descent control, rear parking sensors, a sunroof, power-folding heated mirrors, roof rails, rear privacy glass, front and rear skid plates, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, eight-way power front seats, driver memory settings, leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, a 40/20/40-split rear seat with power-folding headrests and a built-in cargo cover/dog safety divider.

Electronics features include Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, a 3G WiFi hotspot, a variety of in-car smartphone apps, Volvo On Call emergency services (detailed in the Safety section), the Volvo Sensus electronics interface, Sensus Connect smartphone apps, a navigation system and an eight-speaker sound system with a CD/DVD player, an auxiliary audio jack, a USB audio interface and satellite radio.

The Convenience package adds a rearview camera and keyless ignition and entry (available as a stand-alone option). The Technology package adds adaptive cruise control and a variety of accident avoidance and driver alert technologies (see Safety section for details).

The Platinum trim includes the Convenience and Technology packages and adds adaptive bi-xenon headlights with washers, auto-dimming mirrors and a 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system (available as a stand-alone option on the Premier).

The BLIS package adds a blind-spot warning system, rear-cross traffic alert and front and rear parking sensors. The Climate package available on both trims adds an interior air quality system and a multitude of heated items: front and rear seats, steering wheel, windshield and windshield washer nozzles. Power child locks and integrated child booster seats can be added to this package or together as a stand-alone option.

Many of the options, especially those in the Climate package, can be chosen separately when custom-ordering a V60 Cross Country.



performance & mpg

The 2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country is powered exclusively by a turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine that produces 250 horsepower and 266 pound-feet of torque. It sends power to all four wheels through a six-speed automatic transmission. In Edmunds testing, 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.

Volvo fits the V60 Cross Country with its older 2.5-liter engine and not the latest 2.0-liter "Drive-E" found in the regular V60.

EPA-estimated fuel economy is also below average at 23 mpg combined (20 city/28 highway). It achieved 24.5 mpg on the Edmunds evaluation route, which is significantly worse than the V60 Drive-E, which returned about 30 mpg on the same route. Even the considerably more powerful XC60 T6 Drive-E (a compact SUV) managed 2 mpg better on our evaluation route.

safety

The 2016 Volvo V60 Cross Country safety features include antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags and active front head restraints. The standard Volvo On Call service provides automatic collision reporting, an SOS emergency call button, stolen vehicle locator and remote unlock/lock through a smartphone app. 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 (standard on Platinum) features an enhanced version of this system that can detect pedestrians and cyclists. Also included in that package are a driver inattention warning system and a lane-departure warning system. The BLIS package adds a blind-spot warning, rear cross-traffic alert, and front and rear parking sensors. A rearview camera is optional on the Premier trim and standard on the Platinum.

The government has not crash tested any V60, but the mechanically related S60 received a perfect five stars for overall, frontal and side crash protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the regular V60 a Top Safety Pick+ award for earning the top rating of "Good" in each of the IIHS crash tests and achieving a rating of "Superior" for its accident avoidance technologies.

In Edmunds testing, the V60 Cross Country came to a stop from 60 mph in 127 feet, which is 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 snow plows 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 2016 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. 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.

The V60 Cross Country's seats are some of the best on the market. One test-drive and you'll be smitten.

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.