I see the dawn of a new beginning
This time, this time we can’t go home
I hear the streets of tomorrow calling
I go, I go where you go
‘Cause we belong to something
We belong to something new
Images : Bobby Roy
These words are the opening lines of Swedish Duo Axwell & Ingrosso’s song “Something New”. We believe these words are quite apt for the Swedish Car we are reviewing here – the S60 Cross Country. You’ll soon know why.
Crossover is a term which has been used generously over the past few years. Every manufacturer worth its salt has launched an ‘SUV Inspired’ version of their hatchbacks and conveniently called it a crossover. And they can’t be blamed, as SUVs (or cars that look like one) are all the rage these days, and comprise one of the hottest selling segment of vehicles. Be it the compact, sub-4 meter pseudo SUV’s or the big, bad luxury ones, the vehicle category commands a huge aspiration value in the Indian market.
In this increasingly cluttered world of hatchbacks disguising themselves as crossovers, a crossover sedan is a rarity. Volvo, however, the lone Swedish guy in a room crowded by Germans, has introduced a Crossover Version of their luxury sedan – the S60. In its crossover guise, the vehicle is called the S60 Cross Country.
It’s quite ballsy for a niche player like Volvo to launch an even more niche car model like this. Now Swedes are not known to do things half-heartedly. Unlike some other crossovers in and around the segment, Volvo has not just given the sedan a few touches of cladding and a raised heel. They have actually re-engineered the car to make it a more capable machine off the road. To start with, what you get is an AWD system and 65mm higher Ground Clearance now 201 mm which is higher than that of the BMW X1 and Audi Q3.
Volvo had entered the Indian market way back in 2007 and has given us some really distinctive looking cars. Of late, we have been in awe of the Volvos not because of their ‘safer than the White House’ image but also because of their increasingly exciting design cues. Here’s how the S60 cross country scores in this department
Hey there, beautiful!
Scandinavian women are known to be tough and beautiful at the same time. The Volvo S60 Crossover reflects the feminine grace and strength of the region it represents. The S60 Cross Country has presence, and an air of exclusivity – if this car passes you, you will notice it.
Volvos have traditionally been known to be understated designs. However, for the past few years they have let go of their plain Jane looks and gone for more aggressive and younger look. The XC60 Cross Country has a sleek and beautiful body – with a coupe-like design at the rear. In the first look, it comes across as a notchback but it isn’t.
While the S60 Cross Country does share the svelte lines of its sedan cousin, the bigger wheels and raised body lend it its distinctive, tougher look. The body panels are same as the S60 Sedan but the raised stance makes it look more like a sedan laced with testosterone – and a good-looking one at that.
With the Cross country, one gets black cladding under the wheel arches and matt silver finished claddings under the door sills. Front and rear bumpers also get the matt silver under-claddings, with the rear bit featuring a faux diffuser. Large 18” twin spoke diamond cut alloys accentuate the side profile. Overall the car managed to add an air of meanness even with its sedan origins. If all the cars in this segment were to get into a fight, they would have to team up against this one.
But isn’t a lady defined by her inner beauty?
Absolutely. Get inside the car and you get a distinctive, very well laid out and luxurious ambience which is properly modern too. It’s like the control panel of Starship Enterprise. No, we are not kidding. We asked Captain Picard and he confirmed that the Starship Enterprise’s control panel was inspired by Volvo S60.
Just the starting sequence of the system had us mesmerised. It kicks to life as soon as you open the keyless entry door and get in – no buttons need to be pressed. The instrument cluster is a neat looking high resolution TFT display. As soon as the car detects the fob in the car, the starting sequence begins with a silhouette of the car appearing in white on the digital instruments panel, which quickly turns into a digital speedo, flanked by a tacho on the right and fuel gauge on the left.
What makes it even more engaging are the three contrast modes so to say – Elegance, Eco and Performance which change the colour scheme based on your mood, speed, and the weight of your right foot.
