The Truth About Cars » volvo v60 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. Mon, 29 Jun 2015 20:37:28 +0000 en-US hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=4.2.2 The Truth About Cars is dedicated to providing candid, unbiased automobile reviews and the latest in auto industry news. The Truth About Cars no The Truth About Cars editors@ttac.com editors@ttac.com (The Truth About Cars) 2006-2009 The Truth About Cars The Truth About Cars » volvo v60 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/wp-content/themes/ttac-theme/images/logo.gif http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com Review: 2015.5 Volvo V60 Cross Country (with video) http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/review-2015-5-volvo-v60-cross-country-video/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/04/review-2015-5-volvo-v60-cross-country-video/#comments Fri, 03 Apr 2015 13:00:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=1030617 Volvo may not have invented the wagon but no company has as much dedication to the practical cargo hauler as the Swedish brand. With the new V60 Cross Country they have expanded to six wagons world-wide (V40, V40 Cross Country, V60, V60 Cross Country, V70 and XC70). Wagon fans sad that Volvo isn’t bringing their […]

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2015.5 Volvo V60 Cross Country Exterior Side-004

Volvo may not have invented the wagon but no company has as much dedication to the practical cargo hauler as the Swedish brand. With the new V60 Cross Country they have expanded to six wagons world-wide (V40, V40 Cross Country, V60, V60 Cross Country, V70 and XC70). Wagon fans sad that Volvo isn’t bringing their smaller boxes to the USA may be relieved to know the V60 Cross Country is not replacing the V60. This means that for the first time in a long time, we have access to three Swedish wagons on our shores.

Exterior

Volvo is a company normally associated with safety and practicality. They are the comfy penny loafer of the luxury segment if you will. This Volvo is different. Rather than the boxy form-follows-function style we’re used to from Sweden, the V60 is more about style than practicality. The change is most noticeable in the rear where we get a hatch that is raked forward and a greenhouse that plunges and pinches toward the back. e still have a subtle hint of the Volvo “hips”, but the design has been smoothed and simplified since the 1999 S80 that started Volvo’s modern style.

For off-paved-road duty, Volvo jacked up V60’s ride height by 2.6 inches, added some silver trim here and there, swapped out the grille for a honeycomb-themed version and added some black wheel arches. Thus the oddly named V60 Cross Country was born. For reasons I don’t quite understand, the CC gets larger wheels (18-inch) narrower 50-series rubber. This should be your first hint that the CC is more soft-road than off-road focused. As you might expect from a car maker located in the north, the CC can be had with an electric heated windscreen ala Range Rover that speeds ice removal when the snowpocalypse returns. Perhaps it’s my preference towards wagons in general, but I think the the tweaks work on the CC, it retains the crisp style I appreciate on the V60 but adds just enough “rugged” style to differentiate it on the road.

2015.5 Volvo V60 Cross Country Interior.CR2

Interior

For those that haven’t shopped for a Volvo wagon in a while, the Swedes continue to shuffle model numbers around. Once upon a time the wagon variant of the S60 was the V70 and the off-road version was the XC70. Today however the V70 and XC70 are based on the S80 wagon. The V50 was once the wagon version of the smaller S40 leaving just V60 available. Sounds logical, right? So an off-road modified V60 would be a XC60. Oops, that already exists. So Volvo dusted off their older “Cross Country” nomenclature, the same trim that ostensibly got shortened to “XC” a while back. Confused yet?

The V60’s is on the small side for this segment and that’s most noticeable in the rear where we have less legroom than you’ll find in the A4 and BMW 3-Series wagons. This is the key reason that Volvo will be bringing their stretched S60 sedan to America next year, sadly there is no word of a matching V60L.  Front seat accommodations are spacious, but still offer a less room than the Germans. One thing Volvo has consistently excelled at however is seat comfort. Front and rear seats are well padded and extremely comfortable. All 2015.5 Volvo models finally ditch the lumbar support knob for a 2-way power variety which is welcome, but not as adjustable as the 4-way competition. In an interesting twist, all CC models get a variant of the S60 and V60’s sport seats which offer exaggerated bolstering on the back and bottom cushions. I like the feel, but if you’re a larger person you may find them a little narrow.

