News: Volvo steers the saloon off-road with S60 Cross Country

Rugged £30,000 model goes on sale in summer

Volvo S60 Cross Country front view

FEW THINGS in life are more sensible than a Volvo saloon – with the possible exception of a Volvo estate. But now the Swedish car company best known for making safe, sturdy machines that can withstand a run-in with a half-ton elk has jumped onto the bandwagon to create an off-road saloon car.

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Called the S60 Cross Country, it could be just the thing for busy executives who find themselves frustrated by motorway gridlock and – like Michael Douglas’s character in Falling Down – are prepared to find their own diversion.

This is the first Volvo saloon to be given the off-road treatment. It has the same ingredients as its forthcoming V60 Cross Country estate sibling: suspension raised by 2½in helps to tackle terrain that’s tougher than the average speed hump. But there will be a choice of two-wheel drive and four-wheel drive versions, suggesting Volvo knows some drivers are more interested in the form than the function.

Volvo S60 Cross Country rear view

Those who choose the four-wheel-drive will get a 2.5-litre five-cylinder diesel engine; the two-wheel-drive comes with a less powerful four-cylinder diesel .

The S60 Cross Country will go on sale in summer. Prices are expected to start at about £30,000.