Capsule Review: 2014 Volvo V60 T6 R-Design

Derek Kreindler
by Derek Kreindler

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.

Volvo is pitching the V60 as a “sport wagon” or a “lifestyle” vehicle, or anything but a station wagon. In 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.

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.

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.

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.

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.

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

Derek Kreindler
Derek Kreindler

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  • JohnnyFirebird JohnnyFirebird on Sep 26, 2014

    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.

    • Jkross22 Jkross22 on Sep 26, 2014

      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.

  • Stingray65 Stingray65 on Sep 26, 2014

    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.

  • Golden2husky Have to say he did an excellent job on the C7, especially considering the limited budget he was given. I am very happy with my purchase.
  • Marty The problem isn't range; it's lack of electricity in multi-unit building parking. All you need is level 1 - a standard 120v wall socket - and if you're plugged in 10 hours overnight you get 280 miles per week or more. That's enough for most folks but you can use public charging to supplement when needed. Installing conduit circuits and outlets is simple and cheap; no charge stations needed.
  • 2manyvettes Tadge was at the Corvette Corral at the Rolex 24 hour sports car race at the end of January 2023. During the Q&A after his remarks someone stood up and told him "I will never buy an electric Corvette." His response? "I will never sell you an electric Corvette." Take that Fwiw.
  • Socrates77 They're pinching pennies for the investors like always, greed has turned GM into a joke of an old corporate American greed.
  • Analoggrotto looking at this takes me right back to the year when “CD-ROM” first entered public lexicon
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