Even after you determine that a car's engine is equipped to conquer the faintest lines on the map, you're still left with the question, "Yes, but will it entertain me in the backseat?" We went out to Volvo's North American HQ -- along the Palisades Parkway, one of the more legitimately lovely stretches of New Jersey -- to spend some quality time with the new V60 Cross Country. Not to get a handle on its handling, but to check out all the sweet extras that can elevate a driving experience way beyond the thrill of the road.
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Pedestrian and cyclist detection
With the explosion of cyclists on the road, it's more important than ever to have built-in precautions that'll help you steer clear of said cyclists. This system features a grille-mounted radar working in tandem with a high-def camera to detect riders (and walkers). When a bike going the same direction swerves in front of the car, the Volvo brakes automatically -- an extra measure of protection for even the most attentive driver, much less for the Mr. Magoos of this world.
A requirement of any decently long trip: a good co-pilot. From sharing your location with friends and family via SMS to locating restaurants and nailing down a parking spot -- and even paying for it remotely -- the V60 Cross Country's Sensus Connect locks down the job better than anybody you know. Seriously, it's like 1000% better than your cousin.
Rear seat entertainment
While backseat passengers can't share the joy of helming the wheel, two twin 8”-wide touch-screen monitors playing media from two integrated DVD players or AUX, USB, SD card, or Apple device inputs should keep them plenty occupied.
No matter where you're going, you want to feel like you're heading somewhere important. These wood inlays do the job far more stylishly than a wood briefcase.
Harman Kardon stereo
Stuck in traffic? Hitting an Arizona straightaway for the next billion hours? Either way, ample tunes are a must. The V60 Cross Country’s cloth-dome tweeters, mid-range speakers, and long-throw woofers work together to create a soundstage that’s responsive and booming, whether you’re listening to one of the A$APs, the New York Philharmonic, or the Ghostbusters 2 audio book. Spoiler Alert: you see some things in the movie that you can't see on the audio book.
You don't cop a car like this to shackle it to city streets. Choose your adventure, and V60 Cross Country's available accessories can do the heavy lifting -- from a kayak cradle to mountain and road bike carriers to ski and snowboard haulers to a roof box for any kind of gear we haven't mentioned (probably not a pizza oven).
Seeing the car leaves the first impression. A door handle with tech leaves the second. You can have this driver's side button unlock all the doors, only one or two of the doors, or you can have it automatically fold the side mirrors in. Thankfully, it only works if you have the keys, so no worries about nefarious youths trolling your carefully aligned mirrors.
Volvo On Call
A scenic drive can only free you of so many distractions. After all, you still have to worry about, you know, car stuff. Luckily this smartphone app can lift some of that burden, allowing you to locate your car, lock or unlock it, check fuel levels and consumption, and start it up, or ask for roadside assistance. Remember the Sensus Connect? This app can even shoot over a destination to that system ahead of time, meaning your mapped and ready to go the moment you start 'er up.
Looking for more signs that the future is now? The Apple Watch just got a little more baller: it's fully compatible with the Volvo On Call app, meaning you can straight up start your car from your wrist.
Front Blind Camera
The risk of accident or collision can definitely hamper fun. Hidden in the grille, this cam peeps a 180-degree view, allowing you to see around corners. It's ideal when you’re heading out of a tight spot and definitely would rather not hit that guy who thinks stop signs are friendly suggestions.