2015 Volvo V60 First Drive

#Volvo, #V60

Does the Volvo station wagon have a future in America? We've come to the French Riviera to drive the 2015 Volvo V60 tomorrow and find out, but tonight we're sitting down to an alfresco dinner with brand executive Joe Haslem, who pointedly states the obvious: "We have so much equity in wagons." Indeed, the station wagon is a defining part of Volvo's identity. It all started with the 1953 Duett, a cargo hauler that could be used for work during the day and personal chores at night -- thus the name. It was followed by the transformational 1960s P220 Amazon estate, which was less of a commercial truck and more of a true family car. With the stylish Amazon, Volvo had found its niche. Through the 1970s and 1980s and well into the 1990s, station wagons helped the brand cultivate the loyalty of customers ranging from tweedy college professors to upscale suburban families.

Even as Volvo bowed to market pressures and introduced the full-size XC90 SUV in 2003, it unveiled its modern take on the full-size station wagon, the V70, and its many variants. As good as they were, the golden age of the Volvo wagon was waning, and as Volvo transitioned from Ford ownership to its new parent, China's Geely Automotive Group, it dropped the base V70 from its U.S. lineup, then the V70-based Cross Country, and then even the small V50. For the past several years, Volvo -- the company known for safety and station wagons -- didn't have a single wagon in its U.S. lineup.

Yet Volvo never stopped selling wagons in Europe, where V60 and V70 remained staples of its lineup. Volvo decided to wait until its new Drive-E powertrain -- consisting of a turbocharged, 240-hp, 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine mated to an all-new eight-speed automatic -- came on-stream to reintroduce the full-size wagon to American audiences. The 2015 V60 also will be offered in America with Volvo's existing turbocharged inline five- and six-cylinder engines, but no U.S.-spec V60s were on hand in St.-Paul-de-Vence. A gray, Euro-spec V60 with a 2.0-liter, four-cylinder turbodiesel would have to do.

On a bright September morning, we toss our laptop bag into the V60's spacious rear cargo area and plop down in the sculpted driver's seat, which provides an excellent driving position and an elevated view of the road. Look around, and you know you're in a Volvo. Simple, clean lines; tasteful black leather accented with crisp white stitching; attractive silver-colored plastic trim; the usual Scandinavian goods. Easing out of our hotel parking lot onto the Route des Serres, we're immediately aware that we're driving something that's different than an S60, even if the steering is similarly accurate yet light on-center. Before long, we find the corners of the car and are tearing up mountain roads, braking hard into switchbacks, and steering the V60 between the tall stone curbs that line the roads and might, just might, keep us from tumbling into a ravine if we get it all wrong. Who would have thought a wagon could move this nimbly? Still, there's no forgetting we're not in a sports car. The V60 has enough body roll and chassis flex that we're feeling a little queasy in the quickest, off-camber turns.

During the lunch stop, Volvo's Haslem isn't surprised to hear about our driving exploits. "The V60 is basically a version of the S60," he says. "It's not a big estate. It's a styled wagon." You can see what he's saying in the V60's sleek silhouette and in the way the roof tapers in the rear. The body is clean and simple, devoid of excess trim, with crisp side lines that run from the headlights all the way back through the doors to the taillights. If you like styled wagons, you'll like the 2015 Volvo V60. However, if you care more about utility than style, the existing XC60 crossover has more much more room in the second row and space for cargo, and the aging XC90 seats seven.

The truth is, Volvo only expects to sell 4000 V60s in the United States each year, a small fraction of the S60's sales. So why bother to offer a station wagon to Americans at all? Because people who believe in Volvo believe in station wagons, even if they don't necessarily buy them. Symbolism does matter.

