2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country Review: The Swedish All-Terrain Wagon
With a new engine, raised suspension and voice-assist features, the Volvo V60 Cross Country is in great shape on and off the road.
The rise of the crossover could have almost killed the station wagon, but not all automakers let the practical long tailgate die.
Volvo is a diehard wagon and is working hard to keep and capture buyers with models like this 2023 V60 Cross Country. take on gravel roads or dirt trails.
We were able to drive the 2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country as part of AJAC’s TestFest 2023. TestFest is a major automotive event where most of the new and modified models of the year come together. It’s similar to our usual early rides, but with the ability to drive a vehicle and its competitors at the same time.
Held each fall, the event is filled with mud, leaves, rain and a range of driving and road conditions that are hard to find elsewhere.
Subtle improvements for the 2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country
Volvo has updated the 2023 V60 CC, but the visible changes are minimal. The grille changes are so slight that you have to park side by side with the old one to be sure. And there’s an even more subtle rear bumper massager. Under the skin, the changes are greater.
A few years ago, Volvo promised to accelerate its transition to electrification. A big step in that plan was to give each of its models that weren’t already an EV a hybrid drivetrain as standard.
For 2023, Volvo has accomplished that. The hybrid version of the V60 Cross Country is now the only V60 CC. B5 badge on the tailgate, this is the one we drove.
The Volvo V60 Cross Country B5 is a mild hybrid. Very smooth, with a built-in 48V starter generator that allows the petrol engine to die out more often in city driving. The engine is still a 2.0-liter four-cylinder with turbocharging, a variant of the engine that Volvo uses in almost everything it offers.
Less power, better fuel economy
One of the less powerful versions of Volvo’s engine family, the B5 develops 247 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. That horsepower figure is three horsepower less than last year, although you won’t notice the difference.
You’re more likely to notice the extra mile per gallon in the city. Fuel economy is rated at 23 city, 30 highway and 26 mpg combined.
The engine is quiet and smooth when cruising down the highway or speeding through city traffic. Ask for more power and you’ll get plenty of it, but you’ll also get plenty of noise.
Use the accelerator and the engine becomes almost diesel in the way that it vibrates. At least the V60 is fast enough that you don’t have to use all those ponies for a long time.
Volvo wagons have a long history of carrying plenty
A station wagon is about hauling cargo, and the V60 Cross Country does that well. With 22.9 cubic feet of storage behind the second row, it beats similarly sized crossovers like Volvo’s XC60even if it is only a few cubes larger.
The long and wide loading area also has a low lifting height. Lower than most crossovers. The low height facilitates the loading and unloading of heavy or bulky goods.
With the seats folded down, the V60 Cross Country packs 60.5 cubic feet of gear, which is in line with crossings in that class. It’s a big space. Unless you’re charging towards the headliner, you probably won’t notice the difference over the competition.
Volvo includes some nifty touches like D-ring cargo tie-downs, a small rear seat pass-through and plenty of optional extras to make the most of the space.
The interior of the 2023 V60 is warm and inviting
Volvo knocked it out of the park with its interior designs lately, and this V60 CC is no different. Somehow, the company’s engineers put together a simple and shockingly complex space; spartan but warm and inviting. Yes, these are contradictions, but like Swedish furnishings, the balanced proportions and smooth lines combine to create a standout in the segment.
Details like the twist-operated start switch and Orrefors crystal gear selector stand out, letting the available driftwood decor blend in. feel seriously premium.
The steering wheel is not leather, although it looks and feels it. Volvo is trying to move away from caches to increase durability with changes like this. The automaker also offers optional tweed-like textile seats instead of the traditional leather found in our test car.
In addition to being beautiful, the cabin is a comfortable place. Volvo’s seats are pleasantly firm and are adjustable enough that almost anyone can find the right setting. Steering wheel controls are simple, as is the new infotainment interface, which makes the experience more relaxing.
The Android operating system improves on-board technology
Volvo went to Google to design its new multimedia system, so for Android users the car should be immediately familiar. Even for Apple iPhone users, learning the system should be quick, thanks to the intuitive user interface.
A huge advantage of the system is the voice assistant control “Hey, Google”. This adds natural voice recognition and the ability to adjust vehicle settings, including temperature and fan speed. These control characteristics make this V60 a step above the basic functions offered in most new cars.
Climate controls stay at the bottom of the large 12.3-inch screen at all times, in case you’re not ready to switch to voice commands. I normally prefer the real buttons, but there’s a physical volume dial as well as other quick-access buttons to balance the trade-off between aesthetics and function.
Cross-country means more ground clearance
The differences between a V60 Cross Country and a standard V60 are in the bodywork and suspensions. All-wheel drive is standard on both, but Cross Country offers raised suspension.
It has 2.4 inches more ground clearance for a total of 8 inches, which improves approach and breakover angles and allows the Cross Country to cut through deeper water. That’s not enough to make it an off-roader, but it has plenty of capability for dirt roads and rougher trails.
Adding extra suspension height allows the Cross Country’s body to roll more than the standard V60 through corners, but it’s still well controlled. In exchange for that ride, you get a more compliant and, in turn, more comfortable ride over rough pavement and unpaved roads.
Volvo’s body changes are largely for looks. Yes, the bare plastic wheel arches and bumper strips might be able to take some light trail debris without stripping the paint, but they will still get scratched.
The car also has a lot of shiny paint directly around the plastic. Still, this look is what crossover buyers want; so if the coating helps keep one more car on the road, that’s a good thing.
Lack of V60 plug-in power supply
What the Cross Country doesn’t just offer the standard V60 is a plug-in powertrain. While the CC gets that B5 mild hybrid, the regular V60 gets Volvo’s Recharge PHEV drivetrain.
This plug-in means 455 horsepower and 41 miles of EV range. However, the V60 Recharge starts about $20,000 more than the $49,000-$58,195 Cross Country as tested—making it an expensive powertrain.
Volvo offers the V60 CC in Plus or Ultimate versions. In typical Volvo style, both are loaded with driver assistance technology. Standard equipment includes adaptive cruise, blind-spot and cross-traffic alerts, parking sensors, in-dash traffic sign display, lane-keeping assist and on-board driving assistant. Volvo Pilot Assist highway.
Ultimate adds comfort features such as Harman Kardon audio, front seat ventilation and a head-up display to the already high standard of Plus-grade kit.
2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country Review: Summary
The goal of a crossover is to offer SUV-like utility with car-like ride and handling. This definition makes this Cross Country a kind of crossover again, attempting to bridge the already small gap between crossover and wagon.
Ignore the labels and you’ll find a vehicle with plenty of cargo space, rough road capability and driving dynamics. Above all, this also includes visibility. These are all attributes you’ll struggle to match in a more conventional crossover or SUV.
With the V60 Cross Country, Volvo has created a sweet spot, and this wagon is just that – a sweet spot to be on the pavement or off it. To find out more, visit Volvo Cars United States.