Volvo S60 Cross Country Review
Car Tested: 2016 Volvo S60 Cross Country; Road Test No. 723
Price OTR Mumbai: Rs. 52.07 lakhs
The Volvo S60 Cross Country looks unique and immediately turns heads with its offbeat stance
We have driven the pre-facelift Volvo S60 in the year 2011 and just a couple of years back we drove the new facelifted version, which looks very nice and relatively fresh. What we’re driving now is a unique version of the S60, christened as S60 Cross Country. If you’re familiar with Volvo’s lineup, they have this ‘Cross Country’ trim for some of their cars that are meant to look rugged with their crossover inspired styling. Now the Swedish automaker has come up with a quirky design of a crossover sedan for the S60. Let’s see how it fares with the jacked up stance, which looks quite practical for the Indian roads.
Motor Quest: The first generation Volvo S60 came into production in the year 2000 and then it got discontinued in 2009. The current second generation model was launched in 2010 that got a significant facelift in 2014 with sheet metal changes. It also comes in the Polestar version that is powered by an in-line 6 cylinder engine producing 345 BHP and 508 Nm.
Exteriors – There is a considerable increase of ground clearance by 65 mm and that is clearly visible from all angles, specially when you see it from the side. That along with the rugged looking dark cladding on the wheel arches and silver skid plates all around, grabs massive attention on the road. There are a few tweaks on the grille as well, which gets honeycomb treatment compared to the chrome slats on the regular variant. The bumpers are new, which gives the S60 Cross Country a muscular look. The regular S60 with its hunkered down stance and sleek styling elements make it look sporty.
Interiors – There are no changes on the interior front as well so you get the same dashboard and layout of the cabin but the upholstery is quite different. The seats get a dual tone orange and black combination, which really stands out and adds to the feel good factor about the cabin. They look quite youthful and are extremely comfortable to sit in, thanks to the under-thigh and back support. The steering wheel is the same 3-spoke unit with all the necessary buttons for the infotainment and cruise control. The all-digital TFT instrument cluster is the party piece of the Volvo S60. You can change themes according to your mood, you have three option – Eco, Elegance and Sport.
The interior of the S60 looks a tad dated but is driver friendly with supportive seats and convenient ergonomics
The centre console of the Volvo S60 Cross Country looks quite busy with infinite set of buttons and knobs. It is tilted towards the driver, which is very convenient but you have to get used to so many buttons on it. It gets dual zone climate control system, so the air conditioning is superb and chills the cabin very quickly. The infotainment screen is not a touch screen unit and the system is not too user friendly, you need to figure out a few knobs and buttons to operate the menu. However, it shows exhaustive details about the car including oil levels, tyre pressure, service info, etc. Bluetooth pairing is easy and the audio system quality is very good.
The screen in the middle doubles up as a display for the reverse camera with dynamic guide lines. For the front you have proximity parking sensors. The inside rear-view mirror looks very cool because it is frameless and also shows the direction in which the car is moving, neat! The fit, finish and quality levels are excellent and feel long lasting. Even the feel of the switches and knobs is quite solid, you get nice and tactile feedback from the stalks and window switches. Space at the back is just okay, only meant for two adults with limited headroom and legroom. We won’t recommend it for chauffeur driven people. Thankfully Volvo has added a space saver spare wheel in the boot which is kept in a flat box to keep things tidy unlike some German rivals that throw a spare wheel in the boot without a hard cover. Yes it does eat some space but looks tidy in the Volvo and is practical.
Performance – Powering the Volvo S60 Cross Country is a 2400cc 5-cylinder diesel engine that churns out 190 BHP of power and 420 Nm of torque. There is a slight turbolag under 2000 RPM but the amount of grunt it makes in the mid-range just pushes you back. It is a very responsive and free-revving diesel engine which isn’t the case with conventional diesels. There is a satisfying 5-cylinder engine sound when you accelerate hard, which might be bothersome for non-enthusiasts but it isn’t a bad noise. The NVH is well controlled, it’s only when you are near the redline, the engine noise penetrates inside.
The 5-cylinder diesel mill is a hoot to drive on the straights having a good dose of torque in the mid-range
Acceleration in the mid-range is very strong and the top-end is good too, having enough power to hold the gear longer. The 6-speed automatic gearbox behaves well with upshifts, offering smooth cog shifting but sometimes at a tad higher RPMs it refuses to downshift. D mode is more focussed towards efficiency and shifts early, which is great when driving in traffic. The S mode holds the gears longer and is best enjoyed when overtaking or accelerating hard on empty stretches. S feels quite jerky in slow moving traffic. You also have paddle shifts on the steering, which I enjoyed a lot, they’re quick to respond and offer tactile clicking feel. The S60 cruises well too, doing 100 km/hr in 6th gear at 1700 RPM. It has 210 km/hr of speed limit, which is achievable with so much power on tap.
Driving Dynamics – By looking at it, the 201 mm ground clearance of the S60 Cross Country makes you feel that it can tackle rough terrains and handle bad roads with comfort. However, the story is a bit different here. It might crawl over huge bumps and potholes but the ride quality is stiff. That is good for high speed stability and offers flat ride on the highways but at slow speeds it feels a bit on the stiffer side. Handling is quite predictable and with the AWD system, the S60 sticks to the road like a leech, it doesn’t move away from its line when you push it hard. Just the feedback from the steering could have been better and the body roll is noticeable to some extent when you corner hard. It is well controlled though for a sedan with 201 mm of ground clearance. The brakes are spot on and the feel from the pedal is very positive, giving you lots of confidence. No, it’s not a full fledged off-roader that it can handle rocky terrain and deep slush but yes it can tackle mild off-road stuff to get you out of trouble.
Safety and After Sales Service – We really don’t need to explain how safe the Volvo cars are but let’s see the equipment list in the S60 Cross Country. It has got driver and passenger dual stage airbags, side impact protection airbags, inflatable curtains, whiplash protection, pyrotechnical pretensioners, emergency brake assist and the list goes on. In terms of after sales, Volvo had a limited network in India a few years back but now it is growing its sales and service network across the country. It’s still far behind the German trio in terms of reach in India.
Verdict – At this price point you might get more fancy German badges and proper compact luxury SUVs because the Volvo S60 Cross Country is directly imported to India as a CBU and that shoots up the price tag. However, what you get here is a tank-like build with strong performance, high ground clearance to save the underbelly from the Indian roads and most importantly, attention grabbing looks. I feel the Volvo S60 Cross Country looks smart with its big shoes and raised up stance and for a sedan, it’s certainly a head turner. The carmaker has pulled off this design quite well and if you have the moolah and want your car to be unique with attention grabbing looks, this might tick your checklist.
* Outlandish appearance that grabs attention instantly
* 201 mm of ground clearance, which is even more than the Tata Safari Storme
* Comfortable and supportive seats with attractive colour scheme
* Powerful 5-cylinder diesel engine having a meaty mid-range punch
* Safe like a tank
What’s Not So Cool
* Interior styling now feels dated
* Premium pricing because it’s a CBU
Alternatives: Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, Mercedes C-Class, Jaguar XE
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