The 2023 Volvo V60 Cross Country is a triumph of car-genre crossing. It's got the space of an SUV with the behavior of a nice car. It's elegant without seeming delicate. It's not a particularly engaging car for a driver, but it's an exceptional choice for hauling precious cargo in comfort.
I love 4x4s, but every time I get into a station wagon I realize that this configuration really is objectively superior to the toy trucks so many of us are toting our families around in. Get on the wagon wagon, already. Or as our dogs (would have) called it—the waggin' wagon.
We tested 12 cars—one each month—for dog-worthiness this year in our new-for-2023 series Will It Dog? hosted by myself, my dog Bramble, and the pack of other canines in our immediate family.
The object wasn't to dictate "You must buy Car X if you have dogs." Will It Dog? reviews are more about understanding what it's like to deal with a dog in a certain car rather than pointing to a be-all end-all. If you're simply asking "What's the ultimate dog taxi?" the conversation begins and ends here:
Naturally, larger vehicles are compatible with a bigger range of dog breeds, but there were some surprises in our first year of dog testing. The Toyota GR86, for example, did a great job carrying my 45-pound pooch around (we finally found a great use for those rear seats). The Chevy Trax also proved to be an exceptional animal carrier, swallowing a large kennel in its relatively small cargo area.
But the Volvo V60 CC stood out as my favorite for a handful of reasons:
- Excellent dog containment. The V60 CC's rear seats are bucketed just deep enough to keep a curled dog in place through turns. The center console is also far enough from the back seat to minimize animal temptation to climb into the cockpit.
- Ease of entry and exit. Even though this vehicle sits a little taller than some wagons, it's far closer to the ground than many SUVs. Dogs can easily hop into the back, and even the rear tailgate is at an easy height for many breeds.
- Robust luxury interior. Volvo does a great job making cabins that feel simultaneously cushy and durable. This is huge when you've got paws and claws going in and out all the time.
- Great cabin versatility. Being able to fold seats, or not, lets you mix up the human/animal passenger configuration as you see fit. Furthermore, the relatively low height of the rear bench made it easy to keep an eye on an animal in the way-back—with many other vehicles, a dog can tend to disappear if you put them behind the second row of seats.
- Exceptional animal comfort. A heavily insulated interior and decidedly comfort-bias suspension setup is not the most thrilling to experience as a driving enthusiast, but it's perfect for animals. It also encourages you to drive gently, which dogs tend to appreciate even more.
I'm hoping to continue, maybe even expand, our dog content in 2024. So if we didn't get to your favorite car this year, we will be barking up some new trees soon!