LOOKS THAT KILL: Looks tough, but is that enough?

By CHRIS RILEY, Marque Motoring

DESIGNED along the same lines as the Subaru Outback, Passat Alltrack and Audi Allroad, the Volvo XC70 went missing in 2016, a victim of the SUV revolution.

But small practical wagons still enjoy a loyal, if modest, following and the spirit of XC lives on in the V60 and V90 Cross Country.

There is just the one model priced from $64,990.

It’s available in a choice of 10 colours, with Denim blue and Pine grey available at no extra cost.

The Cross Country makeover adds a different radiator grille, grey plastic cladding, aluminium roof rails and a differently designed wheel, along with a wider track and more ground clearance.

It’s powered by a 2.0 Litre mild hybrid four-cylinder turbo-petrol engine, with an eight-speed auto and all-wheel drive.

Our test vehicle was optioned with Lifestyle Pack: Panoramic Sunroof, Tinted Rear Windows, Bowers and Wilkins Premium Sound ($5700), Perforated Nappa Leather Accented Charcoal/Charcoal Interior ($3000); Advanced Air Cleaner ($500) and Metallic Paint (no cost option).

They take the price to $74,190 plus on-road costs.

Standard kit includes 19-inch alloys, four-zone climate air, with humidity sensor and CleanZone air quality system, plus Driftwood decor inlays and leather accent upholstery, heated front seats, power adjust driver and passenger seat with memory, four-way lumbar support and power cushion extension and power foldable rear backrest.

There’s also keyless entry and start, automatic lights, wipers, dimming interior mirror, 360-degree camera, self-parking, head-up display, front and rear park sensors, active bending LED headlights with high pressure cleaning; and hands-free tailgate opening.

Infotainment consists of 10-speaker ‘High Performance’ audio, 9.0-inch vertical touchscreen, Bluetooth (including audio streaming), DAB digital radio, Apple CarPlay and Android Auto Android, wireless device charging and two USB ports.

There’s satellite navigation with road sign recognition.

There is also a large, physical volume control knob but most features are adjusted with a prod or swipe of the screen.

If the V60 has a B5 on the back that means it’s a mild hybrid, a B6 means it’s also a hybrid (but a more powerful one) and Recharge means it’s either fully electric or a plug-in hybrid.

Our Cross Country B5 on review is powered by a 2.0-litre mild hybrid with a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine and a small 10kW electric motor.

The combination kicks out a handy 183kW of power and 350Nm of torque, with power to all-four wheels via an eight-speed automatic.

Safety extends to dual front, side and curtain airbags.

There is Autonomous emergency braking (City, Interurban & Vulnerable Road User) as well as lane keep assist with lane departure warning.

Adaptive cruise control including Pilot Assist, Driver Alert; Lane Keeping Aid; Adjustable Speed Limiter function; Oncoming Lane Mitigation; Blind Spot Information with Cross Traffic Alert Front and Rear Collision Warning with mitigation support; Run-off road Mitigation; Hill start assist; Hill Descent Control.

Pilot Assist system supports the driver with steering, acceleration and braking on well-marked roads up to 130km/h.

Dynamic, Eco, Comfort and Off-Road modes are accessed via the touchscreen.

The dash to 100km/h takes 6.9 seconds and it has a top speed of 180km/h.

Fuel consumption is a claimed 7.4L/100km (we were getting 8.0L/100km after close to 600km).

At 1499mm the wagon sits 67mm higher than a standard V60 and at 197mm has 55mm more clearance between the lowest point and the ground.

It can drive safely through water to a depth of 300mm.

Hill descent control and an ‘off-road’ drive mode have also been added.

In Off Road mode, steering is light and all-wheel drive and hill descent control are activated.

But it can only be activated at low speeds and the speedometer shows the range available. Start-stop is deactivated.

In Off Road mode the driver info display changes to a compass between the speedometer and tachometer.

The styling is attractive and bang on for the times, with an inside that matches, finished in Nappa charcoal leather and shades of grey, with grey coloured wood inlays and some stainless steel trim pieces.

Interestingly, the tailgate does not boast that it’s a hybrid and one gets the feeling the wheel has turned and it is more about performance than economy.

V60 Cross Country goes pretty well too, with punchy acceleration, reassuring braking and the ability to thread corners flat and at a reasonable rate of knots.

There’s no gear change paddles but you can use the shifter to change gears — left to change down, right to change up.

Punt it hard and the engine develops a dry, audible rasp, but not an unwelcome one.

Leave the transmission to its own devices and it has a habit of changing down unexpectedly, on hills particularly.

Ride quality is firm, but not what we would describe as crash bang uncomfortable and it’s nice and quiet inside (music to the ears of this deaf head).

The brakes are excellent too, but have a tendency to pull the car up with a jerk — a lot.

The Eco mode proved impressive.

Although it dulls the throttle, with 90km left to go on the computer we switched to Eco mode and it pushed this figure as high as 180km on the motorway before it finally turned south.

The infotainment system in this model is a step behind the Google transformation that has taken place with the release of XC40 and XC60.

On the plus side however, it sees the return of iPhone support – and speed camera warnings.

The Lifestyle pack is worth considering because it brings a huge sunroof and the fantastic Bowers and Wilkins audio system.

Most people spend most of their listening time in the car, so it’s worth the investment.

With 15 speakers and 1100 watts of power it includes metal speaker grilles as well as a cute dash top tweeter.

Four room modes including ‘Concert hall’ and ‘Jazz club’ allow you to recreate the acoustics of a specific room inside the car.

Servicing is every 15,000km or 12 months and two pre-paid service plans are available: three years/45,000km for $1500 or five years/75,000km for $2500.

It might not meet off-road expectations, but it certainly won’t disappoint the rest of the time.