It’s cheaper, better equipped, and arguably better looking than a European SUV. What’s the small print?





What we love
  • Wonderfully comfortable and spacious
  • Value for money
  • Optional Bowers & Wilkins stereo is that good

What we don’t
  • Driveline has a few warts
  • Touchscreen climate-control system has its flaws
  • Doesn’t look or drive like a German SUV and that will bother some

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Introduction

At $64,990 plus on-road costs, the 2022 Volvo V60 B5 Cross Country caught me off-guard.

Here we have a large European luxury wagon with some ground clearance – comparable in space and height to any SUV – priced within the realms of reality.

And in a day and age where you can spend anywhere from $60,000 to $75,000 on a high-end mainstream medium to large SUV without the premium branding, you see why it piqued my interest.



Volvo has kept its soft-roading wagon range simple by offering one version in Australia: the 2022 Volvo V60 B5 Cross Country wagon. It’s powered by a 183kW/350Nm turbocharged 2.0-litre four-cylinder complete with 48-volt mild-hybrid system.

It uses a small 10kW e-motor in lieu of a standard starter motor and a small battery that stores recuperated energy.

Aside from the usual host of fancy options costing thousands of dollars, the standard car you get for $64,990 is still well-equipped. Unusual for a European brand is the ability to pick between one of 10 metallic paints for free, and Mortiz leather comfort seats come as standard too, though these can be upgraded to nappa leather, as on our test car.



So, if you’re shopping for a new family SUV, please read on as there’s something else you should be considering.

Key details 2022 Volvo V60 B5 Cross Country
Price (MSRP) $64,990 plus on-road costs
Colour of test car Bright Silver
Options Lifestyle Pack with Bowers & Wilkins stereo – $5700
– Premium sound system
– Privacy tint
– Panoramic sunroof
Perforated nappa leather interior – $3000
Advanced cabin air cleaner – $500
Price as tested $74,190 plus on-road costs
Rivals Audi A4 Allroad | BMW 3 Series wagon | Volkswagen Passat Alltrack

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If the exterior styling didn’t entice, the interior will probably grab you. If it doesn’t, the comfort definitely will. First impressions always come where you put your bum, and the seats in this car are top-shelf.

On top of being curved in line with the natural shape of your spine, both driver and passenger seats have adjustable lumbar support, with the driver’s featuring an extendable seat base and adjustable bolsters too.



They’re supremely comfortable on long road trips with their design helping to fight fatigue, and can be adjusted high enough for shorter-than-average drivers to see over the wheel.

The wider cabin is classic Volvo, which is codeword for elegant and simple. Our test car’s lower centre console is clad in timber, and has a clever pair of sliding lids that reveal a huge pair of cupholders, wireless charging pad, and small storage area.

Those compartment covers are modular, too. You’re able to close them halfway and chock your phone in a wireless charging pad located in the same area – how clever.

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The same timber material is used on the dashboard, too, which further helps lift the cabin’s perceived quality. Over in the second row, space is fantastic for the size of the vehicle.

Those epic front seats overdeliver once again; this time not for their comfort, but rather their design. Their slim and curved nature helps unlock extra knee room in the second row, which saw a 183cm tall occupant sitting comfortably behind another same-sized driver.

Three adults in the back may be pushing the friendship, but three of your younger offspring or two fully grown ones will be in paradise. General visibility outside is great thanks to the boxy-yet-safe tall glasshouse, and accessing the cargo area – potentially to keep an eye on Fido – is easy given the wagon body type.

Amenities in the second row include four air vents (two in the back, two in the B-pillar), dedicated climate control and fan speed controls, two USB-C ports, and a fold-down armrest with extra storage.

Boot space is officially 529L, but its dimensions are what make it really usable. The large hatch tailgate opens to reveal a wide and tall space suitable for kids’ bikes or scooters, groceries, and your bags too.

With the second row folded, you’ll easily fit in your Bianchi or Trek road bike with the associated gear needed for a weekend away with your riding pals.



2022 Volvo V60 B5 Cross Country
Seats Five
Boot volume 529L seats up / 1441L seats folded
Length 4761mm
Width 1850mm
Height 1432mm
Wheelbase 2872mm

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Infotainment and Connectivity

Like every other Volvo in the range, the V60 uses the brand’s 9.0-inch portrait infotainment system with Apple CarPlay, Android Auto and digital radio. Unlike newer models with, an Android Automotive interface, the V60 sticks with Volvo’s own Sensus infotainment platform.

Although it looks wonderfully elegant and minimal, it has some annoying quirks. The vehicle’s climate-control system has no tactile buttons and is wholly controlled via taps on a screen, which can make it distracting to use when driving.

The software can be slightly overwhelming to begin with, but once you learn a few shortcut gestures you’ll be right. Something I personally like is the ability to access the same function in multiple ways – like tuning the wonderful sound system.

Our test car was fitted with the more expensive of two optional sound systems, a 15-speaker Bowers & Wilkins jobby. In reality, it would be too hard for me to resist.

As a lover of music, it’s an absolute must. The huge wailing guitar licks from Prince’s Bambi cut through the mix like they were being shredded on a guitar in the car itself, and Iggy Pop’s I’m Bored jumped off speakers and felt more colourful and broad than it ever does.

