Volvo V60 — Stylish and safe transportation

By Jim Meachen and Ted Biederman

The sedan is going away, the victim of low sales in this new era of the sport utility crossover. For those of us who see some advantages in the higher-riding crossover including more cargo hauling capability, but prefer the comfort, handling, and styling of a good sedan there is an alternative and it’s called the wagon.

This includes the all-new, head-turning Volvo V60.  Its newly sculpted body features a sloping roofline, sharper creases, and more aggressive front styling than the previous model. It will make you forget you ever considered a "crossover." It's nothing short of a work of automotive art.

The Volvo V60 marked the return of mid-sized wagons in the automaker’s U.S. lineup when it arrived in North America for the 2015 model year. For 2019 the new model is longer, lower and wider and gains space over the outgoing V60. Its wheelbase increases by almost four inches to 113.1, the body has grown by nearly five inches to 187.4 and it's an inch wider and 2.2 inches lower in height than its predecessor.

The bigger body makes for more room inside versus the outgoing model. Cargo volume increases from 28 to 30 cubic feet with the rear seats up and from 44 to 48 cubic feet with the 60/40 split rear bench folded. Rear passengers benefit as well, with second-row legroom increasing from 33.5 inches to 35.2.

The V60 is no slouch in the performance department with the choice of two very healthy gas engines in the U.S. market. The V60 T5 uses the company's turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine making 250 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The T6 adds a supercharger to the turbocharged engine, good for 316 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque. In this unique setup, the supercharger provides low-end torque while the turbocharger kicks in delivering high-rpm performance. This gives the engine the benefits of downsizing without the drawbacks. Both engines are mated to an eight-speed automatic.

We found the driving experience on the comfortable side, just right for a family hauler imparting decent performance with excellent handling. Our T6 test car proved satisfying in all passing and merging circumstances, while eager to tackle some back-road blacktops a bit above the posted speed limits. Published times have the T6 completing a 0-to-60 run in 5.9 seconds and the T5 in 6.9 seconds.

Inside, the V60 is a delight to the senses highlighted by the Sensus vertically-oriented touchscreen, with its tablet-style interface that has allowed Volvo to elimi
nate most of the buttons from the dash. This may sound like a bad idea at first blush, but the Sensus interface works fairly well; the combination of swiping and tapping will be familiar to anyone who owns a tablet or a smartphone, and we found most functions easy to locate. It’s compatible with Apple CarPlay and Android Auto, and it offers 4G connectivity.

While Sensus gives the Volvo a refreshingly modern and clean interior, the system is not devoid of drawbacks. For instance, changing the amount of air or engaging air recirculation requires three clicks, including one to remove the HVAC screen. Also we found the navigation system a bit difficult.

Volvo’s leadership in automotive safety is confirmed in the V60. It's built on the Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), Volvo’s advanced modular product platform that underpins all Volvos in the 90 and 60 Series. The SPA platform has resulted in the strongest Volvo cars to date because of extensive use of boron steel, as well as numerous safety systems designed to protect people inside and outside the car.

Volvo’s City Safety technology, standard on all Volvo models, combines automatic braking functionality and collision avoidance systems to cover a range of potential accident scenarios and help keep you safe. City Safety is the only system on the market that detects pedestrians, cyclists and large animals such as moose and deer.

The V60 comes in five configurations — T5 Momentum and T5 R-Design and T6 Momentum, T6 R-Design and T6 Inscription. All T5 models are front wheel drive only and all T6 models come standard with all-wheel drive. Base price is $39,895 for the T5 Momentum with worthwhile options available. Prices top out at $50,395 for the T6 Inscription including a $995 destination charge.

Our T6 Momentum test car carried a base price of $44,395 that ballooned to $54,690 with options including an Advanced Package featuring adaptive cruise control and a 360 degree surround camera; a Multimedia Package that included an outstanding Harman Kardon premium sound system; and a Premium Package.

Base price: $39,895; as driven, $54,690
Engine: 2.0-liter supercharged, turbocharged 4-cylinder
Horsepower: 316 @ 5,700 rpm
Torque: 295 foot-pounds @ 2,200 rpm
Transmission: 8-speed automatic
Drive: all-wheel drive
Seating: 2/3
Wheelbase: 113.1 inches
Length: 187.4 inches
Curb weight: 4,004 pounds
Turning circle: 37.1 cubic feet
Luggage capacity: 23.2 cubic feet
Cargo capacity: 48 cubic feet
Fuel capacity: 15.9 gallons (premium recommended)
EPA rating: 21 city, 31 highway, 25 combined
0-60: 5.9 seconds (estimated)
Also consider:  Buick Regal TourX, BMW X5, Lexus RX 350

The Good
• Sleek styling
• Excellent gas mileage
• Extensive list of safety features

The Bad
• Long list of pricey options

The Ugly
• Infotainment system can be difficult to use