The cargo area is where we see the consequence of Volvo’s sexy side profile. Behind the curvaceous hatch sits half the cargo capacity of an XC60 at just 15.2 cubic feet. With the rear seats folded it expands to 43.5, about half of what you find in the XC70. The cargo space is small enough that even the questionably practical BMW X4 has a little more room in the back. Audi’s allroad slots between the XC70 and V60 Cross Country in overall dimensions and cargo capacity.

2015.5 Volvo Sensus Connect Infotainment Navigation-004

Infotainment

2015.5 doesn’t bring a larger screen or major UI changes to Volvo’s Sensus Connect but it does add a cell modem. The new “Connected” Sensus gives the driver access to online business searches, streaming media without a smartphone, OnStar-like telematics services (Volvo On Call) and access to Wikipedia. The service requires a data subscription to use the full range of services, but wisely Volvo decided to toss in a WiFi chipset so you can share your cell plan with passengers or use a paired smartphone for Sensus’ data connection if you’d rather not have another cell phone bill. Also along for the ride is a smartphone app to let you see if you locked your car, remote start the engine, or honk the horn and flash the lights if you’ve lost your car in the IKEA parking lot.

Volvo’s Sensus system continues to keep up with most of the entries in this segment by adding features to their snappy interface. The system is well laid out, intuitive, and oddly Volvo allows access to essentially everything while the vehicle is in motion. This allows passengers to enter information using the on-dash control-wheel without stopping the car. The driver can use the same knob, or a control wheel on the steering wheel to control system functions. The graphics, maps and voice commands aren’t quite as well done as iDrive and you can’t voice command your media library as you can in an Acura or Lincoln, but it is competitive with A3’s and allroad’s MMI and COMAND in the CLA and GLA.

2015.5 Volvo V60 Cross Country Engine 2.5L 5-Cylinder-002

Drivetrain

Volvo’s slick 300HP turbocharged/supercharged engine is sadly incompatible with the V60’s AWD system. (The output to the rear axle is located in a different spot and would require modifications to the chassis.)  As a result, all 2015.5 Volvos with AWD use the company’s trued and true 5 and 6-cylinder engines and older 6-speed automatic. For CC duty, Volvo limits your engine choice to just the 250 HP 2.5L 5-cylinder engine which can crank out up to 295 lb-ft in overboost for a limited time. If you’d like Volvo’s smooth inline-6 turbo, you’ll have to step over to the regular V60 or the XC70. Thankfully Volvo chose to leave the anaemic 3.2L engine out of the V60’s engine compartment.

2015.5 beings new shift logic to the transaxle that significantly reduces shift time (and sacrifices some shift quality) when in “sport” mode. Despite receiving some efficiency tweaks a few years ago, the 2.5L’s fuel economy still lags behind the 3-Series wagon at 23 MPG combined. Sending power to the rear is the latest Haldex AWD system which can send up to 50% of the power to the rear axles at any time, and if wheel slip up front occurs the power transfer can exceed 90%.

2015.5 Volvo V60 Cross Country Exterior 18-inch Wheel

Drive

The new programming of the AWD and transmission in sport mode was instantly obvious behind the wheel compared to 2014 S60 T5 AWD I benchmarked back-to-back. The new AWD software  sends noticeably more power to the rear when flogging the CC on winding roads and  transmission shifts are considerably faster and firmer. The change in programming isn’t just about feel, it also took a quarter second off the 0-60 time without an increase in power. The Aisin 6-speed transaxle in Volvo’s product-line has always felt soft compared to the ZF 6-speeds that BMW and Audi used, but this software narrows the gap. The improved bundle scoots to 60 in 6.41 seconds, just under 3/10ths slower than a X4 xDrive28i (that review is coming up soon.)

With the V70 to XC70 transition the engineers softened the suspension, but they took a different path with the CC making this one of the firmer almost-crossover vehicles around. The suspension is more forgiving than the V60 R-Design, but significantly stiffer than the larger XC70 or the Audi allroad. This leads to impressive handling when compared to the allroad, XC70 or even the distant Subaru competition. Something along the lines of a BMW X4 or BMW 328i GT will feel more nimble without a doubt, but they are also significantly more expensive.