Its processing power and amplifier quality are both top-shelf, too, with both a reference (stereo) soundstage and one modelled off an epic Scandinavian concert hall located in Gothenburg.



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Safety and Technology

The 2022 Volvo V60 B5 Cross Country has not been officially scored by ANCAP, but the awfully similar 2022 Volvo V60 T5 has, which earned a five-star result after being tested in 2018.

In terms of standard-fit safety systems, the Cross Country model is also well-equipped like its regular V60 sibling. It comes with blind-spot monitoring with cross-traffic alert, adaptive cruise control, autonomous emergency braking with pedestrian detection, lane-keeping assist, and a 360-degree parking camera.

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Value for Money

Ironically, the competition is stiff even at this unusual European off-road wagon end of the market. As a recap, the 2022 Volvo V6 Cross Country is priced from $64,990 before on-roads.

The 2022 Audi A4 Allroad is the likely next best, and is priced from $75,200 before on-road costs. Another – if you’re not concerned about ground clearance – is the 2022 BMW 330i M Sport starting from $83,900 before on-roads.

At a glance 2022 Volvo V60 B5 Cross Country
Warranty Five years / unlimited km
Service intervals 12 months or 15,000km
Servicing costs $1750 (3 years), $3000 (5 years)

The Volvo is the cheapest by a long margin in terms of outright purchase price. Servicing one costs $1750 for three years/45,000km and $3000 for five years/75,000km.

Fuel efficiency came in at 7.5L/100km, or just 0.1L over the official combined claim of 7.4L/100km. A fantastic result.



Fuel Usage Fuel Stats
Fuel cons. (claimed) 7.4L/100km
Fuel cons. (on test) 7.5L/100km
Fuel type 95-octane premium unleaded
Fuel tank size 60L

Boxy and safe is the age-old Volvo adage, and it doesn’t ring as hard for any of its other products.

It means its driving characteristics are also aligned to the way it looks. Unlike other European brands genuinely on a character-building offensive with gnarly 20-inch wheels and sports-tuned suspension – even on the regular models – the 2022 Volvo V60 shuns such fads.

Instead it’s smooth, soft, quiet, and maybe too relaxed against its competitor set for some. By relaxed I mean its steering is slower than usual and it’ll roll about when pushed, but it never gestures toward dynamic driving anyway.

At least the steering is accurate enough to help you place the car. The net upsides are worth any dynamic tradeoffs, as you’ll find yourself enjoying the serenity 95 per cent of the time.

Around town it’ll iron out poorly repaired sections by your favourite council, and on rural coarse-chip freeways it’ll fight off road noise and feel confident to flow through a string of bends. It feels luxurious and premium, which is important.

Given the Cross Country vibe, I also tried it on some unsealed roads throughout the Southern Highlands district of NSW. The conditions were dry and dusty, and the road quite rocky, but if you frequent a country property and haven’t paved the path in, it’ll work just fine.



Performance from the 2.0-litre four-cylinder exceeded expectations; however, it is augmented by a 10kW electric motor hanging off the engine. What it does is provide short bursts of effort to the driveline, helping it to feel bigger than the numbers.

It had no dramas overtaking Captain Slow Down in a 110km/h zone with two adults, one child, one canine, and enough luggage for a weekend away – meaning it passed the ultimate test.

The eight-speed torque converter auto attached to the motor is good, but not great like it ought to be. Sometimes it held a gear longer than usual, and on the odd occasion felt a little confused when picking the right gear.

The shifter itself also needs a tweak, as it requires you to jam the brake (and come to a stop) to flick between gears – once from reverse to neutral, then again from neutral to drive – unlike anything else on the market currently. It can be frustrating when trying to nab a parallel park in the heat of the moment, as the car is unnecessarily overprotective of what its transmission is doing.

However, maybe it’s the car’s way of telling you to calm down, like its overall suspension and cabin ambiance seem to promote.

Key details 2022 Volvo V60 B5 Cross Country
Engine 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbo petrol, 48-volt mild hybrid system
Power 183kW @ 5700rpm
Torque 350Nm @ 1800–4800rpm
Drive type All-wheel drive
Transmission Eight-speed torque convertor automatic
Power to weight ratio 101.2kW/t
Weight (tare) 1808kg
Tow rating 1800kg braked, 750kg unbraked
Turning circle 11.0m

Conclusion

The 2022 Volvo V60 Cross Country delighted – especially when considering the price.



The driveline has a couple of small marks and the drive isn’t typically ‘European’, but neither shortfall is a deal-breaker.

The net benefit for picking one is a classy-looking, spacious, luxurious and high-end car that can also traverse some bumpy roads out of the big smoke during school holidays.

If you asked me to name a better, more frugal executive express, I’d struggle to find better value than this. Plus, I think Volvo wagons have their own sort of vernacular – one that’s respected and also coming full circle.

Tell your better half that wagons are now cool, and see if they bite. I reckon it’s worth saving.

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Ratings Breakdown

2022 Volvo V60 Cross Country B5 Wagon

8.5/ 10

Performance

Handling & Dynamics

Driver Technology

Interior Comfort & Packaging

Infotainment & Connectivity

Fuel Efficiency

Value for Money

Fit for Purpose

After more than a decade working in the product planning and marketing departments of brands like Kia, Subaru and Peugeot, Justin Narayan returned to being a motoring writer – the very first job he held in the industry.

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