The Cross Country employs all-wheel drive. The system is constant and can not be altered between 2WD and 4WD. The Cross Country differs from a 'traditional' off-road vehicle in that it does not have a heavy transfer case and does not offer low-range drive ratios.

Volvo's simple AWD system adds only 102kg to the kerb mass of the Cross Country compared to the V70 2.4T. The Cross Country weighs 1630kg, far less than its rivals such as BMW's X5, Audi Allroad and traditional 4WDs which weigh two tonnes and more.

The Cross Country all-wheel drive system uses a light, uncomplicated and reliable viscous coupling to bias drive to the rear wheels. When cruising on dry roads, the balance of drive front to rear is 95/5 percent. The viscous coupling - consisting of a silicon grease and slotted discs - can change drive bias to a 50/50 front to rear balance very rapidly should driving conditions demand more drive to the rear wheels.

The AWD system is not designed for pure off-road driving; yet it is remarkably capable.

Compared to the previous Cross Country, the front track has been increased by 90mm and the rear by 57mm. This helps to produce excellent roll stability, especially when cornering on uneven road surfaces.

With a differential and driveshaft at the rear, the AWD Cross Country has an almost perfect weight distribution front and rear which results in balanced handling and neutral steering characteristics on all roads.

The AWD system functions quite simply by simple bevel drive off the front drive shaft. This saves the need for a heavy centre differential.

The viscous coupling is mounted to the nose of the rear differential, as it was in the previous generation Cross Country. However, the current Cross Country does not employ a limited-spin control in the rear differential as did the previous Cross Country.

Spin is controlled at all four wheels by an advanced TRACS system which uses the braking system to halt wheel spin thereby forcing 'drive' to the wheel(s) with traction.

Wheel spin is controlled by a four-wheel TRACS traction control system. A sensor at each wheel registers any difference in wheel speeds and by braking the spinning wheel(s), drive is pushed to the other wheel on the same axle.

This advanced TRACS system works at vehicle speeds up to 80km/h.

In addition the Cross Country is equipped with ABS anti-lock braking and EBD (electronic brake distribution) braking control developed for the V70.