Switch to Eco Contrast mode and the dials get a light blue colour, for performance mode, they turn burning red. Though a little dated in appearance for few, we love how the Volvo dashboard has been designed. The central console features the familiar Volvo waterfall layout, which is rather distinctive among a sea of increasingly similar looking panels. Dashboard looks smart in its all-black theme, with the driver-oriented, vertically aligned central console being finished in a classic manner with chrome lining, piano black surfacing and well-built buttons, which seem to be made to survive an apocalypse.
The sheer number of buttons does make the panel look rather busy but they’re rather simple to get used to. The controls are well laid out, with navigation, Radio, Media, Telephone and Car settings getting a button each, making it a breeze to switch between various functions.
Steering mounted controls come in handy as well. Climate control is easy to use and intuitive and provides a unique way to channel the air flow. The car is equipped with heated seats but we do not see much use of that feature here in India, except if you wish to take this one up North to Ladakh and test its off-road capabilities to the hilt.
The cabin is roomy with dual color leather making for a premium looking ambience. Slide into the driver’s seat and you could immediately appreciate the soft, yet supportive cushioning along with fantastic side bolstering. Head room isn’t an issue either for both the front and rear passengers. Somehow the sloping coupe style roof does not affect the headroom at the rear like it does in several other applications. Front seats are powered, with ample room for even the bigger guys – all five passengers get individual headrests.
But wouldn’t cars like this be chauffeur driven?
Of course! Though cars in this segment are designed to be self driven in the western markets, Indian scenario is a bit different. Cars costing north of Rs. 10 Lakh more often than not are chauffeur driven. So, if this car would be chauffeur driven, the owners can sit back and relax in the comfy rear seats with ample leg room as long as they aren’t professionals at basketball.
There is, however, one aspect where the car lacks – the boot space. The Cross Country doesn’t match its sedan sibling when it comes to storage volume. The loading bay also appears to be a bit odd with the central area concealing the space wheel being higher than the sides, creates two recess on its flanks, something we wouldn’t see as a very good design.
Gentlemen, start your engines.
Push the start button and the 2.4 litre five-cylinder diesel engine comes to life. Cabin insulation is great which keeps the diesel clatter away from peace. And that engine packs some punch too! The five cylinder 190 hp engine transmits the power to all four wheels while making use of a 6 speed auto gearbox. With 420 Nm of Torque on tap, it carries its weight well and accelerates spiritedly. The linear engine, along with the smooth shifting auto box makes driving a butter smooth affair through the city, especially with part throttle.
All wheel drive is very perceivable in the way this car grips the road. Chuck it hard around bends and it holds its tail brilliantly well, there is no perceivable torque steer either under heavy acceleration from crawling speeds or from a standstill. With 1 extra cylinder, 400cc more displacement and 20 Nm of additional torque over the similarly priced BMW X1, the S60 does feel quick. We enjoyed the sight of the scenery whizzing by as we took it to wide open roads.
Now we come to the question you have been thinking about – “Has the raised suspension setup affected the handling and is there a body roll”. After driving it hard around corners and going around a roundabout several times just to be double sure, we would assert that it’s still a great handler. To compensate for the ride height, the boffins at Volvo have stiffened the suspension a bit and ensured that the dynamic ability of the offshoot car is not compromised. The flat ride is complemented by the vice like grip from the tyres, thanks to that well-sorted AWD. All in all, even with its outdoorsy, off-road appeal and character, the cross country manages to handle surprisingly well.
Will it rattle my bones?
It won’t, but don’t expect it to not spill your coffee either. Sure, it isn’t the best we’ve experienced, but it’s decidedly better than a few of its direct rivals. The nose doesn’t dive What we liked in this car better than SUV’s is that, under hard braking, the front does not dive, a phenomenon common even in luxury SUV’s.
