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PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: JOHN M. VINCENT - With a ride height lifted 2.6 inches and scuff-plating added to the lower edge of the front bumper, the 2016 Volvo V60 Cross Country is ready for the forest service roads of the Cascades. 18-inch wheels are standard, with 19s optional.American car buyers don't seem to be huge fans of station wagons, unless you make them look like SUVs. The trend started with the Subaru Legacy Outback many years ago, and it continues today with the debut of the Volvo V60 Cross Country.

When Volvo's first Cross Country (or XC) was introduced 20 years ago, Volvo buyers flocked to it with its enhanced rough road capabilities and more rugged look. Now we have a new Cross Country, based upon the excellent Volvo V60 wagon.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: JOHN M. VINCENT - The interior of the 2016 Volvo V60 Cross Country is a balanced blend of Scandinavian simplicity and high technology. The available beechwood/off-black two-tone leather seats are supportive and comfortable.The XC has been lifted 2.6 inches to provide 7.9 inches of ground clearance – more than enough for those gravel forest roads to a trailhead. Attractive lower fascia skid plating has been added front and rear, while the side profile gains lower scuff plates and black fender extensions.

Exclusive 18-inch Cross Country wheels are standard, with 19-inch wheels optional.

All Cross Country wagons feature a quick-to-respond all-wheel drive system. Power is briskly shifted to wheels with the most grip, giving the XC great agility on dry roads, while maximizing traction under less than ideal road and weather conditions. Included Electronic hill descent control helps drivers maintain control on slippery downgrades by independently braking each wheel to maintain their desired course.

Power comes from Volvo's venerable 2.5-liter turbocharged 5-cylinder engine, producing 250-horsepower and 266 lb.-ft. of torque. Unfortunately, Volvo's much more efficient 2.0-liter Drive-E powerplant is not available with the all-wheel drive drivetrain. A 6-speed automatic with Sport mode is included, with no manual transmission option available.

The Cross Country's interior reflects Volvo's classic Scandinavian aesthetic, merged with a high-tech feel. A round TFT display centers a well-laid out and intuitive instrument panel, and the steering wheel isn't as cluttered with switches as some. The central dash disappoints a bit, with its sea of small, similar buttons that require you to take your eyes off the road to manage. The 7-inch central infotainment display feels a bit tight for this class of vehicle.

PAMPLIN MEDIA GROUP: JOHN M. VINCENT - Satin chrome side sills and a rear skid plate and diffuser give the V60 Cross Country a look thats distinct from standard V60 models. Cargo space is flexible, with a standard 40/20/40-split rear seat.Seat comfort is fantastic, with well-designed, supportive and just plain cool-to-look-at two-tone leather surfaces that gracing the test car. Rear seat room is fine for kids, though a bit tight for adults, but cargo flexibility is excellent with a 40/20/40 split rear seat.

Safety is in Volvo's DNA, and even the base V60 Cross Country come with City Safety, the company's forward collision mitigation system. At speeds up to 31 miles per hour, the system will first warn the driver of impending collision before automatically applying the brakes to prevent or mitigate the damages from an impact.

Add the Technology Package and you get a more advanced system that detects pedestrians and cyclists moving into the vehicles path, applying maximum braking if the driver fails to act. If a cyclist traveling the same direction as the Cross Country suddenly swerves into the path of the car, full braking is applied. The system uses both radar and cameras to sense what is happening around the car.

The V60 Cross Country is available in two trim levels with the top of the line Platinum model earning a $3,650 price premium for its included keyless drive, adaptive cruise control, active high beams and advanced safety electronic systems.

A climate package adds heated front seats, rear seats, windshield, steering wheel and windshield washer nozzles.

2016 Volvo V60 Cross Country T5 AWD

Base price: $41,200

Price as tested: $49,775, including $940 Destination charge

Type: 5-passenger all-wheel drive midsize station wagon

Engine: 2.5-liter turbocharge inline 5-cylinder

Transmission: 6-speed automatic

EPA estimated mileage: 20 city/28 highway/23 combined

Length: 182.6 inches

Curb weight: 3,925 pounds

Final assembly: Gothenburg, Sweden

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