Driven: 2015 Volvo V60 T5 AWD Cross Country

Driven: 2015 Volvo V60 T5 AWD Cross Country

Hurray! Finally, an automaker who calls its crossover what it really is — a station wagon!

2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country is ready to travel regardless of the weather | Larry Edsall photos

2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country is ready to travel regardless of the weather | Larry Edsall photos

I’ve been told that I tend to be very critical in my Driven stories, picking sometimes not only on a particular vehicle, or at least some — OK, sometimes quite a few of its attributes — but sometimes even picking on the people who would choose to buy such a vehicle.

But then along comes a vehicle such as the 2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country and my biggest criticism is that they’re only letting me drive it for one week.

Perhaps a base price of $41,000 seems steep for a compact station wagon, so I really can’t blame you if you cringe at the $49,350 as-tested price. But remember that Volvo admits that it builds premium-class vehicles, including this one, which it calls a “sporty and dynamic luxury wagon.”

Hurray! Finally, an automaker who calls its crossover what it really is — a station wagon! Albeit one that isn’t boxy in its styling but rather sleek and even aerodynamic in its appearance.

Big tail lamps and lower facia are rear styling cues

Big tail lamps and lower facia are rear styling cues

The Cross Country is based on the new-for-2015 Volvo V60 wagon, but the Cross Country is designed for leaving pavement or for dealing with deep snow and thus has 2.6 inches of additional ground clearance, nearly eight inches between its floor pan and the road surface. It also is equipped with what Volvo calls All-Wheel Drive with Instant Traction to enhance grip on wet, slippery or even dry roads, thanks to a Haldex AWD system that sends power to the wheels with the best traction at any given moment. Hill Descent Control that crawls you safely down a steep incline also is part of the package, as are 18-inch NESO Cross Country wheels with 235/50-aspect tires.

Empowering this wagon and its technology is Volvo’s inline 2.5-liter turbocharged engine which pumps out 250 horsepower and provides 266 pound-feet of torque as soon as 1,800 rpm. The output flows through a six-speed automatic transmission.

Volvo claims 0-60 mph in seven seconds. We can report that the engine is very spunky, quick off the line, eager to accelerate around traffic, and that the same system that provides traction in inclement weather also works wonderfully on dry pavement when you need or want to change lanes.

Turbocharged five-cylinder has plenty of spunk

Turbocharged five-cylinder has plenty of spunk

The turbo-5 is quick, but therefore it’s not the most fuel efficient, rated at a reasonable 20 mpg in town but at only 28 on the highway. We averaged between 24 and 25 mpg during our week of driving.

We were instantly comfortable in the eight-way power-adjustable leather-covered driver’s seat with contrasting red stitching. The steering column tilts and telescopes, and all switchgear seems intuitive.

Leg room for those in the back seat isn’t overly generous, but our opinion is that this is a delightful vehicle for affluent young families or singles or for empty nesters looking for something a little different. But it’s also good for snow and packed with all that Volvo safety gear.

Speaking of packed, our test car was. It had the $3,850 Platinum option package — Harmon Kardon premium sound system, active dual Xenon headlamps, accent lighting, auto-dimming mirrors, keyless start, rear-park assist camera, adaptive cruise control, collision warning with full auto brake, pedestrian/cyclists detection, distance alert, lane-departure warning, road-sing information with active high beam.

The cockpit

The cockpit

It also had a $1,550 climate package with heated seats — front and rear — heated steering wheel, heated windshield, and heated washers, plus the $925 BLIS — Blind Spot warning system with cross-traffic alert (a very useful feature when you’re trying to back out of a parking place), plus $325 speed-sensitive steering upgrade, $400 Urbane wood interior trim and $600 worth of Crystal White metallic paint.

Alas, our week is up and they’re coming soon to claim the keys back.

Oh, one more thing: If you had any doubts that the automobile industry finally has become globalized, consider the V60 Cross Country. Volvo now has Chinese ownership, but this vehicle is still made in Gothenburg, Sweden, with a Swedish engine among its 45 percent Swedish content. Another 20 percent of the components are from Germany. The transmission is from Japan. One percent of its components were produced in North America.

The wheel

The wheel

2015 Volvo V60 T5 AWD Cross Country
Vehicle type: 5-passenger station wagon, all-wheel drive
Base price: $41,000 Price as tested: $49,350
Engine: 2.5-liter turbocharged inline5-cylinder, 250-horsepower @ 5,400 rpm, 266 pound-feet of torque @ 1,800-4,200 rpm Transmission: 6-speed Geartronic automatic
Wheelbase: 109.3 inches Overall length/width: 182.5 inches / 73.4 inches
Curb weight: 3,622 pounds
EPA mileage estimates: 20 city / 28 highway / 23 combined
Assembled in: Gothenburg, Sweden

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