Scandinavian Design. Flawless Execution
Here’s the story. When I picked up the Volvo V60 Cross Country, my first impression was pretty average. It’s all within my expectation, such as excellent seats, top-notch audio, all kinds of safety tech and the user-friendly Google interface. After driving it for a few days, I thought the V60 is easy to live with, even though the driving dynamics aren’t quite on par with the German rivals. It’s when I returned the V60 and swapped into the Ford Mach-E electric SUV then I begin to appreciate what Volvo offered: a simple Scandinavian design with flawless execution. The V60 has virtually nothing to complain about; everything from exterior to engine and brakes to interior were executed perfectly. Comparatively, the Mach-E had eye-catching exterior and sleek interior but the craftmanship is just not at the same level. A few complaints for the Mach-E include weak brakes, poorly designed ipad panel and some questionable use of materials. I’ll be writing about the Mach-E soon so stay tuned for that.
My V60 tester is equipped with AWD and priced at $65,900. It’s got a supercharged and turbocharged engine producing 247HP and 258lb-ft of torque, mated to an 8-speed automatic. Power delivery was fairly standard for what I expected from a Volvo wagon. It goes when I step on the gas pedal but not quite as exciting as the German rivals. Mind you, it’s not easy to find German wagons; they occasionally offer wagons such as Mercedes C series wagon, Audi A4 All Road etc. but the supply is always limited and they may not be available every year. Like if you try to find a BMW 3 series wagon, it’s not available on its website. North Americans love SUVs and this bias is essentially killing off anything that’s not an SUV. Both the sedans and wagons are getting less and less attention because their sales figures aren’t that pretty. Volvo is one of the few brands that insist on offering wagons consistently and persistently. Kudos to Volvo. I think wagons look cool and are more fun to drive than most SUVs. I’ve reviewed the Volvo V90 wagon last year and it was such a great vehicle.
Back to V60, what’s to like and what’s not to like? Let’s start with the positives. Volvo didn’t cut corners or cheap out on things you may care about. All the touch points are nicely padded and there’s no offensive hard plastics. The quality of materials is high, like the steering wheel feels nice, the turn stalks feel premium, the crystal gear shifter feels very high end and the Google-based infotainment is responsive. Needless to say, the Bowers & Wilkins audio system is one of the best audio systems I’ve tried, and the massage function of the front driver and passenger seats makes you feel like you’re being taken care of. Volvo didn’t forget about the rear passengers either. The rear seats are comfortable and has air vents on the B pillar as well as the usual armrest area. The rear seats are heated and there are 2 USB-C chargers for the rear passengers. The back also has a generous amount of legroom and loads of space to place my feet. If I have to nitpick, then I would say the transmission tunnel in the back is intrusive, making it uncomfortable to sit three. Another thing to nitpick is the lack of feedback from the steering wheel; the feeling is numb that makes the drive almost boring.
Last but not least is Volvo’s safety tech. It offers a wide array of safety features including 360 camera, blind spot monitoring, lane keep assist, front and rear traffic warning, as well as their own whiplash injury protection system and inflatable side curtains for neck protection.
V60 also has a Plug-in variant that offers up to 80km of range. However, its supply is very low and I have heard that dealerships are not accepting orders for the plug-in variant for the time being.
Check out the gallery below to see if Volvo V60 is your cup of tea!