Volvo S60 Cross Country Not the First Off-Roading Sedan

Cars wearing a go-anywhere attitude seems to be the most appealing to clients nowadays. Look at compact and subcompact crossovers selling like hot cakes, or even some C-segment hatches with a raised suspension and plastic moldings around the edges.
Volvo S60 Cross vs GAZ-25-95 1 photo
Photo: edited by autoevolution
Volvo even had a cool new idea for this growing niche segment. Why not take an entry level luxury sedan, put it on stilts, add a bit of plastic clad, an optional four-wheel drive suspension and call it the first off-roading sedan?

That’s how the Volvo S60 Cross Country ended up to become a real thing. Everyone seems very puzzled now by its existence. How could an automaker like Volvo came up with such a bizarre idea? Just look at how strange the high S60 looks now...

The Russians had one first

Truth is, Volvo isn’t the first automaker to try out this whole off-road sedan recipe. Russian automaker GAZ already had one about 40 years ago but turned out to be a stupid idea and it never went into production.

Yep, in the winter of 1973-1974, the Russians built five all-wheel drive sedan prototypes called GAZ-25-95. They simply took the standard sedan, fitted it a reverse Volga rear axle to the front, attached UAZ joints for the steering, lifted the suspension, added heavy-duty wheels and also modified the oil pan to accommodate the new construction underneath it.

All the mods are said to have added an extra 200 lb (90 kg) to the car while other disadvantages started to show up later due to the fact it wasn’t designed to be an off-roader.

Only two of them managed to survive the tests. One can now be seen at the GAZ plant museum while the other is believed to be part of a private collection located in Nizhny Novgorod.

You can see more pictures with the GAZ-25-95 in the compilation bellow.

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