The Volvo S60 Cross Nation Was a Puzzling SUV-ified Sedan

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Sedan gross sales have been on the decline for years. You understand it and I do know it. Individuals can’t get sufficient crossovers and SUVs. It’s why there’s a dizzying quantity of utility fashions out there from practically each automobile producer. However some manufacturers nonetheless attempt to make sedans work, and typically they attempt to broaden the traditional four-door’s enchantment by making one thing no one requested for. That was the Volvo S60 Cross Nation.

Take a sedan and provides it the trip peak of an SUV. It’s nothing new. AMC did it with its Eagle line within the early Nineteen Eighties. Subaru did it within the late Nineteen Nineties with its Legacy Outback sedan. Toyota is making an attempt it out at the moment with the Crown. It’s one thing totally different and new to some folks. However Volvo doing it within the 2010s was type of unusual, contemplating the state of the corporate and its choices on the time.

For years, Volvo by no means truly bought an SUV or crossover, even after these autos had turn out to be extraordinarily in style within the U.S. The corporate’s first try to please potential 4×4 consumers was the primary Cross Nation mannequin, the V70 XC, launched in 1997. It was primarily a raised-up model of the usual V70 wagon, with unpainted black plastic physique cladding and distinctive exterior trim.

1997 Volvo V70 XC

1997 Volvo V70 XC
Picture: Volvo

And it labored — as a result of it was a wagon. Consumers didn’t simply need the added trip peak and commanding view that SUVs provided, they wished the cargo area, and the V70 Cross Nation had that. The Cross Nation lineup expanded in later years to incorporate V60 and V90 Cross Nation wagons (and the V40 Cross Nation, by no means bought within the U.S.).

However for some motive, for the 2016 mannequin yr, issues modified. Volvo determined to introduce a Cross Nation sedan.

The S60 Cross Nation was based mostly on the second-generation S60 sedan, which nonetheless rode on a Ford-designed platform launched a decade prior. The trip peak was raised; black fender extensions had been added; all-wheel drive, skid plates entrance and rear, and hill first rate management rounded out the Cross Nation makeover. Energy got here from a 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-5 paired with a six-speed computerized. It made 250 horsepower and 266 lb-ft of torque, and was the only engine choice.

Image for article titled The Volvo S60 Cross Country Was a Puzzling Attempt at an SUV-ified Sedan

Picture: Volvo

These adjustments made the S60 Cross Nation distinctive, however in addition they made this sedan right into a automobile of “buts.” The raised trip peak was nice for straightforward entry and exit, plus an SUV-like view of the highway… nevertheless it made dealing with worse. The dated, on-its-way-out inline-5 was later changed by a contemporary 2.0-liter turbo four-cylinder… however solely within the final mannequin yr of S60 Cross Nation manufacturing. The 7.9-inch floor clearance sounded spectacular… however solely within the context of different sedans. As Automobile and Driver identified of their evaluation of the 2016 S60 Cross Nation, the Volvo’s trip peak was nonetheless decrease than true crossovers just like the Subaru Forester and Jeep Renegade.

After which there’s the sensible matter. Consumers may have a look at the S60 Cross Nation and envision adventures within the nice open air… however the sedan’s trunk solely provided 12 cubic ft of area, in comparison with the V60 Cross Nation’s 28 (or 43 with the rear seats folded). The S60 Cross Nation’s existence begged the query of why somebody wouldn’t simply go for the V60 Cross Nation — or Volvo’s precise SUVs, the XC90 that debuted in 2003 or the XC60 that arrived in 2010.

Image for article titled The Volvo S60 Cross Country Was a Puzzling Attempt at an SUV-ified Sedan

Picture: Volvo

Pricing wasn’t any higher. Whereas the S60 Cross Nation was cheaper than the V60 Cross Nation, it wasn’t by a lot. Loaded out, a V60 Cross Nation may ring in at just below $50,000. An S60 Cross Nation got here in at simply over $48,000 loaded — and each value greater than the Volvo XC60.

Volvo appeared to know that the S60 Cross Nation wasn’t going to be a giant vendor. Initially, Volvo solely deliberate to deliver 500 examples to the U.S. for its first mannequin yr in 2016; the corporate ended up promoting 1,887 of them. Gross sales declined yearly via the top of the automobile’s life. In 2017 simply 312 discovered houses; in 2018, Volvo solely bought 203 S60 Cross Nation sedans, together with only one in December of that yr.

Might the S60 Cross Nation be a cautionary story for the Toyota Crown? Possibly. However they’re each examples of automakers making an attempt to make one thing distinctive to enchantment to extra consumers, an effort at mixing the styling of a sedan with the practicality of a crossover. If the destiny of the S60 Cross Nation tells us something, it’s that the world won’t be prepared for such a car.

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