Familiar, Outside and In
Some 5 inches longer than its predecessor but still about 7 inches short of Volvo’s largest wagon, the V90, the V60 follows the S60 sedan and XC60 SUV with horizontal lines and sleek Thor’s hammer headlights. Inside and out, the family resemblance means you might mistake a V60 for a larger V90. Both wagons carry themes similar to what Volvo introduced with the current XC90, Cars.com’s Best of 2016 recipient. Given how well Volvo’s current styling has aged, I’m glad it stayed the course.
The V60’s cabin features the same tech-focused minimalism of Volvo’s other cars. The automaker’s now-familiar 9-inch vertical touchscreen is standard, as are Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. Volvo puts too many functions onscreen rather than having separate physical controls — I’d prefer a dedicated tuning knob and separate climate dials, for example — but the menus are intuitive and touchscreen response is fast, bolstered by a faster processor for all 2019 Volvos.
Some of our editors bemoaned the prominent center console that’s native to the S60 and V60, which has decent storage provisions but space-inhibiting bulk. It’s also shod in hard plastic, not the padding many cars now employ — a letdown among otherwise good cabin materials.
The backseat has decent legroom but a low seating position for adults — yet, despite that, only modest headroom below the standard panoramic moonroof. Still, available amenities abound: Outboard passengers can get their own heated seats, plus climate control with air vents on the back of the center console and B-pillars. One more traditional Volvo convenience: Drivers can flip down the backseat head restraints via the touchscreen, a boon for rear visibility. Parents of small children, meanwhile, should note the V60’s top scores in Cars.com’s Car Seat Check.
Volvo reports 23.2 cubic feet of cargo space behind the rear seats. Manufacturer-reported cargo specs can be unreliable, but our measurements indicate legitimate space. The V60 can’t match most SUVs for cargo height, of course, but floor dimensions behind the backseat eclipsed those same measurements among all seven contenders in Cars.com’s 2018 Luxury Compact SUV Challenge. The V60 boasts a big, square space with easy-to-fold seats and minimal floor gaps when they’re down.
The T5 Momentum starts around $39,000 including destination charge, or about $3,000 more than a base S60 sedan. Crash tests were unavailable as of this writing; if it is tested, the V60’s results should appear on the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety’s mid-size luxury cars page. Forward collision warning with automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning with steering assist, and a drowsy-driver detection system are standard. So are power front seats, a panoramic moonroof, dual-zone climate control and cloth-and-vinyl upholstery. A factory-loaded T6 Inscription, meanwhile, will set you back a little over $60,000. At that level, equipment ranges from heated and ventilated massaging front seats to Nappa leather upholstery, Bowers & Wilkins audio and Volvo’s optional Pilot Assist system, which pairs adaptive cruise control with lane-centering steering that works all the way to a stop.
Volvo’s pricing represents a slight value versus wagon versions of the BMW 3 Series and Audi A4 — especially at the low end, where both competitors start thousands higher. Shoppers looking for a value alternative might also consider the semiluxury Buick Regal TourX.
The V60 is no half-step-down choice. It has many of the same qualities that helped the XC60 win in the luxury compact SUV comparison; thing is, that XC60 beat the field despite lackluster driving refinement. SUV shoppers might look past such drawbacks more than would shoppers considering the S60 sedan. The V60 falls somewhere in between, I suspect. If the wagon crowd still leans more toward utility and practicality than outright drivability, the V60 is an option worth considering.
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