Dec 20, 2019

What we're driving: Volvo V60 T5 AWD Cross Country

Volvo's V60 Cross Country wagon in the wild. Photo: Volvo

This week I'm driving the Volvo V60 T5 AWD Cross Country, which is like an exotic animal.

Why it matters: In a world dominated by SUVs, the V60 station wagon is indeed a rare breed. Sadly, wagons are déclassé among Americans, which is a shame because it's a great alternative to what all your neighbors are driving.

  • The V60 Cross Country sits 3 inches higher and is a tad wider than the traditional V60 wagon, making it more like a Subaru Outback, but in a premium package.
  • Starting at $46,095, my test model priced out at $56,990.
  • That includes a $2,500 "advanced package" that adds Volvo's "Pilot Assist" technology with adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping technology, along with a 360° camera and other goodies.

Under the hood: The T5 comes with a 2.0-liter, turbocharged I4 engine and eight-speed automatic transmission, good for 250 hp and 258 pound-feet of torque.

  • Fuel economy is 22 mpg city, 31 mpg highway.

The bottom line: If you're hunting for something a little different, the V60 Cross Country is a special breed.

Go deeper: See what else Joann has been driving

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Assisted-driving systems can lead to complacency behind the wheel

A man using a phone while driving. Photo: Spencer Platt/Getty Images

The more drivers use assisted-driving systems, the more comfortable they become with the technology — and the more likely they are to misuse it, according to new research from AAA and Virginia Tech.

What they found: After becoming accustomed to driving with advanced driver assistance systems (ADAS), like adaptive cruise control and lane-keeping assist, drivers were nearly twice as likely to engage in distracted driving behavior (texting, adjusting the radio) compared to when they were driving without the systems.

Go deeperArrowDec 20, 2019

Keeping expectations for self-driving cars in check

Argo AI CEO Bryan Salesky. Photo: Courtesy of Argo AI

The rollout of self-driving cars is happening as it should — gradually and safely — Bryan Salesky, CEO of Argo AI, a leading developer of automated driving technology, tells Axios.

The big picture: Self-driving vehicles could help improve safety, reduce traffic congestion and improve access to transportation for many, but those benefits will come slowly and as part of a larger transportation system, Salesky said.

Go deeperArrowDec 20, 2019

The rise of AV testbed cities

Computer image of Woven City. Photo: Courtesy of Toyota

In China and Japan, high-tech cities are being developed as living laboratories to test automated vehicles, robots and artificial intelligence.

Why it matters: The real-world incubators could help accelerate the development of infrastructure and related ecosystems needed to support self-driving cars, at a pace the U.S. potentially can't match.

Go deeperArrowJan 17, 2020