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2017 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 AWD


By Steve Purdy
The Auto Channel
Michigan Bureau

Volvo is owned by a Chinese company, as many of you know, but the new owners wisely left the styling, engineering and product planning to the Swedes and other Europeans who’ve been making these wonderful cars for more than a half century. Volvo has a reputation for strength (being designed to withstand a moose strike), innovation (the first company to include seat belts in their cars) and a certain, hard-to-define ambiance understood mostly by those of us who have lived with a special Volvo in the past, as have I.

My Volvo was a 1965 P1800S, the sexy two-seater known in its day as a poor man’s Maserati. She was my daily driver and my mechanical mistress. I’ll tell you the rest of that story another time. Suffice it to say she had a very distinct personality and driving dynamics, in the broadest sense, unlike anything else of its day.

This new V60 Cross Country sport wagon carries on some of that tradition. Still built to withstand a moose strike it has all the style of the finest Scandinavian chair with as much utility. Enthusiasts may recall the P1800ES and later the C30, both two-door sportbacks with a hatch. This new-for-2017 V60 Cross Country has much the same character but with four-doors plus hatch and lots more room inside.

The V60 will probably be the last car Volvo produces on this older platform that goes back to Ford-ownership days. The next one, expected in just a few more years, will be on Volvo’s new “scalable” architecture.

Styling remains smooth and classic, - descriptions that would have been accurate with its progenitors in their day - a worthy design to follow the others. With a bit of extra ground clearance, big wheels and tires, subtle sculpting all around and an aggressive stance the V60 Cross Country catches the eye like smooth jazz will catch your ear. Taillights mounted high on the C-pillars and squinty headlight bezels confirm its contemporary identity. Certainly, styling, like art, is subjective, but I give it a solid A in that category.

Volvo wants to compete directly with premium brands. The interior design, materials and execution reflect that ambition. Leather seats and trim, wood and metal accents and even the plastic parts look and feel first rate. A handy cubby/tray behind and beneath the center stack is a great place to put things out of the sight of prying eyes. Of course, they’re out of your sight as well, which can be a problem for absent-minded drivers. (You know who you are.) Front seats fit my broad beam with solid lateral support that is not too restrictive. Ergonomics present little consternation, though a substantial learning curve will be encountered by those intent on using the infotainment, navigation and other functions to their max. Some of it made little sense to me but that may be a generational issue.

Decent rear seat room will not cramp average-size passengers and a slick fold-down armrest with tray and cup holders make passengering back there more comfortable and convenient. Rear seat backs fold nearly flat for 43.8 cubic-feet of cargo space.  

The powertrain in this T5 version is a charmer: a 2.0-liter turbo making a decent 240 horsepower and solid 258 pound-feet of torque, mated to a smooth and efficient 8-speed automatic transmission. The EPA estimates we can get 32 mpg on the highway and 22 in the city. We didn’t do quite that well but managed close to 28 mpg on our mostly highway use this week. Brisk acceleration with quick throttle response and a stiff and sophisticated suspension make for good driving dynamics. Even better, it has a “Sport” mode that results in more aggressive shift points and louder exhaust note. Standard Start/Stop function is not as smooth as some but will save you a little fuel in the long run. It can be a bit annoying in stop and go traffic.

Volvo has already announced they will soon no longer offer vehicles that are powered exclusively by liquid fuels – meaning everything will be hybrid or full electric. Perhaps they are paying attention to markets like France and Brittan that have announced they will no longer allow liquid fueled vehicles – gas or diesel – after a given date.

The Volvo V60 Cross Country shows a starting price of $41,850. That price includes a lot of premium standard content like. Our tester has the $3,850 Platinum Package, a $1,300 Climate and Child Booster Seat Package and a $925 Blind Spot Information System Package. With the extra-cost metallic paint, special 19” wheels and destination charge we’re looking at $50,265 on the sticker’s bottom line.  

Volvo’s new car warranty covers the whole car, including the powertrain for 4 years or 50,000 miles.

I doubt I’ll ever love a car like I did my old P1800S, but this V60 Cross Country inspires some affection and is a pretty good value considering all its attributes.

© Steve Purdy, Shunpiker Productions, All Rights Reserved

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