By on September 25, 2014

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.

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

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59 Comments on “Capsule Review: 2014 Volvo V60 T6 R-Design...”


  • avatar
    28-Cars-Later

    That’s a hatchback not a wagon.

    • 0 avatar
      bball40dtw

      This.

      I see you Volvo, trying to peddle a $50K smushed Mondeo hatchback. It isn’t going to work. I’ve seen the Mondeo wagon, and this is not it.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Yup and that’s ok if what you’re really after is a psedo-luxury hatch, i.e. this over a Focus 5 or TSX over Fit or if Honda offered a Civic 5 (offered in most other countries), or whatever hatch Lexus sells now over something like a Subaru Crosstrek.

    • 0 avatar
      sirwired

      Yep; the fact that it looks vaguely wagon-like doesn’t make up for the fact that it has less cargo room behind the rear seats than a Honda Fit.

    • 0 avatar
      Fred

      What ever you want to call it, at least it has a usable trunk. You can’t fit much thru those short deck lids on modern sedans.

      • 0 avatar
        28-Cars-Later

        Depends on the sedan (and also what you consider “modern”).

        • 0 avatar
          Fred

          Is there a sedan that I can fit a 3 foot box into or a medium size chair, let’s say made in the last 10 years? I often found trunks were large enough to handle those items, I just couldn’t get them in.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            I’d have to measure but my 08 Grand Prix has a fairly sizeable trunk. I routinely carry one to two golf bags, costco groceries, and a milk crate of cleaning chemicals all at the same time.

          • 0 avatar
            onyxtape

            I sometimes take my G37 sedan to Costco runs. The trunk lid looks narrow and everything, but with a bit of nudging and creative angling, I always get $300-$400 worth of Costco foods and goods in the trunk. Though many times, I have to use up one of the passenger seats as well. So the trunks are less useful than in the past, but not by THAT much.

            But given the choice, I take my Outback there instead.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            @onyxtape

            I don’t quite get the narrow trunk design on most of the newer coupes and sedans. I like to lay my golf bag in horizontally and both my old and current Pontiac (N and W body) accomplished this with ease. I haven’t tried it but just looking at the Buick Regal I wonder what they were smoking when they styled the trunk to be so narrow I couldn’t put my bag in horizontally.

          • 0 avatar
            anti121hero

            Ford crown vic

        • 0 avatar
          Ryoku75

          I don’t get the narrow trunkshatch openings myself, styling draws people in but practicality issues can easy turn them off.

          • 0 avatar
            Fred

            I could not get this 22 x 20 x 31 inches lawn chair into the trunk of a 2013 Camry.
            http://www.amazon.com/Adams-Chair-Resin-Patio-Chairs/dp/B000GD8LU2/ref=sr_1_7?ie=UTF8&qid=1411685994&sr=8-7&keywords=green+plastic+lawn+chair
            I judged every sedan I shopped by if I could get this chair into the trunk. I ended up getting a TSX SW.

  • avatar
    Ryoku75

    “I’ll be harvesting one of the front seats to turn into my next office chair”

    Not if I get their first! Just got an 850 sedan and its begging for new seats!

    The whole wagon-fascination does bug me though, we demand wagons, shooting brakes, and Volvo has supplied a few in the last decade like the C30 and now this, and yet we never brought them.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      I actually did that with a blue seat from an MY89 Seville. I also have a tan colored seat from an MY87 Deville, but its not mounted to anything at the moment.

      What happened to the Accord?

      • 0 avatar
        Ryoku75

        The Accord was an impulse buy on my part. Driving it I could tell that the suspension was going to need work, it had hail damage galore via cheap metal, it rode too low for my liking, it was just overall a boring car that I didn’t want to mess with.

        On top of that one of the original owners at one point took apart the center console to get a new radio in. At the same time they never put it back together right so there were plastic stubs missing everywhere, a few missing screws, the radio itself was held in just by the wiring and couldn’t pick up any stations.

