The Car Connection Volvo V60 Overview
The Volvo V60, a mid-size five-door wagon, made its debut at dealerships very early in 2014 as a 2015 model.
It marked the return of the traditional Volvo wagon to U.S. shores, but the V60 is far from the brand's boxy wagons of the ’70s and ’80s. It's a low, sleek, sporty wagon version of Volvo's current mid-size sedan, the S60, which was launched in 2010 as a new design.
The V60 is offered with three different powertrains, including base versions with front-wheel drive or all-wheel drive and a high-performance Polestar model.
The standard V60 has now been joined by a mildly crossover-esque version, the V60 Cross Country. Volvo also offers a performance-tuned version in limited quantities through its Polestar partner.
MORE: Read our 2016 Volvo V60 review
Because it's not the squared-off Volvo wagon you're used to, it's also not cavernous inside. The V60 is akin to other small European wagons, which can be considered biggish hatchbacks to some extent. Volvo says the V60 is for folks who want something more versatile than a sports sedan but that handles just as well, and it doesn't plan to sell a ton of them here as a result. That said, there has been positive feedback to the company on the return of a non-crossover five-door to the Volvo lineup.
Although the V60 offers plenty more room inside than an S60 sedan, it is by no means the cargo-hauling king in the manufacturer's lineup. The brand's three crossover vehicles beat the V60 in that measure, as the low, sleek roofline of this wagon keeps the cargo hold to a moderate size. With the rear seats folded, the V60 can swallow 43 cubic feet of stuff. As in the S60 sedan, the V60's rear seat can be tight for adults; it offers a ski pass-through and can also fold in a versatile 40/20/40 arrangement.
The base V60 T5 uses Volvo's new direct-injected and turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine. It generates 240 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, driving the front wheels only through a new 8-speed automatic transmission. Volvo notes that the engine has an "overboost" mode, in which its turbocharger work overtime to boost torque to 280 lb-ft under hard acceleration for up to 10 seconds. This is the V60 model with the fastest acceleration: Volvo quotes a 0-to-60-mph time of just 6.1 seconds.
A step up the ladder brings the V60 T5 AWD, which uses the older corporate five-cylinder making 250 horsepower; it's mated to a 6-speed automatic and all-wheel drive, with a starting price of $36,800. There's also a T6 R-Design model with a 325-hp inline-6 and standard all-wheel drive, which costs $44,300. Through its dealers, Volvo also offers a Polestar-tuned V60 with even more power. Those cars are built in limited numbers, but high demand has had Volvo plan a second round of the cars split between V60 wagons and S60 sedans.
Ultimately, Volvo will migrate all of its vehicle lines to the new and highly efficient Drive-E engine family, but for the moment its use in the S60 and V60 will be restricted to front-wheel-drive models due to packaging constraints in a platform that's now in its sixth model year and due for replacement soon. The new engine includes a start-stop system as standard—it's very quick on the restart, which we applaud. All V60 models offer three drive modes: Normal, Sport, and Eco+, the latter of which cuts off the air conditioning when unneeded and remaps the throttle and transmission for more efficient performance.
Fuel efficiency for the new V60 is at its best with the Drive-E engine and front-wheel drive, at 25 mpg city, 37 highway, 29 combined. The T5 AWD model comes in at 25 mpg combined, and the T6 R-Design at 23 mpg combined. A moonroof is standard equipment on all Volvo V60 models.
Volvo introduced models with the new Sensus Connect infotainment system as "2015.5" models, so as to differentiate them on dealer lots. The new system in the 2015.5 Volvo S60 includes Volvo On-call concierge and roadside-assistance services, cloud-based services, 3D maps for the navigation system, and new Harman/Kardon premium sound.
The V60 lineup is also gaining a Cross Country model that takes it slightly toward the crossover end of the wagon spectrum. A modest ground-clearance hike of 2.6 inches combines with some extra cladding and fender flares to produce a more rugged version of the small five-door. The related S60 sedan also receives a Cross Country version soon.
Volvo has also announced a second run of Polestar models, which will include V60s. A total of 750 V60 and S60 Polestar models will be sold as 2016 models in 13 countries, including the U.S. Volvo announced the additional production after the initial run sold out quicker than anticipated.