Ian Lamming sees through the latest Volvo V60 Cross Country.
ALL that money America spent on developing stealth technology, giving B2 bombers and F-35 fighters the ability to duck and swerve radar, and all it had to do was talk to Volvo.
You see, in the latest V60, Volvo has furthered the cause of invisibility far beyond Lockheed; this thing is cloaked, shrouded Harry Potter-style in an ethereal gossamer which prevents anyone seeing the medium sized estate car.
The first hint of its cellophane nature was en route to the railway station to drop off the delivery driver. A young man, takeaway coffee cup in hand, looked at, then through the V60, then stepped off the pavement into its path.
Luckily for him it was a Volvo, one of the safest cars on the road, following generations of development and an obsessive will to save lives. Its forward safety system picked up the heat signature, alerted the driver – not that I had failed to notice the errant pedestrian – and used cat-like reflexes to steer around the man with the mocha. Swiftly and nicely done Volvo.
No more than a few minutes later and it was the turn of a car this time, emerging from a side road into its path. Alert, brake, steer, avoid, deftly done but my human radar, developed over decades of riding motor bikes and avoiding Volvos, started to send messages that a veritable rabbit might be off.
It could have been the colour I suppose; silver does blend in with the sky and road and reflect the light like a stealth bomber bats away radar waves.
The running lights should have helped and the bold-enough aesthetics, yet during the week more incidents occurred of pedestrians and drivers apparently failing to see the V60 on the road.
Strangely, this proved not to be a problem as the Volvo is fitted with so many accident prevention devices that the driver remains feeling safe and confident at all times. It is also a salutary reminder to any driver of the need to take care.
This particular V60 is the Cross Country. It takes the estate shell, jacks up the suspension by 60mm, gives it more travel, introduces all-wheel-drive, hill descent and adds protective bodywork, which you might need given people’s propensity to fling themselves in front of it.
Rather than the traditional diesel affair of this particular type of motor, the T5 variant came with a turbo-charged petrol. Ooh goody, cheaper fuel.
It also boasts extra wallop – 250PS of it to be precise; nice! The V60 is a mover and a shaker. It mashes the slow movers on overtakes, it blasts up steep gradients, it cruises with aplomb and monsters long journeys, while easily managing to return miles per gallon figures in the 30s.
It will venture off road too. There’s even an ‘off-road’ setting which works under the speed of 25mph calibrating engine, auto gearbox, accelerator, and AWD system to maximise traction and performance in slippery conditions. Useful for towing the horsebox off wet grass and the trailer or caravan out of the mud.
Inside the quality cabin is recognisably new Volvo with the now familiar large tablet-esque touchy, swipey screen in the centre of the dash with which to operate multiple functions and view the sat/nav.
The excellent sound system and high spec boost cabin ambience even further and, with all the safety gadgets and excellent driving dynamics, this is definitely a car not to be overlooked – even when the rest of the world seems to.
Volvo V60 Cross Country T5
Engine: 2.0 turbo petrol
0-60mph: 6.7 secs
Top speed: 145mph
Combined MPG: 41.5
Transmission: eight-speed automatic
CO2 g/km: 166