The Volvo S60 Cross Country is a very capable car that can be handled across all weather and terrain conditions, says P Tharyan.
The Nordic region that comprises countries like Denmark, Norway, Sweden, Finland and Iceland has given the world some great brands like Ikea, H&M, Nokia, Ericsson, Atlas Copco, Lego, Carlsberg and, of course, Volvo.
Volvo, though known for its impeccable safety features, never really scored big on the styling front when compared to some of the German brands.
All this has changed in the recent past. In India, with the likes of the all new XC90, XC60, S60, S80, V40 and V40 cross country, the style quotient has gone several notches higher.
Now there is a new one in its stable: the S60 Cross Country.
Call it a Nordic treat, if you must, but this car is actually meant for a country like India where the roads are generally pockmarked with pot holes of all sizes.
The cross country tag means that this car is no ordinary four-wheeler. It is a luxury sedan with some sporty features.
No, it’s not a hardcore off-roader, but it is definitely a soft-roader that takes on the bumpy terrains with great ease.
The car is powered by a 2,400 cc D4 diesel engine with an all-wheel drive transmission.
The engine produces 190bhp and a maximum torque of 420Nm. The S60, its city cousin, has a ground clearance of only 136 mm.
Let’s compare this S60 Cross Country with some of the existing SUVs and sedans in the country.
The BMW X1 has a ground clearance of 193 mm, the Audi Q3 has 170 mm and the GLA from Mercedes has 183 mm.
Coming to sedans, the BMW 3 series has a ground clearance of 157 mm, the Audi A4 128 mm and the Mercedes C class 157 mm.
In short, the S 60 Cross country is an all-weather, all-terrain vehicle.
The high ground clearance also means the car has a relatively high seating position.
On the road, the S60 Cross Country has an imposing and muscular presence.
This sporty sedan has a crossover design and it stands tall with its high profile tyres (Michelin 235/50 R18).
The car has black fender extensions, scuff plates, coated skid plates and integrated dual exhaust tailpipes.
Driving the Volvo S60 Cross Country is akin to painting a landscape with Picasso holding your hands.
This is due to the large quantity of electronics installed in the car that assist one to drive on any type of terrain.
Be it straight or twisty roads, the car behaves in a pretty disciplined fashion.
The corner traction control, the hill descent control, the advanced all-wheel drive (AWD) system with instant traction, the dynamic stability and traction control, all come into play whenever the need arises.
For example, the AWD with instant traction has an electronic management system that constantly monitors the speed of the wheels, the throttle, the engine torque, engine speed and the brakes.
As driving conditions change, wheels with the best grip get the most power.
When a tyre loses traction, power is reduced to that wheel and instantly transferred to the one that has a better grip.
One must keep in mind, this traction control feature comes so instantly and so seamlessly that a person driving the vehicle seldom notices it. On Indian roads this feature comes quite handy.
The electronic treat does not end there. The dynamic stability and stability control help in providing steadiness when the roads conditions get slippery.
The corner traction control by torque vectoring balances the torque between the front wheels during acceleration while cornering, thereby reducing understeer.
This feature comes into play when you are cornering the car at high speeds.
The automatic car can also be driven in S mode wherein you can use the paddle shifts to change gears.
In sport mode you can experience better acceleration and can have fun with the car.
The car also comes with a lot of other capable features like cruise control, hill descent control, hill start assist, adjustable steering wheel, rain sensors, tyre pressure monitoring system, anti-lock braking system and active high beam headlights.
Once you are inside the car, the sculpted sports seats keep you firmly ensconced.
The front seat positions can be adjusted electronically, besides there is also an option for three memory settings.
The leather seats, with a combination of offblack and beechwood brown colours, give a chic feel to the interiors.
Volvo’s Sensu Connect offers full connectivity with entertainment and navigation apps.
The moment you are in the driver’s seat you realises that the cockpit has been literally designed around you.
The dashboard gently angles towards you, making it easier to see as well as reach out for the buttons on the dash. The three-spoke steering wheel feels solid when you grip it.
With loads of electronics and the host of safety features installed in the car, the S60 Cross Country is a premium car built with a purpose.
And that is: fun driving without compromising on safety.
P Tharyan is editor Motown India.
VOLVO S60 CROSS COUNTRY
- Engine: 2,400 cc D4 diesel engine
- Transmission: Automatic 6-speed all wheel drive
- Power: 190 hp
- Torque: 420 Nm
- Top speed: 210 kmph
- Price: Rs 38.9 lakh
- (Ex-showroom Delhi, inscription model)