What is it?
This is a Volvo V60 Cross Country - a car we’ve had a fair amount of experience in now, and have actually come to like quite a lot for its laid-back demeanour and soft-edged, staunchly comfort-oriented on-road dynamics.
While we’ve driven the D4 diesel model on UK roads before, this is the first time we’ve had a go in its gasoline-burning sibling, the T5, on home soil. Being a Volvo, the technical specification of this powertrain makes for familiar reading: it’s got an engine with four cylinders that displace some 2.0 litres, there’s a turbocharger in the mix, and an eight-speed Aisin automatic transmission is used to direct its 247bhp and 258lb ft drive to all four wheels.
This is all housed within the confines of Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture platform. Like the regular V60, suspension is by way of double wishbones and coil springs up front, with a multi-link arrangement and transverse leaf springs employed at the rear. Unlike the regular V60, its ride height has been lifted by 60mm, and a more sympathetic, soft-edged suspension geometry has been engineered in.
What's it like?
In much the same way as the oil-burning D4 version we drove earlier this year, the newly introduced T5 is very much a car for wafting about in. The supple tune of its suspension lends it impressive pliancy on rolling British Tarmac, though it’s not so soft that its vertical movements feel unduly wayward or uncontrolled. In terms of its primary ride, the balance its suspension tune strikes between assertion and comfort is very commendable.
That’s not to say it’s perfect, mind. Over expansion joints, ruts and other scarred or broken sections of roadway, the V60 Cross Country did express a minor yet noticeable tendency to become slightly more agitated than you’d like. Well, perhaps agitated is the wrong word, but these sorts of surfaces were successful in making themselves felt - even if the manner in which they broke their way into the cabin was for the most part soft-edged and blunted. We’ve said before that this could well be a product of having 19in alloys fitted to our test car as opposed to the standard 18s, but without trying the smaller wheel it’s tricky to say for sure.
As for the engine, it’s a particularly demure, understated thing provided you use it in a demure, understated fashion. On part throttle, it’s hushed and responsive enough, while the manner in which the transmission hooks up from a standstill is smooth and largely seamless.