Not since the days of Ace of Base has a set of Swedish siblings been so appealing.
In a world gone crossover-crazy, having one mid-size luxury CUV is not enough. Having seen the signs, Volvo opened up its eyes and is introducing a second crossover of the mid-size variety.
Called the V60 Cross Country, the new softroader continues Volvo’s tradition of taking a wagon, adding some ride height and butching up the exterior. It joins the aging XC60 in Volvo’s lineup, which did receive some new life for 2015 with the introduction of new, more efficient Drive-E powertrains.
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Taller, But Not That Tall
Now with 7.9 inches of ground clearance, the Cross Country sits much higher than a regular V60 wagon, but it’s still not as high up as the XC60, which has an off-road-ready 9.1 inches of ground clearance. Aside from vehicle height, everything about these two crossovers is nearly identical.
Total length is a hair under 183 inches for both crossovers and overall width is within an inch of each other. The only measurement that really separates the two is total height: With the XC60’s roofline sitting 67.4 inches off the ground, it is nine inches higher than the V60 Cross Country.
Funky Engines Aplenty
Volvo is known for having some unusual engine options and it looks like that will be the case for years to come. The XC60 is available with no fewer than four different engines, depending on trim and drivetrain. New this year are the Drive-E engines, the most interesting of which is the twin-charged T6.
That’s right, the 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine is supercharged and turbocharged to produce 302 HP and 295 lb-ft. of torque. The reason for twin charging an engine is to get the best of both worlds. The supercharger adds extra power during low engine speeds, while a turbocharger adds grunt at the higher end. And despite all this innovative technology, the twin-charged engine can run on regular gas. For now, it only comes in front-wheel-drive versions of the XC60 T6 and is hooked up to an equally new eight-speed automatic transmission.
Strangely, the V60 Cross Country is pigeon-holed into offering just one drivetrain, even though the regular V60 wagon has more choices. All Cross Countrys come equipped with a 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine making 250 HP and 266 lb-ft. of torque. Unlike the new Drive-E engines, it remains partnered to a six-speed automatic and all-wheel drive.
Weighing just over 4,043 pounds, the XC60 is over 400 pounds heavier than the 3,622-lb. V60 Cross Country. But with the extra power, it can still run from 0-60 MPH in 6.5 seconds, a half second fast than the Cross Country. And, even with more power and more weight, the XC60 has higher efficiency ratings than the all-wheel-drive V60 Cross Country, thanks to that Drive-E powertrain. But, during real world testing, the two vehicles nearly tied with the V60’s observed average of 25 MPG beating the XC60’s average of 24.8 MPG.
Start Stop Needs To Stop
Part of the reason for the XC60’s poor real-world mileage could be blamed on the engine’s start-stop system. It’s terrible. There’s a heavy delay in re-firing the engine once it stopped, which lead me to hammering down on the throttle more than I planned to as I waited for the vehicle to get rolling.
Once that initial lag goes away, there is so much more torque and power throughout the rpm range in the XC60. The twin-charge system works wonders, as the XC is never in need of more power.
|Vehicle||2015 Volvo XC60||Advantage||2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country|
|Engine||2.0 L turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder||-||2.5 L turbocharged five-cylinder|
|Horsepower||302 HP||XC60||250 HP|
|Torque||295 lb-ft.||XC60||266 lb-ft.|
|Weight||4,043 lbs.||V60 CC||3,622 lbs.|
|0-60 MPH||6.5 seconds||XC60||7.0 seconds|
|Cargo Space Seats Down||67.4 cubic feet||XC60||43.8 cubic feet|
|Fuel Economy (US)||22 MPG city, 30 MPG hwy||XC60||20 MPG city, 28 MPG hwy|
|Fuel Economy (CDN)||10.9 L/100 km city, 7.8 L/100 km hwy||XC60||11.8 L/100 km city, 8.3 L/100 km hwy|
|Observed Fuel Economy||24.8 MPG||V60 CC||25.0 MPG|
|As Tested Price(US)||$49,580||V60 CC||$48,625|
|As Tested Price(CDN)||$59,415||V60 CC||$57,865|
Stop and Tow
To help bring the heavier XC60 to a stop, slightly larger front brake rotors are installed, measuring 12.9 inches in diameter versus the Cross Country’s 11.8-inch rotors. Both vehicles come standard with 18-inch wheels, but the XC60 can be fitted with optional 20-inchers if desired.
SEE ALSO: 2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country
Both Volvos are rated to tow 3,500 pounds and the V60 Cross Country has a slightly smaller turning radius. Overall, the XC60 drives more like a crossover while the V60 Cross Country drives a lot like a car. This begs the question though, if you want something that drives more like a car, why not get an actual car, the regular V60 wagon?
Since both vehicles are modern Volvos, the interiors are very similar. Officially, the V60 has more headroom up front than the XC60, but it doesn’t feel like it. The XC60 feels more spacious, thanks to taller windows and a more boxy shape. Again, sitting in the V60 Cross Country feels more car-like, while the airier XC60 feels more like a crossover.
Adults can fit in the back of either vehicle without issue. The V60 has a lower seat cushion and headroom only works because there is a valley dug out of the roof liner. The XC60 offers more legroom, more headroom and a more open feeling thanks to a panoramic sunroof – something not offered in the V60 Cross Country. Step in height in the XC60 is better situated for adults, while the lower entry height of the V60 Cross Country is better suited for kids.
With a lower load floor, the V60 Cross Country’s cargo area can carry a lot, 43.8 cubic feet to be exact with the seats folded down. But that’s still 23.6 cubic feet less than the XC60 and the XC60 does come with a power lift gate, pop up hatch divider and hidden storage space under the floor – features absent from the Cross Country.
The Verdict: 2015 Volvo XC60 vs Volvo V60 Cross Country
As tested, both vehicles came in the Platinum trim with the climate and BLIS packages. That puts them both just under the $50,000 mark, with the V60 Cross Country having a $1,000 price advantage.
Deciding between these Volvos isn’t easy, but if it’s a crossover you’re after, then get the true crossover, the XC60. The V60 Cross Country is good, but is too much of a compromise between a wagon and a crossover – especially considering Volvo already has one of each. Worse yet, it’s very limited in how it can be optioned. Not only does the XC60 offer more passenger space and extra features, but it also gives you so much more choice.
2015 Volvo XC60
2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country