        It wasn’t a bad car, just dull with a questionable history behind it.
        But then again I’ve never seen a used Honda that WAS properly taken care of.

        The 850’s required some work to get it to pass emissions but once I’ve finished the “drive cycle” everything should be fine. Mercifully its entirely stock.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Good to see you back in the fold but 850 is one of those hit or miss things in my experience. Fortunately Brickboard is a great resource. Which model year is it?

          • 0 avatar
            Ryoku75

            Its a ’96 GLT non-turbo, all of the fancy electric things still work surprisingly. Came with previous owner records and other stuff.

            When I brought it I knew that their record was a bit spotty, but then again its the same for 240s from what I know.

            It was either that or a P71 police car which around here would’ve cost more, more than likely required more work in the long run, and you end up with an interior akin to a rental Aveo.

            I dunno if I’d recommend an Accord unless if you can find a low mileage EX, just make sure that its bone stock too.

          • 0 avatar
            28-Cars-Later

            If that’s a 5-spd GLT I think you did quite well for yourself (although the turbo isn’t “bad” I prefer N/A in the 2.4 FWD). If its an auto check the trans fluid and let’s hope its not black. The 850 auto or no can be made to do well over 200K because I see them frequently with such mileage, its just not as easy or cheap to do so as with a RWD.

            Check for these too:

            http://www.ipdusa.com/blogs/105/top-10-most-common-problems-with-1993-2000-850-c70-s70-and-v70-models

    • 0 avatar
      elimgarak

      because they aren’t offered for 25k and japanese reliability.

      Remember, the credo isn’t just brown, awd, diesel wagon under 3000lbs with a manual.

      It also stipulates that the price should be 25k or under with lexus reliability.

  • avatar

    What’s the point of a 300hp wagon if the thing takes turns like a 2CV?

  • avatar
    heavy handle

    I think the reason they’re not selling is the fact that they don’t have a $50,000 interior. It’s just a sea of greys and off-blacks with seemingly very little design effort.

    Volvo must agree with me at some level since the new XC-90 has a much better interior, at least in the press photos.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      It might be a mitigating factor, I’d say there is a limited market for a small, expensive, pseudo-luxury hatchback that isn’t ZOMG ITS A LIFTED UP FAKE TRUCK. The TSX Wagon is evidence of this.

  • avatar
    superchan7

    Loaded models are never a good ownership value. Try the base 2.0T with one or so option package, it comes out to $38k MSRP.

    For a premium wagon, that’s not too bad.

  • avatar
    SCE to AUX

    The interior space (except for the wagon trunk) is surprisingly similar to my Leaf – guess I thought a wagon should be bigger.

    From a distance, I still admire the fact that someone can build a transverse I-6, and this engine always gets good reviews.

  • avatar
    raresleeper

    So 51K for a not quite wagon/CUV mish-mash with excellent seats and “polite” road manners.

    Hold on… $51,XXX??

    Okay, it’s got 300 horse. But… what doesn’t? Especially at that price point??

    Golden question: zero to 60 in 6+ seconds or sub 6 seconds?

    Oh Volvo. I want to look at you. I want to love you.

    But I don’t.

    There is something about those damned seats. Four years ago I went to the St. Louis International Auto Show downtown. I sat in a (?? who knows) Volvo wagon and the seats were to DIE for. I was converted at that point to exceptional Volvo seat support and comfort. Some things never change.

    But no, Volvo, I still don’t love you. Sad.

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      “Okay, it’s got 300 horse. But… what doesn’t? Especially at that price point??”

      I thought to myself if the T5 is still multiport I’m impressed but alas no, direct injection. I agree as you point out, 300hp is nothing to brag about at the price point.

      • 0 avatar
        raresleeper

        And, I’m quite certain, 28, that the fit and finish of the interior is impeccable.

        But still can’t justify 50 large.

        Diggin’ the simplistic nature of the controls, too, but- meh.

        Needs more performance. Needs more excitement.

        Needs a better price point, too.

