A 1919 cross country military convoy journey, which then Lieutenant Colonel Dwight D. Eisenhower participated in, required 2 months. The long harrowing journey nearly foretold how thirty-seven years later, Eisenhower as President of the United States, would sign into law the 1956 Federal Aid Highway Act.
After completion of the $100 billion dollar, 40,000 mile, 4-lane, controlled access U.S. Interstate Highway network a military convoy could complete a cross country expedition in just 5 days.
The station wagon, a family sedan elongated for greater practicality, dominated cross country interstate excursions from the 1950’s through the 1970’s. Only when gas prices quintupled did a more practical family mini van grab that baton.
Instead a new breed of station wagon, raised higher and fortified with all-wheel drive, suited that growing segment actively pursuing life, liberty and happiness in the great outdoors.
Among makers of the jacked up sport wagon, perhaps none is more loyal to the stateside faithful than Volvo, which remains “Engagerad i Sportvagnen.” Though only tempted, Roadblazing.com imagined a 5-day transcontinental jaunt envisioned by Ike in the all new 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country.
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WHAT: 2020 Volvo V60 T5 Cross Country mid size luxury station wagon/ estate, based on the S60 executive sedan, replacing the P3 based V60 Cross Country. A 2/3 spitting image of the V90 Cross Country sportwagon.
Standard Power: transverse intercooled turbocharged 2.0L DOHC 16V DI gas I-4 = 250 hp/ 258 lb-ft @ 1500 rpm + 8-spd. torque converter planetary transmission w/ shift paddles + Haldex IV all-wheel drive.
WHAT (A) STYLING DIFFERENCE: A luxury executive wagon rides atop the Geely Volvo Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) modular platform.
Ruggedized S60: √ Split creased side valley, spill-over hood; √ Cutting Edge hyphen engraved concave vertical slat hexagonal grille; √ Inboard arrow wrap-around LED headlamps; √ Thors Hammer alternating white DRLs/ amber flashers; √ More prominent lower front fascia corners feature lose horizontal chrome splitter; √ Lower front and rear valance matte silver simulated skid plates.
√ Sharp raked windshield; High belt-line; Sloping upper greenhouse; Coke-bottle fuselage; √ Door mount wing mirrors for improved outward view; √ Thin, obtuse kinked “D” pillar flows to flared rear quarter panel shoulders;
√ Roof spoiler; √ Musical clef vertical taillamp housings trace Kammback liftgate, terminating in inboard reflector housings under liftgate split line; √ Wheel arch to wheel arch dark cladding; √ Lower rear valance etched “Cross Country” band; √ Deep load floor spill-over bumper lip;
WHY: When it absolutely has to be an adventure inspiring luxury Vagn
WHEN: On-Sale (in the U.S.) since Autumn 2019
WHERE: Volvo new vehicle dealers, by special order
WHERE MADE: Torslanda, Gothenburg, Sweden
HOW ROADWORTHY: Without supercharger, urgent turbocharger boost demands more throttle. Power is delivered in mostly linear business-like fashion, not at all explosive. Sport mode stirs the 8-speed auto gearbox to hold gears longer. The powerplant could use the aural character of the old Volvo 5-pots, for the exhaust utters something tinny.
Haldex IV all-wheel drive is rather passive. Front wheel bias plow ultimately calls for viscous clutch differential intervention, shifting upwards of 90% torque shifted to the stern as brakes administer side to side vectoring. +1 driver selectable Off-Road drive mode.
Vast 8.3″-inches to ground level finds tauter damping to compensated for increased wheel travel, tramping tautly over the uneven. Few of the crossover utility ilk can match this sport wagon in roll and weight transfer quelling and sharpness of turn-in sharpness. Static, though weighty winding steering is low on road communication; +1 Luxury level body stiffness; -1 Tire rumble on concrete roads. -1 Brake pedal reaction = slightly tepid at the pedal’s end.
HOW FAR: 27 combined miles per gallon fuel economy; 490 highway miles range
HOW BIG/ LITTLE: √ 5 Occupant 2+3 seating.
