This is a tricky one.

Thanks in no small part to a multitude of great winter driving characteristics, long-haul comfort, and the sort of understated luxury and performance your writer appreciates the Volvo S60 is a luxury sedan I’d drop my own cash on. One day I will.

There are several kinds of Volvo S60, and the latest generation of the so-called Naughty Volvo and I go way back. For the reasons above, I fell in love with it on its launch, in 2010. Then, I drove numerous variants of the four-door, all-weather, under-the-radar luxury sedan, in numerous situations.

There was the new S60 DriveE, with a turbocharged, supercharged four-cylinder that goes like it’s twice its size. And the S60 R-Design, with ride height down and power up for Swedish driving thrills. And the inaugural, jack-of-all-trades S60, with 3.0L straight-six turbo engine which in my opinion, was the most compelling overall package.

This year, Volvo’s launched a weird new variant of the current-generation S60, called the S60 Cross Country. That’s Cross Country as in, lifted slightly, fitted with fender flares, and done up to be a bit more capable, rugged and outdoorsy than the standard-kit S60. It’s like an off-road sedan. A tougher, backwoodsier luxury cruiser. A sports utility vehicle with the body of a car.

Think Volvo S60 wearing a set of Merell hikers, and you’re in the ballpark. However you define it, the S60 Cross Country is simple: it’s an S60 sedan, with 2.5 inches of suspension lift, some skid plates, and some fender flares tacked on. The end.

Other than that, it’s pure S60.

Same fantastic seats. Same unique and gorgeously-styled cabin that’s getting a bit old in some areas but largely hits the mark as a laid-back, casually luxurious place to relax on the road. Same network of nicely-tuned hazard-detection and safety systems. Same unique waterfall centre console with storage tucked in behind.

Even the handling is largely unchanged. The S60 Cross Country is stiffened and tightened in terms of its springy bits, so drivers get pleasing handling responses and an overall feel that’s athletic more than laid-back, with the extra ride height only coming into play when drivers really push in corners. Cruising well-maintained highways, it’s the same deal: just a bit taller, which the average driver, most of the time, would be hard-pressed to notice.

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