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It’s a cloudy September morning as we board the BC Ferries Queen of Cowichan from Horseshoe Bay to Departure Bay. We’re taking the opportunity to explore Northern Vancouver Island, a place we’ve talked about visiting but never got around to — until now.

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The COVID-19 pandemic has made local travel highly desirable, and if you’re going to head out on a long, winding road up-island, why not do it in style and comfort? The V60 T5 Cross Country is Volvo’s 5-door, 5-seat mid-size all-road estate, and it’s a beaut.

Volvo V60 T5 Cross Country

Since the launch of the first Cross Country over two decades ago, Volvo has become synonymous with rugged, all-road, all-weather vehicles. The V60 Cross Country delivers safety, practicality, comfort and performance, all perfectly suited for our week-long island adventures — and for local rides as well.

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From the moment we pick up the V60 T5, we notice all the details that go into a quality car of this caliber. Key design features include the iconic “Thor’s Hammer” LED headlight design, a new grille and Volvo Iron Mark, the Volvo word mark on the rear, and even a tiny Swedish flag stitched into the passenger seat!

Inside, the V60 T5 has a clean, Scandinavian design (first introduced in the 90 Series) and uses natural materials on both dashboard and instrument panel.

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Connectivity and Infotainment

The large portrait-oriented screen plays a key role in the V60 T5’s settings, infotainment, safety features, maps, drive performance and sound experience as well as Apple CarPlay and Android Auto integration.

Once my iPhone is Bluetooth-paired, we’re able to access all the Spotify playlists we desire as we make our way from Nanaimo to Campbell River, then onward to Port Hardy, a rainy yet stunning tree-lined drive along a lonely two-lane highway.

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The touch screen swipes much like a digital tablet, and is intuitive to operate. We love the onboard owner’s manual, which can be accessed when the car’s not in motion. It’s easy enough to search for any features or answers to questions we have on the go.

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We’ve been loaned the Premier Plus package with Harman/Kardon all-around stereo sound. Let’s talk about sound quality for a moment here. Volvo’s got a great set-up to optimize sound for driver, rear passengers, or all seats.

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You can set the surround sound level on or off, with a slider allowing you to select just how much surround you’d like. The stereo’s treble, bass and subwoofer settings can be found here as well, plus four equalizer settings: Neutral, Clear, Warm and Custom (we found the Warm setting to our liking).

Powertrain Technology

The V60 Cross Country is powered by Volvo’s Drive-E petrol and diesel powertrains, mated to an 8-speed automatic or a 6-speed manual transmission. It is also available with a range of 48-volt mild hybrid variants (power output varies from 150 to 250 hp). All-wheel drive is standard on all Cross Country models.

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Safety and Driver Assistance

Volvo has built-in safety tech galore, standard on all models, combining auto braking functionality and collision avoidance systems to keep us safe on the road. Their proprietary City Safety technology can detect pedestrians, cyclists and large animals (yes, we noticed several elk and deer crossing signs along Highway 19 North).

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In addition, the Pilot Assist driver assistance system, optional on the V60 T5 Cross Country, works up to 130 km/h on clearly marked roads.

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We took it for a 134-km round-trip in off-road mode along desolate, gravel-filled, bumpy Holberg Road (an old logging road) all the way out to Cape Scott Provincial Park. The V60 handled like a dream with excellent suspension and fast, easy steering in order to avoid both potholes and large stones along the journey.

San Josef Bay
[Sea stacks at low tide; walking the ocean floor at San Josef Bay, Cape Scott]

As well, the interior stayed quiet without rattling as we cruised towards the end of the world, capping our trip at San Josef Bay, marvelling at the gorgeous ocean sea stacks at low tide.

Sustainability

In the fall of 2019, Volvo launched one of the most ambitious climate plans in the auto industry: reduce its lifecycle carbon footprint per car by 40% between 2018 and 2025, a first step towards becoming a climate-neutral company by 2040. These ambitions go beyond addressing tailpipe emissions through all-out electrification.

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Key Specs

– 2.0L, direct-injected turbocharged engine
– 250 hp at 5500 rpm
– 8-speed Geartronic Automatic Transmission
– Fuel Efficiency: 10.8 City / 7.7 Highway / 9.4 Combined

MSRP: $48,900.00

Premier Package ($2,600)
– 4-Zone Electronic Climate Control
– 12.3” Driver Display (Digital Instrument Cluster)
– Heated Wiper Blades
– Retractable Rear-view Mirrors
– Automatically Dimmed Inner & Exterior Mirrors
– Navigation with Road Sign Information
– Blind Spot Information System & Cross Traffic Alert
– Heated Rear Seat
– Heated Steering Wheel
– Keyless Entry

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Premier Plus Package ($2,550)
– Front Fog Lights
– Headlight Cleaning
– Pilot Assist – Semi Autonomous Drive System w/ Adaptive Cruise Control
– 360° Surround View Camera
– HomeLinkTM Integrated Garage Door Opener
– Compass (Interior Rear-view Mirror)
– Drive Mode Settings
– LED Headlights bending
– Park Assist Pilot w/ Park Assist Front & Rear
– Interior Illumination High Level

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Our Volvo V60 T5 Cross Country was generously provided by Volvo Canada for the week to check out the V60 T5’s main features during our Vancouver Island adventures.

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