If you’re one of that small group of American buyers that actually daydreams of buying a smart-looking all-wheel-drive luxury wagon instead of a bulkier SUV, the arrival of the 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country is just for you. That is, if you haven’t already invested in a Subaru Outback, the undisputed king of this very small market niche.

No surprise, the V60 Cross Country is based on Volvo’s SPA architecture that debuted with the XC90 for 2016. Its slick and modern mid-size shape checks off all the essentials of being gorgeous, classy, rugged...you name it.

Like other Volvos based on this front-drive architecture, power comes from a 2.0-liter turbo I4. However here you can’t have the supercharged T6 version, or the plug-in T8. It is only available with the base T5 with 250-horsepower. Standard is the same fine 8-speed automatic transmission, and capable all-wheel-drive system as Volvo’s utilities.

There’s an equally gorgeous interior, though the vibe is a little more “family” than the all-out luxury of Volvo crossovers. There is still a lack of basic manual controls, with just about everything going through the large Sensus touch panel. But, improvements have been made in both response time and overall usability. Being a ruggedized version of the standard front-drive V60 wagon, the Cross Country comes very well equipped; with panoramic moonroof, heated leather seating, and 12-inch digital gauge cluster.

There’s good room in all seating positions, similar to whatyou’d find in a midsize SUV, but with a lower step in height. However, the lower stance means luggage capacity is closer to a compact ute at 23.2 cubic-ft. of space. That expands to 50.9 with seatbacks folded. On the positive side, the load floor is long compared to a taller, smaller SUV.

Volvo continues to ratchet up safety systems and active driving aids, and this V60 will pretty much take over driving when it feels an impending incident is unavoidable.

For our complete road test of the 2020 Volvo V60 Cross Country, be sure to catch MotorWeek episode #3916 that begins airing December 20, 2019. For a listing of the public television stations that broadcast MotorWeek, go to motorweek.org and click the “About The Show” tab at the top. MotorWeek is also seen Tuesday evenings and throughout the week on the MotorTrend cable network.

Recently, a few luxury brands such as Buick and Jaguar have attempted to jump back into wagons, offering all-wheel-drive even. But none can hold a candle to this Volvo. Plus, it is a clear step up in comfort and style from the venerable Outback. So, for those more discriminating wagon lovers, the 2020 V60 Cross Country is your daydream come true.