There's no doubting the growing demand for crossovers -- vehicles that blend the best elements of an SUV with those of a standard family car -- and in the S60 Cross Country, Volvo may have built one of the most elegant takes on the trend yet.
Based on its mid-sized premium sedan, the Cross Country's ride height has been increased by 65mm to allow for extra ground clearance and an elevated driving position, and while it will be offered with permanent four-wheel drive, Volvo will also be offering a front-wheel-drive variant when the car goes on sale later this year.
Although Volvo claims the car will come complete with the all-wheel-drive underpinnings needed to perform when the going gets a bit sticky and when grip is at a premium, what really makes the car stand out is the fact that the company has been very restrained in terms of applying rugged external design features. This is a car that looks capable without being aggressive and is the first non-station wagon Volvo to be given the Cross Country treatment.
"We have identified a clear niche in the market for a more capable saloon with rugged styling cues and a higher stance. The S60 Cross Country will appeal to people that are searching for an exciting and capable saloon, whilst enjoying the clear benefits that a crossover offers," says Alain Visser, Senior Vice President Sales, Marketing and Customer Service.
Of course, the S60 is by no means the only premium European sedan or fastback on the market that offers all-wheel drive. Mercedes, BMW and Audi all have models with the power going to all four wheels, too. However, the S60 is, for the moment at least, the only one that combines all-wheel-drive with an elevated ride height.
The Volvo S60 Cross Country will make its official debut at the Detroit auto show on January 13.