September 22, 2023

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General Evolution

Test Drive: 2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country Ultimate | The Daily Drive | Consumer Guide® The Daily Drive

Test Drive: 2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country Ultimate | The Daily Drive | Consumer Guide® The Daily Drive

2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country

2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country Ultimate in Onyx Black Metallic

Consumer Guide Automotive 2022 Volvo V60 Cross Country B5 AWD

Class: Premium Midsize Car

Color: Onyx Black Metallic

Miles driven: 419

CG Report Card
Room and Comfort B
Power and Performance B+
Fit and Finish A
Fuel Economy B
Value B
Report-card grades are derived from a consensus of test-driver evaluations. All grades are versus other vehicles in the same class. Value grade is for specific trim level evaluated, and may not reflect Consumer Guide’s impressions of the entire model lineup.
Big & Tall Comfort
Big Guy B-
Tall Guy C+
Big & Tall comfort ratings are for front seats only. “Big” rating based on male tester weighing approximately 350 pounds, “Tall” rating based on 6’6″-tall male tester.
Drivetrain
Engine Specs 247-hp 2.0L
Engine Type Turbocharged mild-hybrid 4-cyl
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Drive Wheels All-wheel drive

Observed fuel economy: 23.0 mpg

Driving mix: 75% city, 25% highway

EPA-estimated fuel economy: 23/30/26 (mpg city/highway/combined)

Fuel type: Premium gas

Base price: $54,100 (not including $1095 destination charge)

Options on test vehicle: Climate Package ($750), Luggage Cover ($345), special paint ($695), power tailgate ($200), 20-inch alloy wheels with all-season tires ($3200), Bowers and Wilkins premium audio system ($3200),

Price as tested: $63,585

 

Quick Hits

The great: Tidy package that’s practical and fun to drive, beautiful cabin

The good: Good power, Snow Belt-weather ready, long-trip comfortable

The not so good: Pricey options, slightly eccentric

 

Tom Appel

I don’t own a tweed jacket, smoke a pipe, or own a dog with a middle name. Nor have I seen Mummenschanz perform live or written a fan letter to Spalding Gray, may he rest in peace.

I do collect jazz CDs however, and often wonder what I might drive if I were at least somewhat wealthy and had the time and energy to expend being eccentric. I think I would enjoy being eccentric. I might spend my days attending library lectures on the history of bookbinding between visits to the tea shop to check on the status of my da hong pao order.

2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country

2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country

And, were I eccentric, I would seriously consider driving a Volvo V60 Cross Country. In a nation of consumers deeply committed to owning far more vehicle than they need, the V60 Cross Country comes across as a cheeky, derisive snort aimed at those who accept large, commodity crossovers and SUVs as reasonable daily drivers.

In truth, any station wagon purchase is at least a little eccentric, as so few remain available to American consumers. It’s interesting, too, that what wagons are available mostly come with raised ride heights and SUV-salted trim. Consider the Audi A4 allroad and Mercedes-Benz E450 All-Terrain. Starting at about $48,000 and $90,000 respectively, the Audi and the Mercedes bracket the V60 Cross Country in price, which starts around $52,000. This positioning works well, as eccentrics are willing to spend money for what they want, however obscure, but draw the line at conspicuous consumption.

Test Drive: 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country

2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country

2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country

Now, there is the excellent Subaru Outback, but it’s just a little too affordable and common to work for the truly eccentric, at least those that haven’t been too badly hurt investing in start-up hemp dispensaries.

For 2023, the Volvo lineup includes three wagons: the compact V60 and V60 Cross Country, and larger midsize V90 Cross Country. All three Volvo wagons come only with AWD, and the V60 is offered only as a plug-in hybrid.

Test Drive: 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country

2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country

2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country

The V60 Cross Country is offered in Plus and Ultimate trim levels. The base Plus starts at $51,190, and is sufficiently well equipped to satisfy most eccentrics. The better-equipped Ultimate pads the bottom line by $5300, and adds such niceties as ventilated front seats, head-up display, various and sundry cabin appointment upgrades, and premium Hardon Kardon audio. True audiophiles, the type that collect import Japanese jazz CDs perhaps, will want to further upgrade the audio system to the optional ($3200) Bowers and Wilkins unit. While this author is not entirely qualified to review car stereos, I can say that this is about the best in-car system I have ever enjoyed.

