We all know wagons aren't exactly flying off dealer lots in the United States, but it's still an important segment for Volvo, even more so in its native European markets. Weeks after killing the slow-selling V70 in the U.S., we've been given our first glimpse of the all-new 2011 Volvo V60 station wagon, which will debut at the 2010 Paris motor show in September.
Yes, we did say V60 -- Volvo has shifted the name of its new midsize wagon to help tie it to its four-door sibling, the new 2011 Volvo S60. From the C-pillars forward, the two vehicles look virtually identical. The V60 shares the S60's shapely snout and flared fenders, although its hindquarters are unique. Designers were reportedly aiming to craft a coupe-like profile for the new wagon, but instead of raking the roofline and compromising interior space, the automaker drastically lowered the upper edge of the rear windows.
It's hard to reinvent the hatch, but Volvo's design team worked hard to spiff up the V60's posterior. A strong character line, which originates from the front fenders, runs the length of the car and folds into the tall tail lamps. Per Volvo tradition, the rear lights run from the fender to the top of the roof, but thanks to the V60's dramatic shoulders, their shape is a little more outlandish. Buyers looking for extra pizzazz may opt for an available styling pack, which adds custom scuff plates, large exhaust tips, and 18-inch wheels.
Unsurprisingly, the mechanical bits beneath the wagon's skin are virtually identical to the S60. If the V60 drives half as well as the new S60, Volvo could have a veritable sports wagon on its hands. Three different suspension tunings -- Touring, Dynamic, and Four-C -- are available on the wagon. By altering both damper tuning and the rear subframe design, the V60 has the ability to deliver either a smooth ride (Touring) or one better tuned toward performance (Dynamic). Can't decide between the two? Spring for the Four-C package. Although it's largely based off the Dynamic car, adjustable damper tuning allows drivers to dial the V60 in for comfort, sport, or an extra-sporty Advanced setting.
Overseas, the V60 will be available with a range of engines, each available with a six-speed manual transmission or a six-speed automatic. The 325-horsepower, 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six-cylinder offered in the U.S.-spec S60 is the premium engine offering for the V60 T6, but we're more interested in a new "volume" engine offering: a new turbocharged, direct-injected 2.0-liter I-4 delivers nearly 240 horsepower and 236 pound-feet of torque. Europeans can also opt for a turbocharged 1.6-liter I-4, two two different turbo-diesel I-5s, and a turbocharged diesel four-cylinder. Front-wheel-drive is standard save for the T6, which adds all-wheel-drive -- typically an option -- as standard equipment.
The 2011 V60 should launch later this year, but don't look for it in U.S. showrooms anytime soon. Volvo plans on building 50,000 examples annually, and expects 90 percent of that total to remain in Europe. V60s will be exported globally, but Volvo's North American product planners tell us it isn't destined for the U.S. at this point.