2015.5 Volvo V60 Cross Country Exterior

On the surface of things it would seem that the $41,000 V60 Cross Country commands a $4,000 premium over the V60, XC60 or XC70. That sounded logical to me at first, since BMW charges roughly the same to make the X3 less practical create the X4 from the X3. However, when you adjust for the standard AWD, 18-inch wheels, navigation, sport seats, LDS gauges, etc the CC actually ends up being slightly less than a comparable V60 and $1,500 less than the XC70 3.2. (Speaking of the XC70 and the 3.2, Volvo’s big wagon has a confusing engine line-up. Opt for FWD and you get their sweet four-cylinder turbo and new 8-speed auto. Get the middle-trim and you’re saddled with a wheezy naturally aspirated 3.2L engine, but pony up a little extra and you can get the same BMW-fighting twin-scroll turbo 3.0L engine as the V60 R-Design.)

Audi’s allroad is several thousand dollars more than the CC when similarly equipped and is even a slight premium over the XC70 despite being smaller. The rugged Audi handles well, but the Volvo weighs several hundred pounds less and that more than compensates for the less advantageous weight balance in the corners. While the BMW X4 and 3-Series GT may deliver superior handling, they also come with a superior price tag. A comparable X4 xDrive28i will set you back at least $8,000 more.

2015.5 Volvo V60 Cross Country Exterior-001

The Audi allroad and the Volvo XC70 are made for rural living with a Euro twist. The soft suspensions soak up poor pavement in the boonies, the AWD systems are sure-footed on dirt roads and you won’t bruise your kidneys if you decide to drive off the beaten path to check on your trendy alpaca herd. The V60 Cross Country has a different mission in mind. Like the X4 and 3-Series GT, this Volvo was made for folks that live down a short gravel road but drive on high-speed winding mountain roads for most of their commute. In other words, my demographic exactly.

Trouble is, as much fun as the Cross Country was to drive, and how perfectly it seemed tailored to my demographic, the XC60 or the XC70 make considerably more sense. Part of that has to do with the V60’s position as a “styling exercise” than a practical cargo hauler. The XC60 gives up less handling ability than you’d think with twice the cargo capacity and the XC70 gives you more thrust, more luxury, and, again: twice the cargo capacity. The 2015.5 V60 Cross Country is one of the best wagons ever sold in America, but I’d buy a XC70 T6 instead.

 

  Volvo provided the vehicle, insurance and one tank of gas for this review

Specifications as tested:

0-30: 2.5 Seconds

0-60: 6.41 Seconds

1/4 Mile:15 Seconds @ 92 MPH

Average Fuel Economy: 22 MPG

 

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Volvo Launches Successor To Subaru Outback SUS http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/volvo-launches-successor-subaru-outback-sus/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2015/01/volvo-launches-successor-subaru-outback-sus/#comments Thu, 08 Jan 2015 16:15:52 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=973953 The Volvo V60 Cross Country makes sense. But this? The S60 Cross Country, much like the former Subaru Outback SUS, is a sedan with the ride height of a crossover. Powered by a 2.5L 5-cylinder engine, the AWD sedan is probably not what Volvo needs to gain a bettert foothold in the U.S. market.  

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The Volvo V60 Cross Country makes sense. But this?

The S60 Cross Country, much like the former Subaru Outback SUS, is a sedan with the ride height of a crossover. Powered by a 2.5L 5-cylinder engine, the AWD sedan is probably not what Volvo needs to gain a bettert foothold in the U.S. market.

 

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Can’t Sell Your Wagon? Call It A Crossover http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/cant-sell-wagon-call-crossover/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/11/cant-sell-wagon-call-crossover/#comments Wed, 05 Nov 2014 16:39:22 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=941233 Faced with dismal sales of the Volvo V60, the Swedish auto maker has decided to adopt a time-tested strategy for boosting sales of slow-selling station wagons: turning it into a pseudo-crossover. Enter the 2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country. The V60 is sure to bring three things to the party All-wheel drive and a turbocharged 5-cylinder […]

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Volvo V60 Cross Country

Faced with dismal sales of the Volvo V60, the Swedish auto maker has decided to adopt a time-tested strategy for boosting sales of slow-selling station wagons: turning it into a pseudo-crossover.

Enter the 2015 Volvo V60 Cross Country. The V60 is sure to bring three things to the party

  1. All-wheel drive and a turbocharged 5-cylinder engine
  2. A minimally raised ride height and the most minor applications of dreaded “cladding”
  3. A cohort of malcontent enthusiasts and wagon fanboys ready to denounce it for betraying the Holy Crusade of Wagondom.