        Volvo’s a “nice” car. But there’s lots of “nice” cars for that kind of coin.

        Yaawwwwn.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Volvo over time (say 1964 to now) has literally had to find creative ways to repackage the sames car over and over. In its more recent history 1980 to present, Volvo has only used nine platforms: 200, 300 (Europe only), 400 (Europe only), 700, 900, 850, P2, P1 (Ford C1), and Y20 (Ford EUCD). Its worth noting 300 was actually a DAF designed car prior to Volvo acquiring the DAF car division, and 900 was a rework of the 700, so drop it to seven and if you’re looking for true “Volvo designed” lose P1 and Y20 as they are Ford platforms with Volvo “input”. Forty years, nine platforms, and only five 100% “authentic Volvo”. The current V60 platform, Y20, is shared with S60, S80, V70, and XC60. So in other words, sexy or sporty it is not. I suppose they thought, we’ll make it a hatch and then try to attract hatchback buyers, rich hatchback buyers who don’t care about performance or technology.

      • 0 avatar
        jefmad

        28, the T5 AWD still has the inline 5 with multiport. It is just the front wheel drive models that have the direct injected 4. Volvo has not yet packaged the new 2.0 liter 4 banger with AWD in any vehicle.

        • 0 avatar
          28-Cars-Later

          Thanks for the info. In my future used Volvo buying I would prefer tried and true multiport without the carbon buildup issues.

          Evidently the 3.0/3.2 I6 still in use by Volvo also appear to be multiport.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ford_SI6_engine

  • avatar
    krhodes1

    This doesn’t sell not because it is a wagon, as it’s sedan sibling doesn’t sell either. It costs too much, and it is too small for what it is supposed to be. $51K gets you a VERY nicely equipped 328i or 328d wagon, which is MUCH roomier.

    And which German competitors have touchscreens exactly? I believe the answer is none of them, as the Germans all have variations on iDrive and no touchscreens once you get past VW. MAYBE the A3 still uses a VW display, I have not been in a new one of those.

  • avatar
    juicy sushi

    I get that the car is imperfect, but I was looking at a black S60 in traffic the other day and was thinking to myself “damn, that really is a good looking 4-door.” Probably one of the best on the market right now. Some company looking for design talent on the cheap should steal Volvo’s guys away quick, it’s not like it couldn’t help an awful lot of other companies who seem to have forgotten how to design good looking cars.

  • avatar
    Mandalorian

    $51k will get you a BRAND NEW Q7. This little Volvo wagon is a massive RIPOFF.

  • avatar
    natrat

    sounded cool until that 51k number, wow

  • avatar
    wmba

    What, are even Swedes scared to look out at the world from their cars these days? That side view shows
    windows even smaller than an Evoque, I swear.

    Maybe it’ll handle better with the new four cylinder, and a bit less weight on the front end.

    Otherwise, meh. I blame Peter Horsbury – he’s the designer who first started putting curves on Volvos and removed their USP.

  • avatar
    SaltyDog

    There is something missing…..the third pedal. Why can’t I buy a Volvo with a manual transmission? I know, I’m a dinosaur and the new-fangled paddle shifters are probably better for performance….but in my opinion, a sports car with an automatic is like a milk bucket under a bull. It just isn’t right. Volvo – please give me the option for a 6-speed MTX!

  • avatar
    brettc

    So I bought my Jetta Sportwagen because of the ease of getting things into it and because I’m a weirdo that likes diesel wagons. The JSW’s cargo capacity with the seats down is 66.9 cubic feet, while the Volvo’s capacity is 43 cubic feet. The V60 costs a lot more than a Jetta/Golf wagon and it has less space, so what’s the point? I looked at a V60 on a Sunday a few months ago. It’s a nice looking car, but there’s no room and the prices are crazy.

    Maybe it’ll be something to pick up in 5-8 years when they’re at used Phaeton prices but for now, no thanks.

