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Volvo’s lifted V60 Cross Country wagon laces up its hiking boots

In 1997, Volvo figured out that it could sell more station wagons if it jacked up the suspension and added plastic body cladding to make them look like SUVs. Thus the Cross Country was born. Volvo has done a Cross Country version of nearly every wagon since, and now it’s the redesigned V60’s turn to wear the look.

The Volvo V60 Cross Country is a more rugged version of the V60 for customers who have SUV envy. Its suspension is raised by 2.9 inches compared to the standard V60, and puffed-up wheel arches give the Cross Country a more aggressive look. All-wheel drive is standard on the Cross Country (it’s optional on the regular V60), along with an off-road driving mode that probably won’t get much use.

Other than those relatively minor changes, this is the same Volvo recipe we’ve grown to admire. Both the regular V60 and the Cross Country ride on the same Scalable Architecture Platform (SPA) used by the S60 sedan and XC60 SUV, as well as Volvo’s larger 90 series models (S90 sedan, V90 wagon, XC90 SUV). So far, we haven’t met a SPA-based Volvo we didn’t like.

Infotainment is similar to other recent Volvos as well, incorporating a portrait-oriented touchscreen and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility. We’re still waiting on Volvo’s Android-based infotainment system, which will have features like Google Assistant baked right in.

The V60 Cross Country also gets Volvo’s City Safety system, which the automaker claims can detect pedestrians, cyclists and large animals as well as other vehicles, and automatically applies the brakes to avoid a collision. Pilot Assist can automate acceleration and braking, as well as light steering, on clearly-marked highways at speeds up to 80 mph, according to Volvo. Other available driver-assist features include road departure mitigation, cross traffic alert, and a feature that stops the driver from veering into the oncoming lane.

At launch, the V60 Cross Country will be available in T5 configuration, with mild hybrid and plug-in hybrid powertrains to follow. In the current Volvo lineup, T5 denotes a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. This powertrain is rated at 250 horsepower in the non-Cross Country V60 T5.

It’s unclear how Volvo will split sales between the regular V60 and the Cross Country in the United States. Volvo technically sells larger V90 wagon in both standard and Cross Country trim here, but dealers only stock the Cross Country. The regular V90 is available by special order only. Because wagons are so unpopular in the U.S., Volvo didn’t think it was worthwhile to stock both versions. Volvo may do the same with the V60, only placing Cross Country versions on dealer lots.

We’ll find out about that, as well as pricing information for the V60 Cross Country, closer to the wagon’s launch, likely for the 2019 model year. In addition to traditional purchase and lease options, the Cross Country will be available through the Care by Volvo subscription service, which bundles the price of the vehicle, insurance, and taxes into one flat monthly fee.

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