Volvo's Confusing New Trim Levels Explained

Mike Schlee
by Mike Schlee

Luxury automakers like to mess with us. That is the only conclusion we can come up with when looking at various manufacturer’s vehicle nomenclature.

Lincoln seemingly applies random letters at the end of the brand’s model names – MKC, MKT, MKZ, etc. Acura is just as willy-nilly with the letters used at the start of the manufacture’s vehicles – ILX compact, RLX full-size and TLX mid-size follows no real naming order structure.

Then last year Infiniti decided it was high time to unleash utter chaos by renaming all of the brand’s vehicles with Qs and QXs. Making matters worse, vehicles already containing Qs and QXs also received name changes just for fun.

Volvo’s Turn for Confusion

Well, now it is Volvo’s turn. The Swedish manufacturer may not be changing any of the actual model names, but the new trim structure is more convoluted than Plato’s “Symposium.” AutoGuide editors, fellow scribes and faithful readers have been thrown off by this new naming structure. To help alleviate the befuddlement, here is a quick reference guide to all the Volvo trims that will be offered in 2015.

Basically, there will be five trims this year. It is easiest to split these trims into two categories. The first group is for front-wheel drive (FWD) models and contains the new Drive-E four cylinder engines. The second group contains the all-wheel drive (AWD) models and features the three carry over engines; a five-cylinder and to six-cylinders.

Trims Explained

Let’s start with the AWD group first that doesn’t receive major name changes. In T5 AWD versions of the S60 and V60, the carry-over 250 hp 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine will remain. The 3.2 AWD trim of the XC60 and XC70 crossovers will continue to use the 240 hp 3.2 liter six-cylinder unit. All vehicles, including the S80, will offer a T6 AWD trim that includes the 3.0-liter turbocharged six-cylinder engine. This so far makes sense as the T5 features a five-cylinder engine and the T6 has a six-cylinder engine.

But then things get confusing. By referring to the chart below, it can be seen that every 2015 Volvo model will also be offered with another T5 trim, this one dubbed the T5 FWD. This trim level doesn’t feature a five-cylinder engine like the T5 AWD, but instead makes do with a 2.0 liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine producing 240 hp. The reason Volvo chose to use the T5 moniker for the turbo four pot is due to the fact that this engine makes similar power to the T5 five-cylinder.

Similarly, the 2015 S60 and XC60 can also be had with a T6 FWD that does not feature a six-cylinder engine. In its place is a 2.0-liter turbocharged and supercharged four-cylinder engine making a healthy 302 hp. Much like the turbo-only T5 four cylinder, the dual-charged T6 four banger is labelled as such because it generates similar power to the 3.0 liter turbocharged inline-six found in the T6 AWD. Clear as mud, right?

Quick Reference Chart

ModelMSRPCity / Highway MPGCombined MPG
S60 T5 Drive-E FWD$33,30025 / 3729
S60 T5 AWD$34,80020 / 2923
S60 T6 Drive-E FWD$38,15024 / 3528
S60 T6 R-Design AWD$42,70019 / 2822
V60 T5 Drive-E FWD$35,30025 / 3729
V60 T5 AWD$36,80020 / 2923
S60 T6 R-Design AWD$44,30019 / 2822
XC60 T5 Drive-E FWD$35,75024 / 3127
XC60 3.2 AWD$37,25018 / 2520
XC60 T6 Drive-E FWD$40,05022 / 3025
XC60 T6 AWD$41,55017 / 2420
XC60 T6 R-Design AWD$45,80017 / 2420

Eventually, all of the old engines will be retired once the new Drive-E four cylinders are paired with all-wheel drivetrains in a few years. Until then, the current naming structure will live on. Hopefully though, the new Volvo trim system is now a little clearer.

Discuss this on our Volvo Forum

Mike Schlee
Mike Schlee

A 20+ year industry veteran, Mike rejoins the AutoGuide team as the Managing Editor. He started his career at a young age working at dealerships, car rentals, and used car advertisers. He then found his true passion, automotive writing. After contributing to multiple websites for several years, he spent the next six years working at the head office of an automotive OEM, before returning back to the field he loves. He is a member of the Automobile Journalists Association of Canada (AJAC), and Midwest Automotive Media Association (MAMA). He's the recipient of a feature writing of the year award and multiple video of the year awards.

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  • Condottiere18a50 Condottiere18a50 on Feb 03, 2014

    What is also confusing is what options and accessories comes standard with Premier, Premier Plus and Platinum.