The Auto Channel
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
The Largest Independent Automotive Research Resource
Official Website of the New Car Buyer

2016 Volvo S60 Cross Country Review By Larry Nutson

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

2016 Volvo S60 Cross Country
Swedish Sophistication

By Larry Nutson
Senior Editor and Bureau Chief
Chicago Bureau
The Auto Channel

Look to the Volvo USA webpage for the S60 Cross Country and you will see an overhead view of this mid-size entry-level luxury sedan traversing a two-track dirt road and about to drive through a water-filled and obviously muddy section.

If it were me behind the wheel I would want the all-wheel drive and added ground clearance the S60 Cross Country sedan provides. The security, ability and confidence to maneuver through challenging and compromised road surfaces, whether they be mud or snow, has its worth.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

There’s not one photo of the S60 Cross Country on a paved road. And yes, if this is the usual driving environment not only all-wheel drive but also more ground clearance makes sense to have. There are a number of cars, at varying price levels, on the market today with all-wheel drive. Put them on deep rutted roads and they may bottom out. The segment-first S60 Cross Country has 7.9 inches of ground clearance to minimize the chance of this occurring.

Volvo is the only player in this niche of the market. They have taken the off-road features of its V60 Cross Country wagon and put them in the S60 sedan. The new for 2016 Volvo S60 Cross Country T5 AWD Platinum is the single model offering and is priced at $43,500.

My media-loan test car was optionally equipped with the Climate Package for $1550, Blind Spot Information Package for $925, Speed Sensitive Steering for $325, Urbane Wood Inlays for $400, and 19-inch wheels for $750. With the $940 destination charge the total rang-up at $48,390.

Power comes from Volvo’s 2.5-liter five-cylinder turbocharged engine that produces 250 horsepower. This engine is mated to a six-speed “Geartronic” driver adaptive automatic transmission with Sport Mode. Volvo says acceleration from stop to 60 mph is in 6.7 seconds, which is fairly quick.

By the way, the engine is ULEV-certified, which along with being green, just might get you a better parking spot if you work in a LEED certified building. Volvo’s electronically controlled All-Wheel Drive with Instant Traction is standard, delivering power to the wheels with the best grip. When a tire loses traction, power is reduced to that wheel and instantly transferred to the more sure-footed wheels. Torque vectoring and corner traction control are also equipped.  

Standard Hill Descent Control uses the vehicle’s brakes and engine torque to crawl in low gear on steep downhill slopes. This may seem strange at first, but all you have to do is steer. However, you can add more throttle or brake as needed.

EPA-test fuel economy ratings are 23 mpg combined or 4.3 gallons per 100 miles, with 20 city mpg and 28 highway mpg. You could travel nearly 500 miles on a fill-up with its 17.8 gallon tank.

The S60 Cross Country is equipped with two systems that will automatically apply the brakes and bring the car to a stop. City Safety is a world-first technology that made its debut on the Volvo XC60. The system works to prevent or reduce the severity of a rear collision with a vehicle ahead at speeds of 31 mph or less. Using sensors to determine if a collision is likely it either pre-charges the brakes or automatically applies the brakes.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection with Full Auto Brake is a radar- and camera-based system that can detect pedestrians in front of the car, warn the driver if anyone walks out into its path and then automatically apply the brake if the driver doesn’t. It also looks for bicycle riders. If a cyclist heading in the same direction as the car suddenly swerves out in front of the car and a collision is imminent, there is an instant warning and full braking power is applied.

More and more new vehicles today are equipped with forward collision warning and automatic braking. Soon we’ll see it standard on all vehicles, just like safety systems such as ABS and Stability Control.

On the outside the S60 Cross Country has a unique honeycomb grille and front lower skid plate. On the side are scuff plates and black fender extensions. Window trim and outside mirror covers are glossy black. A lower skid plate is in the rear and rear park assist is standard.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

Inside, I found the S60 to be sophisticated and functional. Luxury touches are obvious but the ergonomics of the interior are almost flawless. The orthopedically designed sport seats are quite comfortable. The center stack and the various control buttons are easy to use and there’s no hesitation in searching through a digital memory looking for a control. A heated steering wheel is one of my favorite features. With the touch of a button you can fold the rear headrests to improve rear vision when no one is in the rear seats. The outside mirrors have a power fold feature that is almost a must-have in a crowded narrow-street city.

Also equipped is the Volvo Sensus system with control of the Harmon Kardon 8-speaker sound system, standard navigation and other functions, displaying them onto a seven-inch high-definition color monitor in the upper center console.

All-in-all I liked the S60 Cross Country. It performs very well in all traffic and various driving conditions. Granted I didn’t go off-roading and snow had not yet arrived in Chicago. It’s very comfortable on the inside and the controls and functions are very intuitive to use. I personally might be more inclined to go with the V60 Cross Country wagon for its increased versatility. However, if I were a country doctor needing the assurance to get around, the S60 Cross County sedan would be a good choice.

PHOTO (select to view enlarged photo)

More information and specifications can be found at Look here at for comparative information on other all-wheel drive sedans.

In the entry-level luxury sedan market you can find cars from American, German, Japanese and Korean brands, along with Swedish. Sweden’s Volvo Car Company has been around since 1927. In recent times it has gone from being owned by Ford from 2000 to 2010 to now being owned by Geely Automobile of China.

Volvo, however, continues to be highly regarded as the bench-mark brand for overall traffic safety for its vehicle driver and passengers. Its European roots remain very strong. Sporty and sophisticated is how I see Volvo cars.

In case you ever wondered, Volvo means "I roll" in Latin, conjugated from "volvere", in reference to ball bearings. It comes from Volvo’s original founding as a subsidiary of SKF, the ball bearing manufacturer.

© 2015 Larry Nutson, the Chicago Car Guy

The Most Valuable Volvo Research Information Anywhere!