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Sub-zero temperatures, packed snow, and ice-covered lakes are brutal environments for most vehicles.But the 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country treats this frozen tundra like its own personal playground, gliding over ice, climbing steep banks, and kicking up snow in the process. Our proving ground is the brutally cold Swedish city of Luleå (pronounced: Loo-lay-oh), just 80 miles outside of the Arctic Circle.You can forget about the archetypal Volvo wagon being an on-road obstacle too, because the T6 has performance aplenty.It’s easily accessible too with the 2.0-litre turbo belying its small capacity with lots of low-rev pulling power, aided by the extra supercharger bolted onto the inlet, all channeled to the tarmac via an eight-speed auto and all-wheel-drive.The V60 Cross Country’s suspension undulates impressively over ruts, helps it crawl down steep and snowy banks easily, and allows it to get pretty angular on a lateral slope.Even on Volvo's makeshift ice course, and with the “Sport” traction control option engaged, the V60 Cross Country refuses to go totally sideways.Even with its added off-road touches, the svelte design of the standard V60 carries over beautifully.
It also joins the bigger V90 with which it shares Volvo’s SPA (scalable product architecture) platform, meaning the two wagons rely on similar engine, suspension and other components, along with the two larger SUVs.
Beneath the powered tailgate of the more upmarket Inscription version is a long load area capable of swallowing 529 litres.
That’s about 100 litres more than the previous V60 and interestingly, even 25 litres more than the supposedly more usefully packaged XC60.
Volvo also has two plug-in hybrid or Twin Engine (as it calls them) V60 models, in T6 or more powerful T8 guise.
The latter is the performance choice with its petrol engine and electric motor good for a combined 390k W and a 0-100km/h acceleration time of 5.1 seconds.
The steering is especially light and lacking in feedback, there’s a certain nose-heaviness to the handling balance but there’s plenty of grip from the large 19-inch tyres and if you really have to hustle on a twisting road the T6 gets the job done without fuss.