2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country
How much do you not want an SUV? Despite the proliferation of the things, there are still people out there who want their cars to look like cars, even when they want their cars to perform like an SUV. But after seven months with the V60 XC, which camp was I in?
The XC’s fixed-height, non-air suspension naturally limits its off-road ability, but in practice its 60mm lift and standard four-wheel-drive hardware were more than capable enough for the in-laws’ rutted farm track, minor local flooding and the other obstacles we encountered. And the theory with these cars is that because they’re lower than an SUV, you still get all the handling of a normal car.
Er, about that bit. If you like driving remotely quickly, this isn’t the car for you. There are no gearshift paddles, the seat bolsters are too far apart to provide decent lateral support for anyone weighing less than 17 stone, and the body control is softer than an NSPCC-approved cricket ball. I’ve driven plenty of SUVs that are more fun to punt around.
Where the XC excels is in the other situations, the other miles that made up the bulk of our 7900. I didn’t bond with the fiddly touchscreen and its clunky map, the strangely noisy wipers or the 34mpg average consumption.
Volvo V60 Cross Country interior
But I did love the long-distance comfort and the big boot. The surround-view camera system and panoramic sunroof, part of the Ј1800 Xenium Pack, were also appreciated, and since we finished the loan without a smash, I should give thanks for the Ј1625 Intellisafe Pro system, though I found the rear cross-traffic alert over-zealous and the adaptive cruise too easily confused by cars in the next lane.
In fact my two favourite features weren’t techy at all: a three-pin socket inside the car that made using my laptop on the go a breeze, and the old-fashioned mechanical shifter for the auto transmission that always selected reverse when I wanted, and not after four tries like on so many other cars.
Having previously run two Audi Allroads, a decade ago I’d definitely have counted myself as someone who appreciated the car-ness of something like the V60 XC and droned on about how the lower centre of gravity blah blah blah.
Now I’m not so sure. SUVs have come a long way, and so has my fondness for them. I know not all of you are so keen, but these days you can buy SUVs that are more capable than this XC off-road and much more fun on it.
A lightly used Porsche Macan sounds tempting for the same money as our new Volvo, but the XC’s bigger problem is another XC; a much better car that only costs a little more. The V60 XC is merely good, but the XC60 is great.