Having tried the car on tarmac, we took it to it some dirt. And boy oh boy, it felt that S60 Cross country was still hungry. It ate the dirt section for breakfast. The Ground Clearance really comes into play here as we surged through the trail full of ruts and stones. With good handling, we were quiet confident about the car staying in control. Our photographer, Bobby was loving the flying dirt and we shot till it went dark. This would be a great cross country touring car. Be it rugged roads of mighty Himalayas or smooth tarmac of Golden Quadrilateral, the Volvo S60 Cross Country would be home in both. Off course the car is not a replacement for hard core, blue blooded SUV’s like the Endeavour or Range Rovers, the Volvo is definitely a far more capable car than many other SUV’s and sedans – be it on the road or off road.
Is it safe?
Is that a question? If it’s a Volvo, and it isn’t safe, it simply won’t sell! To start with, the brakes have a sharp bite and the S60 Cross Country managed to shed speed at a rapid rate. Active safety aids include what Volvo calls a ‘dynamic chassis’, along with traction control, stability control and ABS. Other nice aids include Active High Beam, auto lights and wipers along with cruise control and active park assist.
The car gets a whole array of other safety features such as six airbags, whiplash protection for front seats, pyrotechnic seat belt pre-tensioners, seat belt reminder, and a whole barrage of safety aids.
The car also comes equipped with autonomous braking system for pedestrian safety. The Emergency brake Assist function, as it is called, would apply brakes all by itself if it detects someone or something in front of the car. According to Volvo, up to speeds of 33 kmph, the car would come to a complete halt even if the driver does not intervene or apply brakes in case it detects an object in its way. With speeds higher than that, it would still apply the brakes but the car might not come to a complete halt.
As we drove back home and stopped for a cup of tea, we looked back at the car and smiled. Here was a car which would stand out in a crowd, was luxurious, had all the bells and whistles and can take bad roads with ease. While the S60 Cross Country wouldn’t unfortunately be considered by many for inexplicable reasons, we did come back genuinely impressed by this beauty.
These things from Sweden are built like they were meant to go to war. The S60 Cross Country managed to impress us so much with its abilities that we’d earnestly request everyone buying in this segment to go take a spin. Also, if you don’t wish to consider this only because it’s not ‘mainstream’ enough, we have these two lines to cite-
No one can hold us down
I’m knocking ten feet off the ground.
Price as tested: INR 38.90 Lakh (Ex-Showroom, Delhi)
Engine Name: D5244T21 – Inscription – D4 (190 hp) aut AWD
Engine Type: Five-cylinder turbocharged diesel
Power Train: All-wheel drive
Number of Cylinders: 5
Engine Displacement: 2400 cc
Engine Bore: 81 mm
Engine Stroke: 93.2 mm
Max Engine Power (kW): 140 kW
Horsepower (Hp): 190 hp
Rev at max engine power: 4000 rpm
Torque: 420 Nm
Rev at max engine torque: 1500 – 3000 rpm
Fuel Capacity: 67.5 l
Cargo Capacity: 380 l
Towing Capacity: 1900 kg
Serving Weight: 1776 kg
Six-speed Geartronic automatic transmission: 2230 kg
Roof Max Load: 75 kg
Height: 1539 mm
Length: 4638 mm
Width: 1899 mm
Width inc. Mirrors: 2097 mm
Wheel Base: 2774 mm
Track Front: 1619 mm
Track Rear: 1577 mm
Turning Circle: 11.3m
Interior dimensions (w/o sun roof)
Head Room Front: 999 mm
Head Room Rear: 951 mm
Shoulder Room Front: 1447 mm
Shoulder Room Rear: 1401 mm
Leg Room Front: 1064 mm
Leg Room Rear: 852 mm
Hip Room Front: 1395 mm
Hip Room Rear: 1359 mm
Environmental Classification: Euro 6
A fairly wide Sunroof/Moonroof
Recess for storage behind the centre console panel
‘Cross Country’ badging under the rear bumper
Driver-focused cockpit with vertically aligned central console
Headlamp cluster featuring projector headlights, turn indicators, and DRLs
Drive selector knob
The surface of the boot area has a rather unusual shape
18-inch alloys with 235/50 R18 Michelin Primacy 3 tyres
AC vents for rear passengers
Here are a whole bunch of images of the Volvo S60 Cross Country, have a look!