Verdict: The 2020 V60 Cross Nation’s added journey peak not solely expands its off-road functionality, it improves its on-road manners to make the wagon really feel extra luxurious.
Versus the competitors: Exterior the Audi A4 Allroad, there aren’t any direct opponents. Of the 2, I choose the Volvo’s in-cabin expertise, supplies and responsive powertrain.
Associated: Has the 2020 Volvo V60 T8 Polestar Mounted What Plagued Different Polestars?
For many who don’t need an SUV however would nonetheless like some off-road functionality and cargo room, choices are restricted to the handful of raised wagons within the U.S. market. However the excellent news is that the most recent of them, the redesigned 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Nation, is sort of good and an enchancment upon the common V60 wagon on which it’s based mostly.
The V60 Cross Nation’s supposed function is to imbue the V60 with extra off-road functionality. That’s why when you see the Cross Nation in an commercial, it’ll in all probability be out within the woods or snow, cavorting in nature. That’s additionally why our first drive of the V60 Cross Nation didn’t embody any on-road driving: I drove it up a mountain as a substitute.
My expertise driving the V60 Cross Nation in that surroundings left me anxious to learn how it performs in a extra standard setting. Certainly one of our chief complaints concerning the V60 (and S60 sedan) has been journey high quality; in his evaluation of the V60, editor Kelsey Mays wrote, “The chassis feels busy over all however the smoothest roads, with noticeable reverberation.” I had a sense the V60 Cross Nation might need solved these issues — in a roundabout approach.
The Cross Nation’s massive differentiators from the usual V60 are added floor clearance and a softer suspension. It sits 2.5 inches larger, bumping floor clearance as much as eight.Three inches — loads for a gravel street. Don’t confuse this raised wagon with a real off-road automobile; it received’t do a lot rock crawling or conquer tougher trails, however for gravel or different gentle off-roading, it’s fairly competent. (And a extra aggressive set of tires than the usual all-seasons would do wonders in that division.)
What you’ll discover extra on the street and in day-to-day use is the Cross Nation’s softer suspension. This echoes the impact we’ve seen in different off-road-oriented autos, just like the Toyota 4Runner TRD Professional and Ford F-150 Raptor. These autos have extra strong suspension setups than the V60 Cross Nation, however the finish result’s comparable: The byproduct of a softened, steady off-road setup is a composed journey on the road.
That’s how the Cross Nation therapy transforms the wagon’s on-road character. As a substitute of jostling you round, the suspension smooths out the imperfections you’ll meet on the pavement, leading to a comfortably driving automobile that’s extra appropriate for day-to-day driving. Actually, it’s what the common V60 journey ought to have been like within the first place, as that automobile’s tautness doesn’t actually repay dynamically. The Cross Nation’s steering really feel is a bit gentle and the automobile doesn’t flip in rapidly sufficient to be a lot enjoyable on curvy roads, however it’s competent.
The V60 Cross Nation has just one powertrain, with commonplace all-wheel drive and Volvo’s T5 engine (a 250-horsepower, turbocharged 2.Zero-liter four-cylinder that makes 258 pounds-feet of torque) mated to an eight-speed automated transmission. The common V60 is obtainable with extra highly effective T6 and T8 powertrains, however after testing the V60 Cross Nation, I didn’t really feel that extra energy was wanted, both on-road or off (see, as soon as extra, the half the place I drove it up a mountain). The engine and transmission are responsive and well-suited to the scale of the automobile, with loads of acceleration for day-to-day driving, they usually’re controllable sufficient to supply some dexterity off-road.
Gasoline financial system does drop off a bit in contrast with the usual V60, which comes with the identical powertrain however is front-wheel drive, making it a bit extra environment friendly. (Solely the V60 T8 Polestar Engineered plug-in hybrid gives all-wheel drive and a distinct powertrain.) The V60 Cross Nation is rated 22/31/25 mpg metropolis/freeway/mixed — 2 mpg lower than the V60’s mixed mpg determine.
The inside might be acquainted to anybody who’s been in a redesigned Volvo over the previous few years, however on this case, familiarity doesn’t breed the slightest little bit of contempt. The minimalist design and excellent supplies nonetheless look fashionable and opulent — and for the lifetime of me, I can’t determine how these entrance seats are so skinny but really feel so substantial once you sit in them.
The usual 9-inch touchscreen show is oriented vertically, and after Volvo up to date the processing energy for the system for 2019 fashions, it’s a lot snappier and boots up sooner when the automobile is turned on. Android Auto and Apple CarPlay each come commonplace, although each make the most of solely about half the display screen when in use (a standard downside with these vertical screens). It feels a bit small once you’re utilizing it and I’d choose it take up the highest half of the display screen as a substitute of the underside, as that might make it simpler to make use of whereas driving. When the system debuted, it felt futuristic; now it feels much like what you get in different luxurious makes. Volvo’s new Android-based multimedia system received’t arrive for a short time longer. A 12.Three-inch instrument panel show is newly commonplace for 2020 (because it now could be on all 2020 Volvos), however for a digital show, it lacks the customization choices of many different automakers (Audi’s Digital Cockpit being the prime instance).
Cargo quantity behind the rear seats is 23.2 cubic toes, increasing to 50.9 cubic toes with the seats folded. The squared-off form of the V60 Cross Nation’s rear makes the cargo space extra of a rectangle, which makes the area extra helpful than autos with sloped rear home windows. Volvo additionally does an important job of incorporating small options to make the cargo area extra helpful: A divider can fold up from the ground, and there are numerous hooks and straps across the sides which are glorious for holding grocery baggage from sliding round and falling over.
2020 Volvo V60 Cross Nation
Automobiles.com picture by Brian Wong
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Worth and Conclusion
The V60 Cross Nation begins at $46,095 (together with a $995 vacation spot cost), a markup of $5,450 over a V60 with the identical engine. That appears like a giant distinction at first look, however as I dug in, my emotions began to shift. The Cross Nation has extra tools than the V60’s base Momentum trim, together with blind spot screens, entrance and rear park help, and a hill descent management system. Don’t overlook concerning the all-wheel drive and added journey peak, both.
It’s exhausting to talk on the worth proposition of a luxurious automobile in a vacuum, however the Cross Nation very a lot holds its personal towards the usual V60. My check automobile got here with an excellent quantity of choices, pushing the worth tag as much as $56,990. A equally outfitted V60 Momentum involves $51,980. The Cross Nation I examined got here with a $four,000 stereo that isn’t out there on the Momentum, accounting for a lot of the distinction.
The 2020 V60 Cross Nation made me swoon — exhausting. The adjustments made within the identify of off-road means additionally mounted the V60’s largest downside. It’s a neatly designed, trendy and succesful wagon that matches each cargo and passengers with out being too massive to drive round in a metropolis. You may hold your SUVs — I don’t want them anymore.
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L.A. Bureau Chief Brian Wong is a California native with a tender spot for convertibles and free parking. He’s based mostly in Los Angeles. Electronic mail Brian