By on February 21, 2018

Volvo simultaneously took a trip down memory lane while keeping its eyes on The Future™ when it unveiled the new V60 this week. Remember when Volvo was synonymous with practical wagon-based transportation for upstanding middle-class families? Those days are here again; but they are also gone, as the brand has transformed itself by offering models with exquisite styling, improved performance, and gobs of tech.

These are no longer nice square cars for nice square people. They’re sex machines intended for people who want to make a statement about who they are — and may happen to have children. But Volvo hasn’t abandoned its recipe entirely. It’s still a bit of an odd duck as European manufacturers go, and it’s still building desirable station wagons.

While many of them border on the crossover category, the company has stuck with estate cars, the V90 being the biggest jewel in that particular crown. The new V60 is essentially a scaled-down and more affordable version of that model. In fact, you’d be hard pressed to tell them apart without careful inspection. 

It’s also a luxury vehicle and not one of the ultra-practical hatchbacks Volvo was once known for. That’s probably okay because most people interested in loading up their vehicle with lumber will probably choose an SUV or crossover, anyway. It will still definitely be more utilitarian than the brand’s sedans, but the sportback design is intended for style, not maximizing interior volume.

Whether or not this translates to improved sales in North America is anybody’s guess. Volvo’s wagons remain popular in Europe but haven’t done so well in the United States lately. The outgoing V60 only saw 4,429 deliveries in the U.S. for 2017, while the S60 sedan managed 11,358. The V90 is even rarer, being available only by special order from Volvo dealers.

Alright, so we have a semi-practical luxury wagon existing within a niche market. Why the hell would Volvo think America’s middle-class would be interested?

Well, in addition to the vastly improved styling and a rather luxurious interior, the automaker outfitted the new V60 with some heavy tech updates and numerous engine options, including one that produces 390 horsepower. Of course, the standard model uses the automaker’s 250-horsepower 2.0-liter T5 powerplant driving only the front wheels. But it can be upgraded to the turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter T6 with all-wheel drive and 316 ponies. The engines are also separated by the Momentum and Inscription trim levels — the latter of which adds loads of exterior detailing, fancier wheels, additional digital driver aids, and a 12.3-inch instrument cluster. However, both get the panoramic roof and plenty of standard tech.

Europe will also see the V60 available as a 390-horsepower variant or plug-in hybrid. There is also a new 340-hp version available. While Volvo hasn’t confirmed either of these engines for North America, the company was also very careful avoided saying they wouldn’t eventually make their way here. In fact, we’d say it’s a pretty safe bet to assume they will.

The company also wants to make sure we’re aware it upgraded its Pilot Assist system. The adaptive cruise suite now supports steering, braking, and accelerating inputs at speeds up to 80 mph. Its City Safety automatic braking system now tries to mitigate oncoming collisions.

Production of the 2019 V60 should begin posthaste in Sweden and Belgium, as South Carolina gears up to produce its sedan sibling later this year. The new S60 will be unveiled sometime in the middle of 2018, while the V60 will make its physical debut at the Geneva Motor Show this March.

Pricing and additional details should be announced closer to the vehicle’s official delivery date. Volvo did say the V60 will be available in the U.S. via the Care by Volvo subscription payment plan launched last year alongside the XC40 SUV. The subscription service covers everything (except fuel) through monthly payments, and customers can choose to swap into a new Volvo after the first year. Obviously, you can still finance or lease the vehicle as well.

[Images: Volvo Cars]

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