Station wagons seem to be a bit of a dying breed. A few decades ago, every single family had a large domestic station wagon in which everyone would pile into and head off on fun adventures. Nowadays, small crossovers and other cookie-cutter vehicles have replaced those huge wagons as preferred transportation. Volvo station wagons have always been a part of my extended family; there were a few V70s and XC70s over the years, and to me they always stood out as the pinnacle of safety. The V70 disappeared a few years ago, and the XC70 is reminiscent of a more premium Subaru Outback and not so much a proper wagon. Now though, the real station wagon has made its return. I spent a week with the 2015 Volvo V60 R-Design with the T6 engine.
Just to reiterate in case I wasn’t clear; I absolutely adore wagons. I miss them, and I hope more manufacturers do what Volvo has done and bring them back. Along with their added utility, I just like the way wagons look. Given the fact that I have no real interest in going off-road or a need for ground clearance, wagons just make more sense to me than small crossovers. The V60 is the station wagon sibling to the S60, which I also love. Despite being all-new, it maintains the same sleek lines and friendly ergonomics that the S60 has, and has fine tuned them to be just a touch better.
My T6 AWD R-Design Platinum model was pretty much loaded to the gills, to the tune of just over $58,000. The V60 in general starts at just under $40,000, and I actually could see myself buying one as a family chariot at some point in the coming years. I probably wouldn’t opt for one this loaded up, but under no circumstances do I think it’s overpriced. You get a lot for your hard-earned money, and every kilometer behind the wheel of this Volvo reassures you that your dollars have been well spent.
Most notable here is the T6 powerplant; a turbocharged inline 6-cylinder engine with 300 horsepower. However, my V60 also had a Polestar tune (not to be confused with the upcoming V60 Polestar) that bumped numbers to 325 horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque. This is one seriously quick wagon; the amount of low-end torque is mind-blowing and more than adequate. Even more impressive is the sheer effortlessness the V60 demonstrates. Even when throttle is applied rather spiritedly, the wagon doesn’t give the sensation that it’s being strained or worked harder than it wants to be. It’s simply remarkable. No manual transmission is offered; the V60 comes with a 6-speed automatic transmission with a manual-shift function and paddles.
Handling is excellent as well; the Haldex all-wheel-drive system on my tester would be highly beneficial in the winter. The suspension isn’t choppy in any way either; the V60 handles Toronto’s pothole-ridden streets with ease and calmness. The sport suspension on my R-Design model is presumably a bit stiffer than regular V60s, but make no mistake; Volvo has made no compromises here. This is a true all-season family cruiser, packed with safety features such as forward collision warning, a blind-spot monitoring system, and even a driver fatigue alert system.
What about comfort? Well, the one thing I wouldn’t shut up about the entire week I had the V60 R-Design was just how insanely comfortable the seats are. They aren’t Lexus-levels of soft or Fiesta ST-levels of supportive. These seats are simply an ergonomic marvel and cushion you in a way that no other seat on the market is able to pull off. I took this serene station wagon on a small road trip to London, ON and the drive felt about half as long as it actually was. Upon getting out of the car, I actually just wanted to get back in it.
The equipment list aside from safety features on my V60 tester was pretty steep. Navigation, a premium sound system with USB/Bluetooth/satellite radio, reverse camera, an intelligent key system, leather, and a sunroof were all on board. This station wagon is equipped with literally everything one might expect on a premium vehicle in the $50,000 range. The interior is one of the most elegant, simplistic designs in the industry. The Swedes really do know what they’re doing, and shouldn’t change their ways.
There were, however, a few quirks that I wasn’t so sure about. For instance, the reverse camera wouldn’t automatically come on when I engaged reverse. There’s a “CAM” button on the centre stack that enabled it, but I really would like it to be automatic. Additionally, I have a close friend with a relatively base-model 2008 XC70 that has a power-operated rear decklid. More than once I came out to the V60 with my hands full and would have made full use of that. Even still, neither of these things are deal-breakers for me.
Volvo’s smaller engines can get away with regular fuel, but I wouldn’t dream of subjecting this beautiful T6 to the ethanol-filled fuels we have here in Toronto. On 91-octane premium gas, the V60 averaged 10.6L/100km in light-footed driving over my test week. The strictly-highway trip to London returned 9.6L/100km, and I couldn’t do any better than that. In the city, the wagon’s fuel numbers inevitably took a dive and I observed 11.3L/100km. All of these are with significant use of the air conditioning; my test week was full of 30-degree summer days. If efficiency is what you’re after, you’ll have to sacrifice some of the power of the T6 with the Polestar tune; Volvo will sell you a V60 with smaller, more efficient motors.
Some may call me strange for saying this, but this 2015 Volvo V60 R-Design was undoubtedly one of the vehicular highlights of my summer. I had a BMW S1000R motorcycle in my garage at the same time, and I still found myself using the station wagon more and more. It’s just so pleasant that it brings a smile to my face. Yes, there is somewhat of a negative stereotype about wagon drivers being either soccer moms or the elderly, but this station wagon is above and beyond all that. The V60 T6 will be able to take your entire family to soccer practice or on a family vacation with the utmost in safety and comfort, but it can also serve as the weekend toy and is just as suited for your favourite driving roads.
2015 Volvo V60 T6 R-Design