  • avatar
    CoreyDL

    The problem with the V60 is the existence of the XC70. It’s larger, better equipped, has a practical/usable rear area, is a real wagon, has AWD, a nicer interior. And it escapes a “ugh wagon” image by being a wagon/cross.

    AND COSTS LESS.

    Per MSN Autos, new MSRP:
    V60: $35,300 – $47,300
    XC70: $35,400 – $45,650

    • 0 avatar
      28-Cars-Later

      Great point. The existence of the XC60 also calls into question why V60 is a “thing”.

    • 0 avatar
      jdowmiller

      One can also order the XC70 with the Polestar option if one were so inclined. There is one on the lot here in Nashville as I write. These are very nice vehicles – mother in law has one and I’ve ridden in it many times. The XC70 and V60 are very different rides though. The XC70 is huuuuge and ponderous – a luxurious barge. V60 isn’t exactly a sports wagon but it’s size difference provides a different experience. I suppose that would explain Volvo’s decision to produce it. Not everyone wants to drive a tank.

      • 0 avatar
        CoreyDL

        Right. But if you’re emphasizing “sport” that much, you’d want a more responsive transmission and better driving dynamics. And you aren’t allowed to complain about lack of space if you’re talking sport. This thing is in a sporty wrapper, but you open it up and notice it’s filled with pudding.

        Might as well get the full banana cream pie and go with the XC70.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnnyFirebird

      Right now you can lease a V60 for much less than an XC70, but financing and cash they’re equivalent. While the V60 is a better looking car I just really love the XC70. For a 8 year old design it’s aged very nicely, and is damn cool with the adaptive TFT display. They’re also the most reliable model Volvo has on the market.

  • avatar
    jdowmiller

    Loads of negativity here from “enthusiasts” who demand sporty wagons. Not sure why. These are very nice vehicles with incredibly comfortable interiors. The price seems a bit steep to me though. However, this is an absolute top of the line model and also appears to have the Polestar option as evidenced by the blue emblem on the hatch which actually brings the hp up to 325 and torque to 350. I am unaware of a competitor that has as much as power for the same price.

    • 0 avatar
      JohnnyFirebird

      Yup, it is sub 6 seconds with that package, I believe. The lack of a manual is a big issue for enthusiasts here, but given the limited amount of V60s sold it wasn’t feasible. Personally I hope it comes back to North America, most of the C30s and V50s sold here were manuals.

  • avatar
    JohnnyFirebird

    You’re killing me, guys! We’re doing well with the V60 and got one spec’d exactly as reviewed yesterday. These are nice cars that are really only uncompetitive with the Germans in leasing interest rates – cash or financing Volvos are cheaper, but when it comes to leasing the Germans are giving these things away.

    I’d much rather drive a V60 than a 328i Touring, but Volvo pays my bills and keeps my lights on, so yeah, I’m biased.

    As a used manager in 2 years when I get the first off-lease ones I think they’re not going to stick around for long – used will have prices (and a CPO warranty) equivalent to similar Mazdas and Hondas and be a pretty awesome buy. Plus, as noted, they aren’t selling in huge numbers so lease returns will be limited.

    • 0 avatar
      jkross22

      Johnny,

      That sticker price is really shocking. I’m a wagon guy PLUS my wife drives an XC90. I should be sporting a tent at this, but it’s gonna take a vat of those little blue pills for me to get too excited about an albeit loaded wagon exceeding 50k.

      Just like our XC, the original sticker price seems to be for entertainment purposes only.

  • avatar
    stingray65

    I believe the pricing reflects a “wagon” premium that is also used at BMW, where true wagons are more expensive than larger CUVs sharing many of the same mechanical bits. The V60 is more expensive than the XC70, the BMW 328i wagon is more expensive than an X1 or X3. Since CUVs have taken most of the traditional wagon and body on frame SUV market, the makers of those less preferred types have jacked up prices because there are still some people out there that will pay almost anything to get the wagon or SUV they really want/need. Thus volume has been replaced by premium prices.

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