2024 Volvo V60 Cross Country B5 AWD Ultimate road test review by Ben Lewis

We love wagons. While the world has gone SUV crazy, we still think there’s something cool about a lower-slung, still capable, vehicle that gets things done. And nothing looks better with a surfboard on it. Period.

Unfortunately, if you love wagons as much as we do, you know – there are very few of them still available. Blame the crossover/SUV craze. When we get a chance to test any wagon, we’re excited. So, when Volvo gave us an opportunity to spend some time in the V60 Cross Country wagon, we jumped at it!

 Sleek and Sexy Swede

There may not be many wagons left in the marketplace, but with the V60, you’ve got one of the sexiest. The model got a refresh last year, and they took and already-handsome shape and cleaned it up even further.

Up front, there’s a refreshingly appropriate – read that as not humongous – grille with a handsome traditional Volvo badge in the center. We also love the “Thor’s Hammer” signature headlamps and the angled lower grille that gives off a sporty vibe.

The profile really grabs your eye, with a low-slung, hunkered-down look. A high hip line and small greenhouse makes the V60 look especially racy. And even though our tester was the Cross Country model with a slightly raised suspension and black-out fender trim, it still looks sleek and sucked down to the pavement.

The rear is like the front – subtle, but impressive. The wrap-around taillights are very Volvo-ish, with the upswing on the rear that’s a bit SUV-like. Crisp horizontal lines and a little bling on the lower garnish finish off the look. The final touch was our tester’s Silver Dawn paint scheme, super-elegant, and really helps to show off the sleek lines.

Scandinavian Modern

We’ve always loved Volvo interiors – you get an upscale look and feel, with a touch of Scandinavian minimalist, and best of all, it’s different from other highly regarded brands like Audi.

Open the door and you’re greeted by the luscious smell of perforated Nappa leather seats. If you’ve ever been to a high-end Swedish furniture store, you know it well. You’ll also know the exceptional comfort – the seats are firm, beautifully supportive and nicely adjustable. Perfect for sitting hours and hours.

The fat leather steering wheel feels great in your hands, and the shift lever…well, it’s a giant crystal knob by noted maker Orefors. Very Swedish and a touch of bling in an otherwise reserved interior. A large center console splits the front seats, and you have a nice cozy space. The vibe is also cozy, and you get metal trim, a tailored dashboard, and gorgeous “driftwood” genuine wood inlay Volvo says is shaped by the natural force of water, wind and waves. Take that, faux carbon fiber!

Traditional Swedish, yes – but there’s plenty of tech, too. The gauge package is handsome with sweeping semi-circles for speedo and tech, and a nice center display perfect to show navigation, directions and other info.

Adding to that is a new info-tainment system that’s Google-based – a major improvement over the previous system that was very pokey. The Google Built-in works well, with Google voice assistant, Google Maps with amazing 3D photo-accurate displays, even the Google Store if you want apps and to play games – sorry only when the vehicle is parked. Apple CarPlay works flawlessly here, and while the icons are on the small side, we never had a problem getting what wanted. And yes! Volvo makes sure you have a volume knob directly beneath the screen.

The rear seats are also comfy but if you are going to have taller people in back, we’d consider opting for the XC60 SUV. There’s no lacking cargo space in the wagon, and the lower height makes for easy loading. Another plus –  you don’t worry about opening the hatch and smacking the garage door like you would in most SUVs.

Friendly and Fast

Driving the V60 is as much as a pleasure as looking and sitting in it.

Volvo has simplified the choice of engines, and our tester had the 247-horsepower, turbocharged 4-cylinder. Like most Volvo engines, this is now a 48-volt hybrid system that’s pretty subtle. You mostly notice it starts without any “starter” noise, and the engine stop and go system is seamless. Those wanting more power can opt for the V60 Recharge with an astonishing 455 horsepower. Unfortunately, it also starts at an astonishing $71,250.

Once you’re going, the V60 is quick, but not fast, and has a nice, slightly gritty tone that reminds us of the unbreakable workhorse engine that used to be found in the 245 wagon. Power is smooth and the turbo gives good low-end power and combined with a responsive 8-speed automatic you zip around easily. With a combined 26 mpg EPA rating it’s fairly frugal – especially if you can resist spending too much in the turbo zone!

Standard AWD gives plenty of grip, and it should be good in all-weather conditions. We did notice that the Swedish carmaker has toned down the off-roady vibe of previous Cross Country models, but you do get an Off-Road mode and Hill Descent Control. You’ve even got over 8-inches of ground clearance, but we think the majority of V60 buyers will not be venturing far off the pavement.

And there’s plenty of reason to stay on the pavement. The ride is firm but nicely controlled, and we found the handling grippy and responsive. It’s a lovely blend of sporty and luxury – much like the V60 itself.

Volvos are also known for safety, and the V60 is well equipped with the BLIS blind spot information system with cross traffic alert, collision avoidance with pedestrian, cyclist and large animal (moose?), and their Pilot Assist with Adaptive Cruise Control.

Luxury’s Nice. IKEA price?

Err…no discount Swedish pancakes here – this is a premium vehicle. The V60 starts at $50,300, which for a luxury vehicle with a cool wagon vibe seems quite reasonable. Our Ultimate model amped up the goodies and started at $54,800. We also enjoyed the Climate Package ($750), trailer hitch ($1,650), Luggage Cover ($380), Power tailgate ($200), AND Bowers & Wilkins premium sound ($3,200). Add in Destination at $1,095, and we rang the bell at $62,075.

The most direct competitor would be the Audi A4 All-Road at $59,450, also handsome, and it really depends on your feeling of German vs Swedish luxury. Those on a budget should consider the Subaru Outback at $41,540. We think the Subie would be the more capable off-roader, but there’s no way it can match the elegance and Euro-goodness of the Volvo.

A rare blend of European elegance and wagon cool, the 2024 Volvo V60 Cross Country is a stylish, capable and delightful alternative to an SUV!

Ben Lewis grew up in Chicago, and after spending his formative years driving sideways in the winter – often intentionally – moved to sunny Southern California. He now enjoys sunny weather year-round — whether it is autocross driving, aerobatics, and learning to surf.

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