2015 Volvo V60

On Sale: January 2014
Price: t/k
Engines: Turbocharged 2.0-liter I-4, 240 hp, 258 lb-ft; turbocharged 2.5-liter I-5, 250 hp, 266 lb-ft; turbocharged 3.0-liter I-6, 325 hp, 354 lb-ft
Drive: Front or 4-wheel
Fuel Mileage: t/k
Thanks for fixing it in the print version, Jean.  Still, the XC70 is a wagon.  Odd to think otherwise because of a small lift to the suspension.
Christian Schmidt
Volvo is doing a better job of its styling and if i was in the market for a wagon this could be a choice.
Christian Schmidt
What an idiotic comment. I would take that over a POS american anything especially the POS Ghettollac wagon that looks like a rappers funeral car.
No response about the XC70 misinformation.  This is why Automobile's blog is a mere afterthought compared to Car and Driver's.  C'mon, Jean!  Kick some butt.
Johan Andersson
Please let me clarify this: Volvo cars are designed & developed by engineers in Sweden, the vehicles are built in Sweden or Belgium. For the Chineese market specifically, vehicles are built there for tax/toll reasons.
Sorry, I just don't like station wagons and have no use for one.
Please correct your article in regards to the V70 Cross Country.  Your author may be too young to realize that the XC in Volvo's naming stands for Cross Country.  Thus, the XC70 is the Cross Country V70 wagon.
Michael Browne
Sign me up!
Gillian Machidi
A mans car. So butch
Luciano Noceti
Beautifull Volvo ever...! (Y)
Moneshwaran Moniwa
Super car
Thomas Voelker
Rather it be a hatchback.
Could we have some clarification?  Volvo still sells the XC70 in the U.S..  I own a 2011 model.  It hasn't been dropped, unless the editors know something we don't.
Steven Matthew Myers
Gorgeous! Volvo isn't Volvo without wagons!
Noah Charles Damoose
seems a little strange that Volvo will offer the 2.0 I4 and the 2.5 I5 with only 10 HP and 8 lb-ft separating both engines 
Nestle Salcedo
It is sexy and it is still very Swedish...even it is owned by a Chinese company
Mohammed Mansour
First-time to know that volvo is a Chinese vehicle rofl u may need to check it out lol
Ahmed Hadi
Volvo never dropped the XC70 in the U.S.  Let's do a little fact-checking next time.
Samuel O Lee
And yes, I know the Mazda 6 Wagon isn't available in North America...yet.
Samuel O Lee
Nice, but I'd buy the superlative new Mazda 6 sport wagon instead and save myself thousands of dollars in initial purchase price and cost of ownership over the life of the vehicle. Sorry Volvo, VW, Jaguar et al, but it just doesn't make sense buying a European vehicle in North America with their lousy dealer and service network and premium pricing.
Chuck Hatch
@Jay, read the article. Available in the US in January 2014. Me? I want one!
Jake Chapman
Better looking than an F30 that's for sure
Robert Bowers
Volvos are sharp , but I can't shop them until they depreciate a few years .
Erik Sveum Erstad
Maciej Aleks Cybulski
I still want one in Saffron Orange & Polestar edition!!!
Geoff Ekenstam
I'd take one! This is the best looking wagon in Volvo's lineup and the best looking wagon on the road.
Jon Kithcart
Finally ! Something to replace my B6 passat wagon!!
Sa'eb Foroughi
Big Like (y) With permission from admin http://www.facebook.com/pages/New-and-beautiful-cars-pictures/281557068633336
Lee Klein
Yassine Bouabid
Ross Mazin
bring it here please
Khal Zaki
best of the best
Jay Klein
Gotta wait until 2015? Sorry Ovlov, I can't wait that long. You never should have killed the wagon in the first place! My business will likely go to your former parent company.
Eddie N Myrna Bailey
Nice but would still prefer the Mercedes AMG wagon!
Adam Sytsma
Loved the S60, love the wagon even more.
Jig's Gamit
auto mobile
Petri Drachman
Chinese Crap
dave hicks
@jmccool6969 Thanks for sharing.
Read the whole article. It's going on sale in less than 3 months

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