– For Comparison’s Sake:
- 113.2″-inch Wheelbase: 2.3″ > Audi A4 Allroad, 5.1″ > Subaru Outback
- Maximum cargo capacity: 13% < Audi A4 Allroad, 32% < Subaru Outback
- 2nd Row legroom: 0.5″ < Audi A4 Allroad, 4.3″ < Subaru Outback
HOW USEFUL: √ 60/40% split folding 2nd Row seat backs w/ center pass-through; √ Cargo floor chrome load plate; √ Extended cargo load bumper cover; √ Spring raised cargo floor management panel w/ stretch straps, hooks; √ Cargo-area 12V outlet; √ Power liftgate w/ dual grab handles; √ Mouse-fur lined, damped action glove box; +1 Low cowl and and power folding rear outboard headrests aid outward view; +1 Non-intrusive cargo area wheel arch; –1 No overhead console retracting sunglass bin; –1 Sparse center console storage; –1 No dedicated center console mobile phone storage; -1 Lower side of cargo capacity among station wagons.
HOW SAFE: √ 9 airbags; √ IIHS Top Safety Pick Plus (S60 rated); √ Surround view cameras; sonar front & rear Park Distance Control; √ Blind spot, rear cross traffic & lane departure warning; √ Auto parking brake hold; √ Auto high beam headlamps; √ Heads-Up display
Partial Autonomous Driving: √ Pilot Assist 2; √ Full-adaptive cruise control; √ Lane Keep Assist, √ Forward Collision avoidance braking. +1 Permits 23 seconds of hands/ foot free driving.
+1 Park Pilot executes precise active parallel (passenger side only) & perpendicular parking maneuvers.
HOW PEOPLE FRIENDLY: An artful mastery of esoteric materials implemented in panels or controls where form and function are co-equals creating an environment that is Scandinavian posh.
√ Heated, cooled, 12-way power front seats, including torso bolsters & knee extenders, 2-setting driver’s memory; √ 4 power windows w/ full up/ down express; √ 3-Zone auto climate control w/ auto front seat heating/ cooling ; √ Heated leather steering; √ 2nd Row and aft dark tint privacy glass; √ Power retracting rear headrests; √ Door puddle lamps x 4; √ Panoramic power moon-roof; -1 Manual tilt/ telescoping steering wheel;
Cool Gizmo(s): √ 9.2″-inch LCD Digital Drive Display w/ configurable LCD twin gauges; √ Aluminum hammered barrel console twist ignition, roller Drive Mode controls; √ B&W Nautilus dash top aluminum bullet tweeter speaker – Yellow Kevlar door speakers
Details Done Right: √ Brushed aluminum inlays, speaker housing covers & switch-gear; √ Genuine segmented wood veneer center console bin shade; √ Contrast stitched, perforated Nappa leather seating & upper door panels & dash-top; √ Full dashboard & door panel ambient LEDs; √ Dense pile cargo area carpeting.
Nearly Non-Descript: -1 Black mesh cloth headliner;
HOW “APP” -LICABLE: √ 9″ Sensus vertical tablet-style, pane-swipe, touch LCD infotainment screen; √ Rotary audio volume dial, selection, defroster & Home screen switches ; √ Bluetooth, hands-free communications; √ Voice-to-text SMS messaging; √ Voice command/ guidance 3-D HDD GPS navigation; √ Android Auto + Apple CarPlay; √ Sensus Connected Apps: √ USB x 4, 12V x 3.
Audibly: √ 19 speaker, 1400 W Bower & Wilkins = upper frequency sibilance, concert hall depth
By Subscription: √ SiriusXM (90 days incl.) ; Sirius TravelLink apps; √ 4G LTE by Verizon;
HOW MUCH: $56,990 = as tested 2020 Volvo V60 T5 Cross Country T5 suggested retail price
WHAT’S MISSING: Exhaust rumble, Oliophobic touch media screen, meaningful center console storage
ANY COMPETITION: Audi A4 Allroad: +1 virtual cockpit, dual-clutch transmission, handling; Subaru Outback: +1 value proposition, occupant, cargo space.
FINAL WORD: The raised all-wheel drive Vagn lives on to deliver on promises of posh adventure.