My own estimation of the V60 is that it’s a very nice car, but not a great station wagon, in the traditional sense of the word. If you want that, you ought to take a look at an XC70, which unfortunately, does not pass the Wahabbi-esque purity tests of the wagon jihadis (namely. no “cladding” and a marginally lower ride height, lest they be infected with the common-stock stench of crossover-dom). The fact that the XC70 soundly beats the V60 in terms of cargo and people carrying capacity is irrelevant. The wide world of wagons in America is about status signalling and ideological superiority, not the cold realities of dimensions and consumer tastes.

But I’m happy that Volvo is bringing out this model. There is no way that it won’t raise sales of the entire V60 range, which means that Volvo will make more money. And that might mean we get something like the V40 in the future. And that’s the compact wagon that I’ve been waiting for…

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Capsule Review: 2014 Volvo V60 T6 R-Design http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2014-volvo-v60-t6-r-design/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/capsule-review-2014-volvo-v60-t6-r-design/#comments Thu, 25 Sep 2014 20:45:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=919634 Is it really necessary to beat the dead horse again? We know that enthusiasts love wagons, demand more wagons, praise wagons and don’t buy wagons. We should be lucky we have any wagons left in our marketplace. The Audi A4 and Subaru Legacy wagons gave way to the Allroad and Outback, two jacked-up, cladding-encrusted faux-crossovers that […]

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2015-Volvo-V60-R-Design-side-profile

Is it really necessary to beat the dead horse again? We know that enthusiasts love wagons, demand more wagons, praise wagons and don’t buy wagons. We should be lucky we have any wagons left in our marketplace. The Audi A4 and Subaru Legacy wagons gave way to the Allroad and Outback, two jacked-up, cladding-encrusted faux-crossovers that are really just wagons by another name. Volvo did the same thing too, axing the V70 wagon while retaining the XC70. And then they relented.

2015-Volvo-V60-R-Design-rear-badge

Volvo is pitching the V60 as a “sport wagon” or a “lifestyle” vehicle, or anything but a station wagonIn terms of hauling people and cargo, the XC70 is more of a station wagon than the V60 is. At 182 inches long, the V60 is about 10 inches shorter than an XC70, and the XC70 has it beat in practically every interior dimension. Cargo capacity for the V60 is 43.8 cubic feet, compared to 72.1 for the XC70.

2015-Volvo-V60-R-Design-rear-seats

As we determined in our last review of the XC70, the oft-repeated trope that CUVs offer inferior driving dynamics compared to station wagons was dismissed – between an XC60 with the 4C active shocks and an XC70, it was a wash. The V6 has the advantage of being, on average, 300 lbs lighter than the XC60, and the performance tires on the R-Design amplifies whatever benefits the lighter weight and smaller footprint contributes to the V60’s dynamics.

2015-Volvo-V60-R-Design-infotainment-1

Of course, this is a Volvo, so don’t expect crisp, Germanic responses or the last word in steering feel and feedback. The V60 gives you enough rope to have some fun on twisty back roads or cloverleaf interchanges, but between the all-wheel drive system, the electronic nannies and the understeer-oriented chassis, there’s never enough to hang yourself. Much like the S60 that it’s based on, the V60 is best drive at a relaxed to moderately spirited pace.

2015-Volvo-V60-R-Design-headlight-2

Lesser V60s can be had with boosted 4 and 5 cylinder engines, but the R-Design features a 3.0L straight-six (transversely mounted), making 300 horsepower and 325 lb-ft of torque. With a broad, fairly flat torque curve, the Volvo’s engine delivers lots of usable power throughout the rev range. A hint of lag is the tradeoff for a brawny motor that doesn’t run out of breath at higher RPMs, much like today’s lesser crop of boosted mills tend to do, though the biggest letdown is the dated 6-speed automatic, which is on its own, more relaxed work schedule.

2015-Volvo-V60-R-Design-drivers

The V60’s interior is an oasis from the over-complicated, touch screen and leatherette-laden cabins of many German competitors. Volvo is still all-in on buttons and knobs, while the climate control system incorporates a hand diagram of a seated human that can direct airflow to various regions of your body. The infotainment system is simple to use and can be navigated while driving without becoming overly distracted. The stereo is crisp and clear while the front seats are some of the best in the business. When wrecked V60s start appear in junkyards, I’ll be harvesting one of the front seats to turn into my next office chair.

