2015.5 Volvo V60 Cross Country: Safety by Default, Sporty on Purpose

2015.5-Volvo-V60-Cross-Country...03Experienced by Kimatni D. Rawlins

What’s not to like about a Scandinavian designed ride? Volvos are savvy, unique, multi-talented and of course safe as a bank. Known for its line of family wagons and SUVs, the Chinese owned automaker is also a purveyor of fashionable sedans and convertibles. Instinctually, the sporty characteristics and DNA of those vehicles has been recruited for their utility vehicles. So it is my pleasure to introduce the Swedish brand’s gifted, 2015.5 V60 Cross Country.

Volvo has always been defined by a stellar safety reputation combined with continuously advancing All-Wheel-Drive (AWD) technology. In fact, their aggressive strategy to negate all deaths by vehicular accident (in their vehicles) in the near future corroborates the company’s love and respect for humanity. The car business is not just about corporate profits and ultimate sales. Altruistically, they want owners to enjoy their prized possessions within environs where urban and active lifestyles are the common denominator. Volvo will introduce four new adventurous vehicles in 2015 and seven total in the next seven years. With that, if you’re a fan of the V60 wagon then you will highly appreciate their latest Cross Country rendition that now joins the venerable and authentically capable V70 Cross Country, the likeliest vehicle owners take off road. It’s a family affair and the dynamic, rugged V60 Cross Country sports wagon reflects that enthusiastic regime whether one lives in the mountains, city or suburbs.

“We are delighted to add the third true Cross Country model to our product portfolio. The successful combination of dynamic styling and rugged capability places the V60 Cross Country in a class of its own,” said Lex Kerssemakers, Senior Vice President Product Strategy and Vehicle Line Management at Volvo Cars.

2015.5-Volvo-V60-Cross-Country...16To explore this concept of spirited freedom from behind the wheel the Fit Fathers team headed to Lake Tahoe where we resided at the family oriented The Ritz-Carlton for a few days. Recognized as one of the greatest wintry playgrounds in the world, the AAA Five Diamond mountain resort (6,000 foot elevation) was ideal for replicating a day in the life of a Volvo owner. Skiing slopes, lift tickets, gear rentals, a lap pool, an arcade, a massive fitness center, ice skating, art and architecture tours and the Backyard Bar & BBQ are just a few gems for nomads looking for thrills. My chariot for the next few days would be a 2015.5 Volvo V60 T5 AWD Cross Country Platinum. It was picture-perfect for day of driving around the idyllic and nature-themed landscapes of Lake Tahoe. And like a Volvo owner, I also enjoy doing things and touring fascinating destinations.

To begin, the smaller Cross Country is aesthetically pleasing noted by a few locals admiring the wagon when I stopped at Vista Point/ Bayview Trailhead for sightseeing and to learn about the Hermit of Emerald Bay, Captain Richard “Dick” Barter, Tahoe’s only island and Mrs. Knight’s Teahouse. The Cross Country improves the vehicle’s sculpture with special NESO alloy rims, side scuff plates, silver front and rear skid plates, raised suspension (by 2.6” providing up to 7.9” of ground clearance), embedded, dual exhaust tips, honeycomb grille and roof rails, all thoughtfully blended together.

The journey over the hills and through the woods to grandma’s house was a piece of (red velvet) cake due partly to the V60 Cross Country’s 2.5-liter turbocharged 5-cylinder engine distributing 250-horsepower and 266 lb.-ft. of torque. Paired with a 6-speed Geartronic automatic transmission, AWD and Corner Traction Control using Torque Vectoring I was immediately impressed with our newcomer’s graceful power and undisturbed handling. The gearbox’s Adaptive Shift with Sport Mode was convenient when we hit inclines and needed to shift manually to control the power management and RPMs. Though, if the vehicle was weighted down with four passengers, luggage, equipment and a small trailer (hitch available through dealer) it would need to step up its torque game a bit.——

The scenic drive was delightful and offered an idea of what it feels like to be a Cross Country enthusiast, but we also evaluated the backbone of the wagon which is the latest Haldex electronically controlled AWD system with Instant Traction. The velocity of the wheels, engine torque and speed, the throttle and the brakes are continuously observed. When road conditions are altered the wheels with optimal traction take precedence. The suspension parts were borrowed from XC70 and tuned for dynamic driving. It also features Hill Decent Control. To experience its AWD attributes in the real world Volvo created an ice course at a local airport and instructed us to drive with DSTC (Dynamic Stability and Traction Control) on and off to compare handling parameters during an early, luminous morning. So I jumped in a vehicle with Nokian 235/50/R18 Hakkapelitta 8 studded tires (Nokian says they are designed with powerful, edged saw-tooth pattern that increases the tire’s contact with the driving surface and effectively increases braking grip, especially on snow surfaces); turned DSTC off; and drifted around the course accelerating and steering with equanimity. Sudden jerks and roughness on the pedal would easily send the vehicle sliding out of control. With DSTC on you can flat foot the accelerator, but, the system kicks in and modulates performance gradually, essentially keeping the V60 in control. The base tire is an all-season Continental 235/50R18.

A few inconveniences I noticed were the small 7” LCD Monitor and cramped second row seating. Yet, Volvo now offers a Wi-Fi hotspot, user-friendly apps (Stitcher, Yelp, Glympse, Pandora, Park & Pay and many more) and a Cloud through its improved Sensus Connect. Moreover, standard leather, a sunroof and ultra-comfortable, contour sport seats render the price point much more attractive.

2015.5-Volvo-V60-Cross-Country...10The V60 Cross Country comes with a host of standard protective features including City Safety (Low Speed Collision Avoidance System) which helps reduce the impact of a crash or avoid a rear end collision entirely and Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS) for the driver and front passenger. Additionally, passengers are protected with Inflatable Curtain Head Impact Protection and Side Impact Protection systems. This is in addition to advanced security, Rear Park Assist, Child Safety Locks and LED Daytime Running Lights. Also, an integrated Child Booster seat is available as an option. So as you can see, protection from house to auto is still intact when one selects a Volvo as the main mode of transportation. It’s in their nature!

Starting at $41,000 for a standard V60 T5 AWD Cross Country, our V60 T5 AWD Cross Country Platinum tipped the scale around $49,350 (adds a premium Harmon Kardon sound system, Rear Park Assist Camera, Adaptive Cruise Control, Pedestrian/Cyclist Detection with Auto Brake and much more). The $44,650 base price was increased by the $1,550 Climate Package; the $925 BLIS Package (Blind Spot Information System); $560 Metallic Paint; $325 Speed Sensitive Steering; $400 Urbane Wood Inlay; and last but not least, the $940 destination charge. Compare against Audi’s All-Road since this is its chief competitor.

The world is your oyster and nomadic adventures lie ahead. So shine those skis, strap up your boots and head out to back country in the latest Volvo Cross Country!

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