Is there a market for a sport-utility sedan? That appears to be what Volvo is asking with its new, high-riding 2016 S60 Cross Country sedan, which will make its official debut at the 2015 Detroit Auto Show next week.
And considering how the market’s evolved, it’s a good question. As more drivers of compact and mid-size sedans have traded in their sedans over the past decade, and crossover sales have surged, it’s fair to say that not all of them chose a crossover for its hatchback style. For many, the higher ride height, the taller seats that offer easier entry/exit and, perhaps, the better outward visibility have been stronger reasons.
Just as with the V60 Cross Country wagon, the 2016 Volvo S60 Cross Country sedan gets 2.5 inches of additional ride height—translating to more ground clearance that will let owners more easily get through deep snow, or negotiate muddy driveways or two-tracks. Higher-profile tires on 18- or 19-inch wheels offer better wheel protection, reduced road noise, and increased capability over challenging surfaces. Otherwise, details are much like those of the Volvo S60 lineup.
In the U.S., the S60 Cross Country will be powered by the familiar 250-horsepower turbocharged in-line five-cylinder engine, with all-wheel drive, of course; and a feature set that we bet will parallel that of the V60 Cross Country—with skid plates front and rear, additional scuff plates, and protective wheel lip trim, along with premium items like standard navigation, Sensus Connect infotainment, and upgraded seats.
Volvo has sold the Cross Country since 1997—around the same time that Subaru introduced its Outback wagon. Subaru tried offering a vehicle in similar format—a sedan version of its Outback wagon—in the late 1990s. That model, called the Legacy Sport-Utility Sedan (SUS), didn’t sell very well at all, and it was discontinued after only two full model years.
Weekend-warrior types and active families will likely keep going for the Cross Country wagon. Yet does a Cross Country sedan have more appeal in 2015?
We shall soon see. The S60 Cross Country will be available beginning this summer.