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2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country ideally modernizes station wagons of yesteryear

James Raia

The 2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country modern day station wagon of yesteryear.

Nearly 55 years after the original popularity of station wagons began to wane, modern styles — the 2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country to the new Porsche Taycan — are still respected. They’re automotive sentinels to yesteryear when families traveled in three-row chariots with folding bench seats and visited train stations with packed trundle suitcases

About 10 manufacturers still make wagons (they’re rarely called station wagons), and like Audi and Mercedes-Benz, Volvo believes in the versatility of the segment. But a lot has changed.

The 2023 Volvo V6 Cross Country isn’t a new generation, but it’s been updated. A mild-hybrid is now standard and there’s a new powertrain, the B5. It has 247 horsepower, slightly less than last year’s model. It comes standard with an eight-speed automatic transmission and all-wheel drive. The mild hybrid uses the electrical system to power the auxiliary functions of the car.

2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country
The 2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country modernizes the station wagon of yesteryear.

Technology and convenience features have also been improved. Google stuff — maps, play and voice assistant — are standard and over-the-air updates are now also available.

The exterior also has a more modern front grille and rear bumper. Once a one-trim-only wagon, Volvo now offers the Plus and Ultimate. Superior additions highlight the Ultimate trim including 19-inch wheels and scuff plates.

But it’s the interior that showcases the upscale model at its best. Station wagons in their 25-year reign leading into the early 1970s had comfort, space and large vehicle safety for occupants. All remain with the 2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country, but an interior decorator’s skills are now prominent.

Top-end Volvos include a crystal gear shift knob made by Orrefors, the Swedish glassworks company. The driver’s comfort is enhanced with a seat cushion extender, power side bolsters and improved ventilation. The Nappa leather is complemented a Driftwood-style decor. A traditional modern Swedish dashboard further adds to the luxury feel and look. Its classy, a description rarely applied to GM, Ford, Chevy and Rambler station wagons from the 1960s.

An AM-FM radio was once as good as it got in a station wagon, the Volvo V60 Cross Country in its Ultimate trim is standard with a 14-speaker Harmon Kardon sound system with an air-ventilate subwoofer. It’s not quite symphonic, but it’s a quality road companion.

The 2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country defines the Swedish manufacturer's safety reputation.
The 2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country defines the Swedish manufacturer’s safety reputation.

The test vehicle pleased likely further music enthusiasts. A Bowers and Wilkins sound system was one of two $3,200 extras, with the 20-inch, 7-spoke wheels with all-season tires also the same cost. With a base price of around $54,000, the major options and a handful of other extras pushed the price to $63,000. Gas mileage averages are 22 miles per gallon in city driving, 31 mpg on the highway. Acceleration from 0-to-60 miles per hour takes 6.6 seconds.

Some station wagons once had room for nine occupants, but super-sized vehicles are long gone. The 2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country is touted with seating for five, which may be accurate only if the back-seat occupants are medium-sized at best. Cargo space is plentiful, with 25.5 cubic feet without any seat reconfiguring. Maximum cargo capacity is 60.5 cubic feet.

Volvo’s reputation has vastly improved in recent years. Once boxy and slow, the lineup is modern and stylish with a European persona. Yes, Geely, the Chinese carmaker, bought Volvo in 2010, but Volvo manufacturing is a global enterprise without China. The 2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country is still Swedish in origin, with parts also from Poland and Japan. Its final assembly is in Belgium.

Since its debut in the United States in 1955, the Volvo signature has been safety. It remains the carmaker’s strength. Driver’s lane-keeping assist, lane-departure, automated emergency braking with pedestrian detection and a handful of other additional safety items are standard. Adaptive cruise control with a semi-autonomous driving mode is available.

Considering its origin, Volvo vehicle has long been favored by mountain dwellers and endurance sports athletes who need reliable, secure and spacious vehicles for their equipment and for driving in sometimes quickly changing conditions.

It’s what Volvo does best whether its cars’ passengers are professional athletes or professional families.

Article Last Updated: September 3, 2023.

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