2015 Volvo V60 T5: Wagon comeback in a big way

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The 2015 Volvo V60 T5 is a new car the United States. It’s been in Europe for a few years, but for the American market it’s unlike any other Volvo wagon. They were previously all built like small passenger tanks and were about as attractive.

Volvo stopped making its larger wagons a few years ago. But with the debut of the V60, the Scandinavian-influenced carmaker with parts from Sweden, Germany, Japan, the United States and Canada, could have an entirely new following.

The 2015 Volvo V60 resembles its long-ago sibling, the P1800s series, now collectors’ cars. The new offering is still a wagon. But it’s a stylish, sleek wagon with an attractive combination: It’s handsome and versatile.

The Weekly Driver Test Drive

There are nearly a dozen trims available, but my weekly test drive featured the new Drive-E engine – available only on front-wheel-drive T5 models. It included a 2.0-liter, turbocharged four-cylinder engine matched with an eight-speed automatic transmission.

The 2015 Volvo V60 T5 is a new car in the United States.
The 2015 Volvo V60 T5 is a new car in the United States. All images © James Raia/2014

The driving modes are typical of Volvo innovation. In Sport mode, the steering wheel-mounted paddles shift quickly. The Eco+Start/Stop function shuts off the engine at 4 mph as you’re rolling to a stop.

Models with turbocharged 5-cylinder and 6-cylinder engines and a 6-speed automatic transmission have all-wheel drive, but don’t offer the same fuel economy as the front-wheel drive model, according to several top-ranked online automotive sites’ reviewers.

The 2015 Volvo V60 T5 is comfortable and a treat to drive. It has astute handling and maneuverability. And like all Volvo cars and SUVs, it has a tight-grip-the-road feel unlike any other manufacturers’ vehicles.

I drove the new Volvo from Sacramento to San Francisco one recent morning and returned in night driving. I negotiated both directions in freeway commuter traffic, and I can’t think of a better test for a car than in situations flooded with stressed drivers.

When I needed to brake suddenly, change lanes abruptly, watch for side traffic, etc., the Volvo V60 handled it like it had owned the route for years. The front seats may not be big enough for larger drivers, but at 6-feet, 190 pounds, I was at ease in the driver’s seat and had several extra inches of head room and plenty of leg room

Volvo has always been known as a manufacturer with an overt concern for safety. The V60’s standard safety and security standard features list includes more than a dozen items.

My test vehicle also included three options packages: Premier Plus ($2,500), Sport ($1,500) and Blind Spot Information System, BLIS ($900). The Premier option has keen features like power detectable side mirrors, a rear park assist camera and leather seats. There are nearly a dozen less attractive options in the package like a digital compass and grocery bag holder.

The Sport Package features blind spot detection, paddle shifters, sport seats and 19-inch wheels — all of which added to the car’s functionality and handsome appearance.

The BLIS option, the least expensive, is the most important with a cross traffic alert, lane change merge aid and front and rear park assist.

Equipped with its three packages and nearly another $2,000 for metallic paint, heated front seats and the destination charge, the new Volvo V60 T5 extends into the low $40,000 range. That may deter some buyers. Yet the equation also makes the new car hard not to like.

Likes:

Superior handling.

Comfort.

Traditional solid Volvo “feel.”

New design far removed from Volvo wagon boxes of yesteryear.

Dislikes:

Where’s the navigation system?

Windshield wiper switches hard to access.

Not great cargo space.

Facts & Figures: 2015 Volvo V60 T5

Acceleration: 0-60 mph, 6.1 seconds.
Airbags: (6)
Fuel economy: 25 mpg (city), 37 mpg (highway), 29 mpg (combined) six-speed automatic transmission.
Horsepower: 240.
Manufacturer’s Suggested Retail Price: $35,300.00
Manufacturer’s Web site: www.volvocars.com.
Price As Tested: $42,225.00
Warranty: Bumper to bumper, 4 years/50,000 miles; Powertrain, 4 years/50,000 miles; Corrosion, 12 years/unlimited mileage; Free maintenance, 3 years/36,000 miles.

What Others Say:

“If you love the idea of a premium European wagon, but are put off by BMW’s price, the Volvo V60 is the perfect alternative. Together with Volvo’s stellar safety record, the eye-catching style pretty much seals the deal.” — Kelley Blue Book.

“The V60 comes with new and remarkably comfortable front seats as standard. They’re heavily bolstered, and high-end models have power adjustment including a variable lumbar support.” — CarConnection.com.

“In Scandinavian fashion, the cabin design is minimal yet stylish, including Volvo’s falling waterfall console, brushed metal trim and a kind of elephant-hide-grained plastic on the dash. Front or rear, the seats are magnificent (including optional white-stitched sport seats), so luxuriously stuffed yet supportive that they should win some orthopedic seal of approval.” — The New York Times.

The Weekly Driver’s Final Words:

“Volvo has a long tradition of station wagons as among the safest but least attractive cars on the road. The new V60 wagon makes all the other Volvo wagons easy to forget.”

 

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