Future Collectibles: 2020 Buick Regal Sportback and TourX

2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country

2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country

Upgrading to the larger V90 Cross Country costs a little less than $10,000, and brings with it about 8 cubic feet of extra cargo space and an inch more rear-seat legroom. Subjectively, the V90’s longer silhouette is easier on the eyes, which, we might argue, is antithetical to the eccentric experience. Though in our testing, the V90’s longer wheelbase (116 inches versus 113) also brings it with it a more comfortable and better-settled highway ride, more on that in a moment.

Where the V60 falls down in eccentricity is the cabin. While the controls are somewhat unconventional, the cabin décor leans more towards avant-garde than eccentric. For years, Audi seemed to lead the industry in interior design, but recently Volvo has seriously upped its game. Judiciously employed rich-looking leather and matte-finish metal trim the V60 interior, and the effect is both bold and simple.

As for the controls, we at Consumer Guide continue our love/hate relationship with the elegantly simple—yet often frustrating—vertical-stack touchscreen interface Volvo now employs in all its vehicles. For simple and obvious functions, the system works pretty well, and presents nicely on the center-dash screen. But for more complicated functions—like sound/tone control—finding your way requires both luck and prayer. Additionally, while the primary functions are treated to, and manipulated via, large, clean-looking graphics, the lesser functions are found on ugly, menu-driven black-and white screens that look a bit like something from an Eighties junior-college computer class.

Interestingly, Volvo infotainment systems are now driven by Google, an arrangement which sounds odd, but in practice works pretty well. We found programing the navigation systems simple and straightforward. That said, we suspect some drivers will find saying “Hey Google” instead of “Hey Siri” confusing at first.

Test Drive: 2022 Subaru Outback Wilderness

2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country

2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country

Powering both Cross Country models is Volvo’s new B5 engine. The new 2.0-liter engine is turbocharged and mated to a mild-hybrid system. The B5 engine produces 247 horsepower and is offered only with an 8-speed automatic transmission. With the B5 engine, the V6 Cross Country is rated at an estimated 26 combined MPG, a 1-mpg improvement over the non-hybrid 2022 V60 Cross Country.

On the road, the V60 Cross Country mostly impresses. The small turbo/hybrid engine works without fuss, and provides plenty of useful and mostly seamless power. That said, the engine is a little loud and coarse at this price point, a thing which may qualify as eccentric, or may be just a just a demerit.

The ’60 settles in nicely on the highway, though the ride never feels quite luxurious. The long-drive V60 Cross Country experience is better described as engaging than silky–refined in the old-school, more-road-feel European tradition. There’s a generally sophisticated feel to the V60 Cross Country that we expect most eccentrics would appreciate, though like most Volvos of current vintage, the car could use a lot more steering feel.

This rather large editor could also use slightly larger front-door openings, but that’s just me. Once inside, I found plenty of space, and enjoyed a two-hour drive from Palatine, Illinois to Janesville, Wisconsin with no complaints. Rear-seat space is a little more limited, and a full-size adult would find space wanting behind me with the driver seat adjusted fully aft. If you’re looking for a smoother ride and more 2nd-row people space, consider moving up to the V90, even it if is a little less quirky.

In Consumer Guide testing, we averaged a reported 23 mpg, decent considering the power, but a little disappointing considering our time on the highway.

The 2023 V60 Cross Country does not come cheap, especially when as well equipped as our test car. But it is a sporty, functional, nicely appointed wagon with real foul-weather capability and lots of cargo space. Perhaps most importantly, it’s not a crossover, a thing which should appeal to the all well-heeled quiescent eccentrics in need of a new car out there. Oh, and if my dog did have a middle name, it would be Spalding.

2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country

2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country

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2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country Ultimate Gallery

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Test Drive: 2022 Volvo V90 Cross Country

2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country

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