Cars

2019 Volvo V60 Takes Station Wagon to the Next Level

DETROIT — Volvo has come to market with a bunch of products during the past five years. But the 2019 Volvo V60 just might be the slickest — and that’s saying something, since it is a station wagon.

Volvo has gained plaudits for sticking to the station wagon market long after they fell out of favor with the car buying public. Their called Estates in Europe and the Swedish automaker has had at least one in its stable since 1953’s Volvo Duett. Now it has four, the V90 regular and Cross Country and the same for the V60. Of the group, I like the V60.

Mirroring the body style of the midsize S60 sedan, the V60 was low, the sheet metal was swept back and it looked wider because of the low stance. It had the face of Volvo including the “Thor’s Hammer” LED headlight design and the new grille with Volvo’s Iron Mark badge. The name Volvo across the tailgate in block letters left no doubt as to the brand.

My test vehicle was a regular station wagon, not the V60 Cross Country which sits a little higher off the ground. Ground clearance for the “regular” V60 Estate was 5.4 inches. That got down to five inches with one person, me, in the car.

It was powered by Volvo’s 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine with a turbocharger and a supercharger. I still don’t think the automaker gets enough accolades for the merging of these blowers. In this iteration, the T6 makes 316 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque at 2,200 rpm.

The engine was mated to an eight-speed automatic transmission. The combination meant power and efficiency. The Volvo V60 T6 got 21 mpg in the city, 31 mpg on the highway and 25 mpg combined.

This V60 T6 had all-wheel-drive and I found a good explanation on 4X4abc.com that explained just how the system worked. “The Volvo automatic AWD system has no traditional transfer case. Primary power goes to the front wheels. The rear drive shaft incorporates a viscous coupling (Haldex on the new XC-90) and as long as the front and rear axles rotate at the same speed the coupling unit would remain inactive and the rear tires receive no torque — they are just rolling along. Would indeed slippage occur at the front wheels, the VC (Haldex) will create a power flow to the rear axle.” It can send up to half of the V60’s torque to the rear wheels.

However, “if only one axle is powered, front and rear axles do not rotate at the same speed. The powered axle always spins a little faster (about 5%) than the axle with the wheels just rolling along. It slips a little on the ground. So, the VC (now Haldex) reacts to the speed difference and compensates with a proportional allocation of torque for the rear. This way the rear axle will get 5% of the torque and thus each rear wheel receives 2.5%.”

That is why Volvo can say that all four wheels get power all of the time because they do.

That aside, the V60 was a great driving car. It was bullet quick, it handled precisely and it accelerated rapidly. Any number of times I was going a lot faster than I thought and that occurred from any speed. I never really thought of V60 T6 as a station wagon until I got out and looked over the long roof. That’s how low it was to the ground.

Inside, it was comfortable, laden with leather and driftwood trim. It was a really clean Scandinavian feel. The car was uncluttered by a lot of buttons, the wood trim stood out in such a way that you thought there was more wood than they actually used and there was that infotainment screen branded Sensus. It delivers an intuitive touch screen interface that combines car functions, navigation, connected services and in-car entertainment applications such as Spotify, Pandora, Baidu or TuneIn. What’s more, it operated like an iPad.

The seats were outstanding. Only one mass production automaker really challenges Volvo when it comes to seat styling and comfort. The interior looked like it belonged in a concept car. And the panoramic roof allowed plenty of light into the passenger compartment.

Volvo has been using this particular interior style for a few years and it still looked fresh. I think it will be viable for at least several more years.

The V60 can tote five people comfortably and make no mistake, though it drives like a sporty midsize sedan, it can get to 60 mph from a standstill in 5.5 seconds, the V60 is a station wagon with the inherent versatility.

It can tow up to 2,000 lbs., carry up to 165 lbs. on the roof and it has 23.2 cubic feet of cargo space with the second-row seats upright and that expands to 31.7 cubic feet of cargo space with its second-row seats folded. And the length of the cargo it carries can be up to 71.7 inches.

The Volvo V60 T6 had a double wishbone suspension, coil springs, hydraulic shock absorbers, stabilizer bar that comprised the front suspension. While an integral axle with transverse composite leaf spring, hydraulic shock absorbers, stabilizer bar comprised the rear suspension.

 An optional air suspension is available but my test vehicle did not have it. The car did have four drive modes; eco, comfort, individual and dynamic. That leads me to my one quibble: the V60 will revert to its factory settings every time you turn off the ignition.

Turn off stop-start, lane departure alert, change the drive mode to dynamic from the factory setting of comfort, turn the car off and restart and it has all reverted to the factory settings. This is a choice of the engineers because the heated seats and heated steering wheel remain where I set them when I restart the car. For anybody who is in and out of the V60 numerous times during the day, this is really annoying. But living with it is worth the ride.

What makes the Inscription trim line is the long list of equipment. On the exterior that included chrome bars in the front grille and chrome window trim, dual integrated tailpipes with body colored lower fascia and LED fog lights with cornering lights.

On the inside, Inscription features 4-zone climate controls, power cushion extension for the 10-way power front seats with four-way lumbar supports and blind spot information with cross traffic alert and autobrake.

There was a luxury package that included ventilated Nappa leather upholstery, backrest massage and power-adjustable side supports in the front seats.

The advanced package included Pilot Assist, a semi-autonomous drive system, and adaptive cruise control and full LED headlights. Stand-alone options included heated rear seats, Four C active chassis, a premium audio system and 19-inch wheels.

Of course, there was the usual stuff like satellite radio, voice controls, USB connection, 12V plugs and internet streaming. What really impressed me was the car reached out and connected to my smartphone itself. At least, I think it did because I don’t remember doing the initial link.

Anyway, I don’t have any kids living with me, I don’t rummage through flea markets or garage sales and I certainly don’t tow or tote much of anything besides me. Yet, I’d have no problem owning a 2019 Volvo V60 T6 AWD. And when a friend of mine asked, I told him the sticker was $61,490 as tested. He was not swayed from considering one for his wife.

Frank S. Washington is editor of AboutThatCar.com.

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