2015-Volvo-V60-R-Design-trunk-space

Where the V60 starts to fall apart is in, well, being a wagon. There’s not a ton of room for rear seat passengers, and the swoopy, coupe-like silhouette and compact footprint lend the wagon an undersized cargo area. Two adults could each pack a suitcase for a weekend visit, but this is not the Volvo wagon of yore where a whole family’s worth of luggage, people and pets could be stuffed in and taken away on summer vacation. For that, you’ll need to XC70, or one of Volvo’s crossovers.

$51,775 is a lot of coin simply for the privilege of having a cool looking station wagon that isn’t exactly great at fulfilling the promises of a station wagon. You don’t need to be Tim Cain to understand that it’s not the most potent recipe for sales success.

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Volvo provided the car, insurance and one tank of gas for the review. Photos courtesy of Autoguide.com

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Even Volvo Buyers Don’t Buy Wagons http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/even-volvo-buyers-dont-buy-wagons/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/09/even-volvo-buyers-dont-buy-wagons/#comments Wed, 17 Sep 2014 12:11:45 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=911138 You didn’t think the V60 was going to save Volvo, and it hasn’t. The job of saving Volvo in North America will be left up to the next XC90, a nameplate which accounted for 28% of Volvo USA sales in 2004, but just 9% so far this year. The hope was that the V60 would […]

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Volvo V60 wagon redYou didn’t think the V60 was going to save Volvo, and it hasn’t.

The job of saving Volvo in North America will be left up to the next XC90, a nameplate which accounted for 28% of Volvo USA sales in 2004, but just 9% so far this year.

The hope was that the V60 would show loyalists that Volvo is still in the wagon business, that Volvo is still Volvo. However, the owner of a one child/two dog V50 may not yet have even noticed one of the new wagons on roadways, as only 9% of the Volvos sold in the United States so far this year have been V60 wagons.

XC70 included, 17% of the Volvos sold this year have been wagons. Fortunately, that figure is up from 7% during the first eight months of 2013. But the overall Volvo free fall has continued regardless, as total eight-month volume has tumbled by nearly 5000 units, an 11% decline.

Clearly, America doesn’t possess a European-like level of fondness for wagons. S60 sedan sales are down 15% in 2014, but Volvo still sells more than four S60s for every single V60.

Before the XC60 crowded in, wagons were playing a diminished role in Volvo showrooms. From 31% in 2000, 34% in 2001, 30% in 2002, Volvo’s wagon responsibility in the U.S. fell to 24% in 2003, 22% in 2004 and 2005, 20% in 2006, 18% in 2007, and 20% in 2008. The XC60 joined the lineup in 2009, eating into the slice of the pie owned by the XC70, V70, and V50, chopping it down to just 16%. That figure perked up to 17% in 2010 then tumbled to 9% in 2011 and 8% in 2012, by which time the contributions of the V50 and V70 had ceased.

If Volvo was simply transitioning as a company away from wagons, these figures wouldn’t be concerning in the least.

Volvo was not transitioning in the U.S. market. The brand was simply crumbling. Year-over-year volume declined in 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2013. Volvo’s U.S. volume fell 56% between 2004 and 2013.

Volvo wagon car sales chartIt’s not as though a fleet of wagons would have completely saved the day. Other automakers sell very few copies of their wagons, too. Only 15% of the Acura TSXs sold in 2012, just 4234 units, were wagons. Audi sold 4367 A4 Allroads in the final eight months of 2012, 5386 in all of 2013, and year-over-year Allroad sales have declined 19% to just 2961 units year-to-date. Jetta SportWagen sales slid 6% to 22,534 units last year, less than one-sixth the total achieved by the Jetta sedan.

True, dealers don’t keep boatloads of wagons in their inventory, but why would they? Wagon buyers are few and far between.

The C30 and C70 have been cancelled, XC70 volume is down 3% this year, and sales of the S60, S80, XC60, and XC90 are all sliding, 15%, 3%, 13%, and 29%, respectively. Adding the V60 to Volvo’s lineup hasn’t been nearly enough to stymie the persistent declines generated by the rest of the brand’s lineup.

Not that you thought it would.

Timothy Cain is the founder of GoodCarBadCar.net, which obsesses over the free and frequent publication of U.S. and Canadian auto sales figures.

