Fear not wagon lovers, everything is right in the world again; the Scandinavian Estate has returned.
|Engine: 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6, 325 hp, 354 lb-ft.
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Fuel economy: 19 MPG city, 28 MPG highway, 22.6 MPG observed.
Price: The V60 begins at $36,225 after destination charges, while a fully loaded, R-Design T6 AWD comes in at $51,775.
After years without a proper non-crossover wagon, Volvo bestows something new to drool over for the American niche of wagon lovers, the 2015 V60.
But this isn’t like Volvo wagons of old. It’s no box on wheels – the new V60 is simply gorgeous. Using a lot of marketing hyperbole, the manufacturer claims the V60 has a coupe-like silhouette, which makes no sense at all for a five-door, two-box design.
Three trim levels of the V60 will be offered initially: the T5 FWD, T5 AWD and R-Design T6 AWD. Each trim comes with a different engine, all boosted in four-, five- or six-cylinder flavors. Our top-of-the-line R-Design T6 AWD comes equipped with the 3.0-liter turbocharged inline six featuring the Polestar tune good for 325 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. All four wheels receive power through Volvo’s older six-speed automatic transmission because the new-for-2015 eight-speed automatic is currently only available in front-wheel drive models housing the new Drive-E engines.
Top-spec models also receive the R-Design treatment inside and out. That includes a matte black grille, LED daytime running lights, rear diffuser and R-Design tailpipes. Optional 19-inch wheels are available, but the standard 18-inch wheels look great and combined with the bright passion red paint, really sets the car off.
The V60 is based on the S60 platform and predictably drives a lot like the sedan. The car has relentless torque at nearly any RPM and is fast in a straight line. Volvo claims it can sprint from 0 to 60 MPH in 5.5 seconds. The six-speed automatic responds well in normal driving, but will hasten its shifts when the car is put into sport mode. Like any boosted 3.0-liter Volvo, stepping off the accelerator produces a nice turbo hiss that can be faintly heard from the engine compartment.
Official fuel economy ratings for the 3,790-lb. wagon are set at 19 MPG in the city and 28 MPG on the highway. During our week with the car, we achieved an observed average of 22.6 MPG. Those numbers aren’t spectacular, but there is the less-powerful, far more efficient T5 FWD version of the V60 that is rated at 25 MPG city and 37 MPG highway.
SEE ALSO: 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Drive-E Review
The R-Design retains a rack and pinion steering system unlike new T5 four cylinder’s electric assist. The amount of steering effort can also be adjusted manually through the vehicle’s settings and unlike Kia and Hyundai’s adjustable steering; this one doesn’t feel artificial.
The R-Design comes standard with the sport chassis that lowers the ride height and stiffens the suspension for better cornering. It gives the V60 reasonably improved handling, but it still isn’t a sport wagon. That title will go to the forthcoming Volvo V60 Polestar version, which is a completely Polestar-developed edition of the V60 not to be confused with the mild Polestar engine tune equipped to our test vehicle.
Since there isn’t much of a performance gain, we’d gladly trade the R-Design’s sport suspension for the touring set-up we sampled on the T5 Drive-E V60 earlier this year. It is still sporty enough, but much more comfortable and doesn’t crash over road imperfections like the sport suspension does. Regardless of which suspension is equipped, the V60 is capable of towing 3,300 lbs. which is something few cars can claim.
Sightlines aren’t great in the V60 as the thick B-pillar blocks rearward three-quarter visibility. Thankfully there is Volvo’s BLIS blind spot monitoring system, which is just part of the full safety treatment Volvos are known for. Other safety technology crammed inside the V60 includes crash detection, City Safe, cross traffic alert and lane departure warning.
The interior is the typical Volvo design, which means high quality materials, but a somewhat tired design. The front seats are very comfortable and look as good as they feel. Of special note are the thick, supportive bolsters.
Included in our test vehicle is the Premium Sound System, which is crisp and clear, but not as good as some high-end units found in Audis, BMWs and Mercedes-Benzes. The gauge cluster follows the recent trend of being completely digital and programmable. In this case there are three different themes.
The rear seats are a bit cramped with only 33.5 inches of legroom. But there is ample headroom thanks to the wagon body style, even if it does taper down at the rear. When not transporting passengers, the rear headrests can be folded down with the touch of a button to help with rearward visibility. The back seats can be folded down three ways to expand cargo capacity to a maximum of 43.8 cubic feet. There’s also a flip-up trunk divider that can keep smaller items from rolling around in the cargo hold.
The V60’s main competition will be the BMW 3-Series Sport Wagon and Audi Allroad, even if the latter is a pseudo crossover. While the T5 trim line matches up well with these wagons power and content wise. Step up to the more powerful R-Design T6 version, and Volvo currently has no equal in the luxury wagon segment.
Volvo trumps the two Germans when it comes to price. The front-wheel drive V60 T5 with the new Drive-E engine starts at $36,225 after destination charges; much lower than the BMW or Audi. Even with the addition of all-wheel drive, the T5’s price of $37,725 still undercuts the Allroad and 3-Series. At the other end of the spectrum, our fully loaded, 325 hp R-Design T6 AWD came in at $51,775. The Bimmer and the Audi can both be optioned higher than that.
With great looks and a pleasant drive, the new V60 is a solid package. Add in a variety of engine and drivetrain options along with class-leading pricing and Volvo may just bring specialty luxury wagons a little closer to the mainstream.