The station wagon was as soon as essentially the most on-trend type issue for household automobiles, but by the center of the Eighties the venerable wagon had change into an embarrassing mom-mobile. As an alternative, everybody wished the brand new hotness referred to as a minivan, which not solely appeared a bit like that new hand-held vacuum cleaner that everybody simply purchased, but in addition provided higher utility for the parent-driver. Finally the minivan was additionally painted with the uncool mother aura, and the market moved to SUVs.
Now, some 40 years after its zenith, time has virtually run out on the station wagon. A handful of OEMs nonetheless pander to the wagoncurious, although, notably these fashionable Swedes at Volvo. The corporate’s two most good-looking merchandise proper now are arguably the V90 and V60 wagons, which each someway fuse a touch of muscle automotive to conventional two-box form. However these aren’t the one station wagons on the model’s roster, as a result of there are the Cross Nation fashions. The thought takes the station wagon, then provides a few inches of journey top, giving it the flexibility to raised traverse unpaved roads—cross nation, you see?
I examined the V90 Cross Country three years in the past, and in the present day it is the flip of the V60 Cross Nation. Particularly, the $45,450 V60 Cross Nation T5 AWD. You may distinguish it from the regular V60 by the truth that the Cross Nation rides a few inches greater up, and it’s adorned with uncooked plastic bumpers round its backside edges, the higher to deal with spending time on gravel. Magnificence is within the eye of the beholder and all that, however this eye beholds that these two little tweaks do the seems of this midsize wagon no favors.
On the within I’ve no such complaints, though I desire the woven textile seats, a no-cost possibility, to the cream leather-based inside that got here with our check automotive. Nonetheless, the view from the within suffers from a little bit of a blind spot brought on by the driver-side mirror.
The digital instrument panel and nine-inch infotainment display screen do not have fairly the wow issue they as soon as had, and the automotive runs the older model of Sensus slightly than the Android Automotive-based infotainment that Volvo is now adopting. That mentioned, the minimalist UI theme is stark and freed from extraneous info, and even for those who hate it there’s (wired) Android Auto and Apple CarPlay.
For US Volvos, T5 is the entry level to every totally different mannequin, with a turbocharged 250hp (187kW) 2.0L four-cylinder gasoline engine beneath the hood. That is coupled to an eight-speed computerized transmission, and for the reason that level is with the ability to drive the place different wagons concern to tread, each Cross Nation comes with all-wheel drive.
For a similar cause, the V60 Cross Nation sits 8 inches (203mm) off the bottom with simply the motive force onboard, 2.4 inches (61mm) greater up than the common V60. That gives the Cross Nation with an method angle of 17˚, a breakover angle of 18.4˚, and a departure angle of twenty-two.8˚. Volvo additionally says it could possibly wade via 11.8-inch (300mm) deep streams, so long as one does that at a strolling tempo.
Nonetheless, I examined none of those talents, as a result of I reside in the midst of a metropolis. And right here, sadly, the impact of elevating the journey top by a few inches is detrimental to the automotive’s dealing with. The trade-off for extra floor clearance is a better heart of gravity, and which means the Cross Nation’s softly sprung physique likes to roll a bit within the corners. However then for those who wished a fine-handling Volvo station wagon, you’d most likely order the plug-in hybrid V60 T8. That one comes with a bit of gold halo (and gold seat belts and brake calipers) courtesy of Polestar, but it surely additionally prices $22,495 extra.
The V60 Cross Nation’s means to journey on tough roads has a tradeoff when it comes time to refuel. The V60 Cross Nation averages a mixed 25mpg (9.4l/100km); for comparability the front-wheel drive V60 averages 27mpg (8.7l/100km), and the plug-in hybrid V60 reaches 30mpg (7.8l/100km).
The Cross Nation would possibly lean a bit of extra within the turns than I like, however that most likely provides to its security issue on the street because it enforces a “brake earlier than the nook” driving fashion. Not that you simply ever really feel unsafe cocooned in one in every of Gothenburg’s best, which come filled with the newest and best superior driver help methods, together with ahead collision warning and computerized emergency braking, that acknowledges massive quadrupeds, cyclists, and pedestrians in addition to different street automobiles. All of the blind spots are monitored, and lane preserving is supplied as normal, however you do have to pay for the Superior Bundle ($1,900) to get adaptive cruise management, 360-degree parking cameras, a heads-up show, and wi-fi charging on your cellphone.
By now, you might need the impression I am not solely enamored with the V60 Cross Nation. That is true, but it surely’s additionally irrelevant, for the gross sales numbers don’t lie. For the primary 9 months of 2020, Volvo bought 1,048 of the conventional V60 station wagons right here within the US, however almost 3 times as many V60 Cross Nations—2,903 in all. However this is the stat that may make all us wagon followers really feel dangerous: throughout the identical time interval, 20,462 individuals purchased Volvo XC60 SUVs.
Itemizing picture by Jonathan Gitlin