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Volvo V60 Polestar To Bow In Chicago http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/volvo-v60-polestar-to-bow-in-chcagio/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2014/02/volvo-v60-polestar-to-bow-in-chcagio/#comments Sat, 01 Feb 2014 20:24:03 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=730706   I thought I preferred the subtlety of the brown XC70 Polestar I tested back in September. I was wrong. With 350 horsepower and all-wheel drive, this must be the most desirable wagon offered for sale on our shores, even without a manual transmission. Press days for the show run from Thursday, February 6th to […]

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I thought I preferred the subtlety of the brown XC70 Polestar I tested back in September. I was wrong. With 350 horsepower and all-wheel drive, this must be the most desirable wagon offered for sale on our shores, even without a manual transmission. Press days for the show run from Thursday, February 6th to Friday, February 7th. Check back at TTAC for more debuts.

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Volvo Revives The Wagon With Three Different Powertrains http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/09/volvo-revives-the-wagon-with-three-different-powertrains/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/09/volvo-revives-the-wagon-with-three-different-powertrains/#comments Fri, 13 Sep 2013 14:03:23 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=517353 Starting in January of 2014, consumers will be able to buy a real wagon again from Volvo. The brand will re-introduce the V60 “sports wagon”, with a lineup of 4, 5 and 6-cylinder turbocharged engines, with the 4-cylinder motors eventually filtering down to the rest of the lineup. At launch, Volvo’s current family of turbocharged […]

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Starting in January of 2014, consumers will be able to buy a real wagon again from Volvo. The brand will re-introduce the V60 “sports wagon”, with a lineup of 4, 5 and 6-cylinder turbocharged engines, with the 4-cylinder motors eventually filtering down to the rest of the lineup.

At launch, Volvo’s current family of turbocharged inline-5 and inline-6 engines will be offered, but the V60 will be the first to get the new family of 4-cylinder engines as well. The standard 2.0L version will make 240 horsepower, while reaching 60 mph in 6.1 seconds and achieving 29 mpg on the highway. A hotter version, which will use a turbocharger and a supercharger, will pack 302 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque. Both 4-cylinder engines will be paired with an 8-speed automatic, while the carryover engines will use the current 6-speed ‘box. No manual will be offered.

Interestingly, Volvo claims that any growth in sales from the V60 will be “incremental”. This suggests that the V60’s return is as much a brand building exercise as much as a way to grow volume. After all, what is Volvo without a wagon?

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Volvo Station Wagon Delights Derek’s Parents, Gives CAFE The Middle Finger http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/volvo-station-wagon-gives-cafe-the-middle-finger/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/07/volvo-station-wagon-gives-cafe-the-middle-finger/#comments Mon, 08 Jul 2013 12:20:14 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=494518   What you’re looking at here is A big “F U” to CAFE regulations Very likely the next vehicle my parents buy When Volvo killed off the V70 wagon in 2010, it marked a turning point for the brand; how could Volvo continue on without its signature product, the station wagon? It seemed as absurd […]

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What you’re looking at here is

  1. A big “F U” to CAFE regulations
  2. Very likely the next vehicle my parents buy

When Volvo killed off the V70 wagon in 2010, it marked a turning point for the brand; how could Volvo continue on without its signature product, the station wagon? It seemed as absurd as the idea of a Caterham crossover.

Crossovers, even those like the XC70 which had a slightly higher ride height and some cladding, were much more advantageous to get around CAFE loopholes (and could be sold at a higher profit). In most cases, car makers are better off selling pseudo-crossovers to their customers for these reasons, as wagons tend to linger on showroom floors and then command a premium on the used market (for more on that see the 2005 Subaru Legacy GT).

Not so with Volvo. The much-rumored scuttlebutt was that many longtime Volvo customers were unhappy that the faux-crossover XC lineup was all that was available to replace their wagons. Enter the V60. It’s a compact station wagon with a couple of I6 powerplants (likely for North America) that are likely not terribly efficient. Volvo will pay dearly for this in terms of CAFE, but we should applaud their guile. We may get a diesel or a plug-in hybrid powertrain option, but I’m holding out for a Polestar-tuned T6 and AWD.

