Reviews

2015 Volvo V60 T5 – Piling on the Miles

Miles to date: 16,323

Long-Term Update: Winter 2015 Array Miles to date: 16,323

More than halfway through its Four Seasons test, our 2015 Volvo V60 wagon had racked up around 14,000 miles thanks to road trips to Tennessee, Chicago, and Northern Michigan throughout the summer and fall. In December, I put another 2,400 miles on the car, spending two weeks visiting friends and family in Ohio, Tennessee, and New York before coming back to snowy Michigan.

Holidays in Ohio

Hopping into the V60 wagon for the three-hour trip to my aunt and uncle’s house in Ohio was a non-event. The Volvo really eats up the miles thanks to its planted ride and solid on-center steering feel, and I didn’t experience any signs of fatigue from the supportive seats.
As soon as I arrived, four relatives hopped in the car with me and we headed to dinner. My aunt immediately pointed out the cramped cabin. Though the quintessential Volvo wagon in most people’s minds is associated with the old midsize 740 and V70 models, this 2015 Volvo V60 is actually a compact wagon sized like a BMW 3 Series. The rear seat was tight width-wise for three adults, and I also had to move the front seat forward a bit to allow enough knee room for my cousins in back.

The next day, we piled in once again to go get a Christmas tree. Once we picked one out and hoisted it on top of the V60, I was disappointed to find that the Volvo’s roof rails are just for show; there aren’t any tie-downs or hooks other than four clips made specifically for optional roof-rack accessories. We made do with the old-school method, tying the string through the cabin, and made it home with the tree intact.

Home in Nashville

Once I arrived in Nashville to see my parents, I mostly used the Volvo for running errands around town. I started to get annoyed with the engine start/stop system that’s standard equipment on all Drive-E-equipped Volvos. It’s one of the more aggressive of these systems I’ve encountered, and it always seems to shut off the engine when you don’t want it to. This becomes problematic when you’re creeping forward in traffic, and the four-cylinder shudders more than I’d like when it starts up again. I know it’s simple to turn off the system, but I don’t like to give up fuel efficiency just for the sake of smoothness.

A few days before I was set to leave town again, the Volvo’s Check Engine light came on. I visited Volvo of Nashville to have it checked out, and the technicians found that a vacuum hose had cracked and needed replacing. The repair only took about an hour and was covered under warranty.

The long haul to New York

A few days later, a friend and I embarked on our ambitious plan to drive 950 miles from Nashville to just north of New York City — in one day. At first, she was skeptical that we would make it in a day, but I reassured her that there are few cars better suited to a long day of driving than this 2015 Volvo V60, even though I had a few concerns myself about weather and fatigue along the way.

We set out at 6 a.m. and immediately sank into the plush, enveloping seats. I set the cruise control to 80 mph, and the Volvo settled into a confident, planted cruise, with the engine turning under 2,000 rpm thanks to the tall gearing of the eight-speed automatic. My friend had no trouble keying up music on Bluetooth streaming thanks to the simple, intuitive infotainment screen and control knobs. After the first few hours passed by quickly and smoothly, both of us started to feel more optimistic about the long day of driving ahead.
Over the next 12 hours or so, all of the stars aligned, and we somehow managed to avoid obstacles like bad winter weather and traffic that always seem inevitable when traveling during the holidays. Weirdly enough, I actually would have liked it to be a bit colder on the way up north, since our 2015 Volvo V60 is fitted with winter-minded Blizzak tires. As contributor Marc Noordeloos mentioned in his update last month, these tires are not so happy in warmer temperatures. I noticed plenty of wandering on the dry, warm highways of the south, and tire noise was a bit more noticeable than normal.

The greatest element of the V60 for the long haul is its amazing fuel range. I got more than 500 miles out of a tank, which meant we had to stop only once for fuel. I could have gone even farther if it wasn’t for the premature low-fuel warning and the pessimistic range readings. Only one of my fillups was above 16 gallons, despite the tank’s 17.8-gallon capacity, and fuel economy hovered between 30 and 33 mpg. That’s short of the 37-mpg EPA highway rating but still respectable given our higher speeds (between 75 and 80 mph), the mountainous terrain of Virginia and Pennsylvania, and the aforementioned winter tires.

Back home to Michigan

I finally got good use out of the Blizzak tires when I hit wintry weather in Pennsylvania on my way back home to Michigan. I still felt completely comfortable in the 2015 Volvo V60 as the winter tires tracked confidently through the deepening snow on I-80, allowing me to effortlessly pass floundering trucks and SUVs. The Volvo’s clear views through the front and rear windshields were also a boon for getting through the snow without a hitch. Predictably, my fuel economy numbers went down as the temperatures dropped, and I averaged around 29 mpg on my 620-mile trip westward.

Even as I pulled into my driveway even after a slow drive through snow, sleet, and rain, I wasn’t yet tired of the Volvo. Spending two weeks and 2,400 miles in this well-rounded wagon confirmed our earlier positive impressions of the V60. Its combination of comfort, efficiency, and style make it a worthy road-trip companion and a car I’d be happy to own in any context.


 

Overview

  • Body style 4-door hatchback
  • Accommodation 5-passenger
  • Construction Steel unibody
  • Base price (with dest.) $38,775
  • As tested $40,825

Powertrain

  • Engine 16-valve DOHC turbocharged I-4
  • Displacement 2.0 liters (120 cu in)
  • Power 240 hp @ 5600 rpm
  • Torque 258 lb-ft @ 1500-4800 rpm
  • Transmission 8-speed automatic
  • Drive Front-wheel
  • EPA Fuel Economy 25/37/29 (city/hwy/combined)

Chassis

  • Steering Electrically assisted
  • Lock-to-lock 2.6 turns
  • Turning circle 37.1 ft
  • Suspension, Front Strut-type, coil springs
  • Suspension, Rear Multilink, coil springs
  • Brakes F/R Vented discs/discs
  • Wheels 18-inch aluminum
  • Tires Continental ContiProContact
  • Tire size 235/40R-18 95H

Measurements

  • Headroom F/R 38.7/37.6 in
  • Legroom F/R 41.9/33.5 in
  • Shoulder room F/R 57.0/55.2 in
  • Wheelbase 109.3 in
  • Track F/R 62.1/62.0 in
  • L x W x H 182.5 x 73.4 x 58.4 in
  • Passenger capacity 92.0 cu ft
  • Cargo capacity 43.8 cu ft
  • Weight 3527 lb
  • Weight dist. F/R 61.0/39.0%
  • Fuel capacity 17.8 gal
  • Est. fuel range 520 miles
  • Fuel grade 87 octane (regular unleaded)

Equipment

  • standard equipment

    • Leather-trimmed seats
    • Auto-dimming rearview mirror
    • Power-folding exterior mirrors
    • Keyless entry and ignition
    • 17-inch aluminum wheels
    • Roof rails
    • Rearview camera
    • Grocery-bag holder
    • Halogen headlights
    • LED running lights
    • 12-volt power outlet
    • Cruise control
    • Hill-start assist
    • Bluetooth audio and phone connectivity
    • Auxiliary audio jack
    • USB port
    • Power sunroof
    • Power front seats
    • Power-folding rear head restraints
    • SiriusXM satellite radio w/6-month trial subscription

Options

  • options for this vehicle:

    • Flamenco Red metallic paint- $550
    • Sport package- $1500
    • Paddle shifters
    • Dynamic chassis
    • Beechwood leather-trimmed sport interior
    • 18-inch aluminum wheels

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