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Volvo built its first Cross Country wagon in 1996. It was an all-wheel drive version of the popular V70 wagon. Volvo planned to sell 15,000 examples in the first year; they sold 17,500 in North America alone. The company knew it had hit a nerve.

, 2001 Volvo XC Cross Country Road Test
Source: Kevin Jolley
Category: $35,000 to $40,000 All Wheel Drive Wagon
Who should buy this car: A family who likes the outdoors but doesn’t want to compromise comfort,  safety, and performance for an occasional romp through the woods
Comparable cars in this class: Audi AllRoad Quatro, Subaru Outback

But that vehicle was designed off the V70 platform, sort of as a hybrid. Now Volvo has introduced an all-new Cross Country. This one was designed from the dirt up to be a Cross Country all-wheel-drive vehicle that is capable of doing anything a sport utility can do, but do it with a European premium car drive, with SUV functionality and with inherent “Volvoness.” The result is a vehicle that has reached all the goals Volvo set for it and then some. The new Cross Country is built on the V70 platform, but there are some significant differences. The XC, for example, has an 8.2-inch ground clearance to go over logs and rocks you might encounter in an off-road situation. This is significantly more than the V70 and in the same class (give or take a millimeter) as the Land Rover Discovery, Jeep Grand Cherokee and Audi Allroad.

, 2001 Volvo XC Cross Country Road TestThe wheelbase has been increased 4.0 inches over the previous version, the width increased by 3.9 inches and the height by 2.0 inches. There is a larger load capacity as well. All these are designed to give the XC excellent on-road and off-highway manners.

This package is encased in one of the smoothest bodies Volvo has ever offered. It is more aggressive and rounder than most previous Volvo wagons, with enough cladding to make it look like a cross between an SUV and a Subaru Outback. That cladding is black all the way through, too. If you get a ding on an off-highway excursion, it won’t show up white.

The XC is powered by a 2.4-liter low-pressure turbocharged five-cylinder engine that develops 197 horsepower and 210 lb-ft of torque. This is the one area where the XC is slightly lacking. While the power is enough for most circumstances, if you want to pass, the five-speed automatic transmission doesn’t allow for high enough revs to gain maximum power and torque. It’s better to shift into manual mode, drop down a gear or two, and use the power gained by higher revs to get you past the slowpoke in front of you.

, 2001 Volvo XC Cross Country Road TestSince Volvo is now a part of Ford Motor Company’s Premium Car Group (with Lincoln, Jaguar and Land Rover), you would expect that it would retain its excellent ride qualities. You won’t be disappointed. The Cross Country is a Volvo through and through, whether you’re on an interstate, back country two-lane, or dirt path climbing up a mountain. We had the opportunity to test the Cross Country in a variety of circumstances and it never let us down. “Off highway” is more of the venue you’d expect this vehicle to shine in rather than “off road,” but the Cross Country does as well slogging through the mud and over rocks as any of them. Most of the journalists who drove the vehicle on my wave seemed to want to place the XC in a luxury version of the Subaru Outback’s class.

What may be more important, though is the Cross Country’s road manners. Our introduction test drive had us behind the wheel for six hours. That’s a long time for any car. Yet we felt comfortable with no aches and pains. The leather seating made the ride exemplary. Very few SUVs can make the same claim.

, 2001 Volvo XC Cross Country Road TestVolvo has imbued the new Cross Country with a gaggle of neat features. One is the 40-20-40 split folding rear seat. This allows you to carry objects such as skis inside the car and still have four passengers. An optional mesh or steel gate across the back seat keeps anything you have in that rear compartment back there no matter how severe your stop.

The Cross Country is, first and foremost, a Volvo, so it has all the traditional Volvo safety – dual air bags, side curtains, safety steel construction of the chassis and body, etc. This vehicle is still a Volvo V70 station wagon at heart but it has the advantage of all-wheel drive and higher road clearance to allow you to get to your cabin in the woods (no matter how far back in the woods) in comfort and ease.


Engine Type 2.4-liter inline 5-cylinder
Horsepower 197 @ 6,000 RPM
Torque 210 @ 2000-5000 RPM
Transmission Five Speed Automatic with Manual Mode
Tires 215/65/HR16
Overall Length 186.3″
Wheelbase 108.8
Width 73.2″
Towing Capacity 3,300 lbs.
Curb Weight 3,699 Lbs.
Fuel Tank 18.5 Gals.
Base Sticker Price $34,900

Standard Equipment

  • All Wheel Drive
  • ISO-FIX baby/child seat attachment
  • Dual stage airbags for driver and front seat passenger
  • Side Impact Air Bag for driver and passenger front seats
  • Inflatable Side Curtain (IC)
  • Side Impact Protection System (SIPS)
  • Whiplash Protection System (WHIPS)
  • Seat Belts: five 3-point inertia reel, with automatic pre-tensioners
  • Five padded head restraints (center rear adjustable)
  • Daytime Running Lights
  • Rear fog light
  • Safe Approach and Home Safe Lighting System
  • Immobilizer, encrypted ignition key with rolling code and auto relock
  • Security system with siren
  • Two-step remote entry, central power door locks
  • Rear-door child safety locks
  • Adjustable lumbar support
  • Power driver’s seat with three-position memory
  • Front skid plate
  • Tinted glass
  • Dual zone electronic climate control with Pollen filter
  • Ventilation outlets on B-pillar
  • Power windows with driver and passenger auto-down/up with anti-trap feature
  • Entry/exit lights in outer rearview mirrors
  • Power/heated rearview mirrors
  • Illuminated vanity mirrors
  • Cross Country floor mats — rear mat reversible
  • Tilt/telescopic steering wheel with illuminated cruise and audio controls
  • Roof rails
  • Front and Rear 12-volt power outlets
  • Cup holders
  • Rear console waste bin and bottle holder
  • Full logic AM/FM stereo cassette, six speakers with dual diversity antenna
  • Outside temperature gauge
  • Front fog lights
  • Grab handle for front passenger
  • 40/20/40 split rear folding seat

Major Available Options

Option Packages:

  • Introduction Package: Leather seating surfaces, Leather steering wheel, Leather gear shift knob, Simulated wood trim, Cargo net, Cargo cover, Grocery bag holder (not available with third seat).
  • Cold Weather Package: Heated front seats, Headlamp wiper/washer
  • Sunroof: Power glass sunroof with auto open/close, sun shade, anti-trap feature
  • Touring Package: HU-613 CD Player, Homelink, Passenger power seat, Auto dimming mirror, Trip Computer
  • Versatility Package: Grocery bag holder, Cargo net, Cargo cover, 12-volt outlet (cargo area)
  • Versatility Package, third row seat: Cargo net, Cargo cover, Third row seat, 12-volt outlet (cargo area)
  • Leather Package: Leather seating surfaces, Leather steering wheel, Leather gear shift, Simulated wood trim inlays and gear shift knob
  • Security Package: Movement sensor, Level sensor, Security side glass, Air Quality System (AQS)

Individual Options:

  • HU-803 4 CD in-dash sound system, 200 watt amp, Dolby Pro Logic (requires Touring Package)
  • 12″ Active Sub Woofer w/ 150 watt amp (requires 4 CD system, not available with third seat)
  • Navigational system (Requires Leather Package)

Any information provided on this Website is for informational purposes only and is not intended to replace consultation with a professional mechanic. The accuracy and timeliness of the information may change from the time of publication.

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