One can only imagine that dealers were screaming for this car, and now Volvo has sent out this tweet confirming its stateside launch. Although Volvo sales have been on the up-and-up, they’ve never really recovered from the best years when Volvo had some strong wagon offerings. My cynicism towards the commercial viability of this bodystyle may be well documented, but if any auto maker needs to offer one, it’s Volvo. Wagons are the heart and soul of the Volvo brand.

I suspect this product will have a wide open niche, now that Audi no longer offers an A4 Avant. There are enough buyers out there who will want to buy any premium wagon that is not a BMW 3-Series. My parents are a prime example, though they ended up buying a 2011 Volvo XC60 T6. They’ve had their eye on the European market V40 for some time, but the V60 T6 would be just the ticket to replace the XC.

 

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Volvo Revives The Wagon http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/volvo-revives-the-wagon/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2013/03/volvo-revives-the-wagon/#comments Wed, 27 Mar 2013 14:38:39 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=482489 After suffering from a temporary bout of insanity, Volvo is reviving the station wagon. Starting in 2014, the V60 will be sold to American consumers, though specifications have not been announced. Expect the 3.0L turbocharged inline six and the boosted 2.5L 5-cylinder engine to appear.

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After suffering from a temporary bout of insanity, Volvo is reviving the station wagon. Starting in 2014, the V60 will be sold to American consumers, though specifications have not been announced. Expect the 3.0L turbocharged inline six and the boosted 2.5L 5-cylinder engine to appear.

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Volvo XC60 Plug-In Hybrid: Because Wagons Don’t Play In Peoria http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/volvo-xc60-plug-in-hybrid-because-wagons-dont-play-in-peoria/ http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/2012/01/volvo-xc60-plug-in-hybrid-because-wagons-dont-play-in-peoria/#comments Wed, 04 Jan 2012 17:51:48 +0000 http://www.thetruthaboutcars.com/?p=424266 There was ample hand-wringing when Volvo announced the death of their iconic station wagon in North America. While enthusiasts mourned the death of a cult classic, Volvo also announced a plug-in hybrid version of their V60 wagon, powered by a diesel engine and a hybrid drivetrain. Naturally, this vehicle was not destined for sale in […]

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There was ample hand-wringing when Volvo announced the death of their iconic station wagon in North America. While enthusiasts mourned the death of a cult classic, Volvo also announced a plug-in hybrid version of their V60 wagon, powered by a diesel engine and a hybrid drivetrain. Naturally, this vehicle was not destined for sale in North America.

The non-available V60 plug-in constituted the ultimate slap in the face for the Volvo faithful. Here was the newest generation of Volvo wagon (as opposed to the warmed over XC70 offered recently) with an environmental bent and the Euro-cachet of a diesel engine – but where was it? As Jamie Kitman of Automobile magazine rightfully pointed out, their core buyer is “green” but refusing to import such a vehicle may not be “lunacy”, because the Swedes have something more suited for American tastes – the same hybrid goodness, packaged as a gasoline-powered crossover.

Rather than the V60 diesel-hybrid, North Americans are being treated to a plug-in hybrid based on the XC60. Set to be unveiled at the North American International Auto Show next week, the XC60 plug-in will use a 280 horsepower 4-cylinder gasoline engine and a 70 horsepower electric motor for a total output of 350 horsepower. The gasoline engine will drive the front wheels, while the electric motor will power the rear wheels. Volvo claims that the vehicle can be driven in electric mode for up to 35 miles and return up to 50 mpg. Stefan Jacoby, Volvo’s CEO, noted that the gasoline powered version will be an important car for China and Russia as well as the United States, as this likely has as much to do with the crossover body style as it does the gasoline engine.

On a personal note, my folks bought an XC60 T6 this summer, and I have spent ample time in it. While perpetually ignored in the marketplace, the XC60 is a car I’m fond of, with a powerful engine, a well-appointed cabin and good driving dynamics. At the time of purchase, I urged my parents to look at the XC70 T6, but it cost a few thousand dollars more and offered little appreciable difference to them. If a couple of upper-middle class car enthusiasts saw little value in opting for a wagon over a crossover, then what chance would a station wagon have with more conventional buyers, who are likely to be even more image-conscious and resistant to the idea of a wagon? On the other hand, my parents have a 5.4 mile commute through a downtown core to their office, and something like this would be right up their alley. Hopefully pricing won’t be so exorbitant that it cancels out any economic benefit for buying the XC60 plug-in.

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