Safety and wagons have been the backbone of Volvo tradition, for the last 60 years, however, sport wagons had been dropped from the U.S. lineup a few years ago leaving only the highly acclaimed rugged XC wagons. That changes for 2015 with the reintroduction of the Volvo V60 sport wagon to the U.S. market.
Arriving at U.S. dealers now, the Volvo V60 is offered in three versions including the T5 FWD with the 240-hp Drive-E four-cylinder engine, T5 AWD powered by a 250-hp five-cylinder engine and the T6 R-Design with a 325-hp, 6-cyl and AWD.
The new wagon is beautifully styled with a sleek swept back roof line and wedged body design that gives the car an aggressive stance. We especially like the rear end treatment complete with Volvo?s signature taillight treatment that extends up the rear pillar and the large dual exhaust outlets.
The big news for Volvo though is the introduction of a revolutionary new four-cylinder engine architecture. We recently spent time in the new V60 wagon with the new four-cylinder engine. Currently the new engines are only used in front wheel drive versions of the V60 and the S60 sedan ? all-wheel drive models are still temporarily using the previous generation five- and six-cylinder engines.
The new engine comes in two variations; the T5 Drive-E a 240-hp turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder and the T6 Drive-E which is a 302-hp supercharged and turbocharged version of the same 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine.
For us, the thought of this much horsepower from a little four-cylinder engine conjures up images of rough, noisy racing engines, but both of the Volvo Drive-E engines are super smooth, quiet and very powerful. It?s impressive that they get so much power and refinement out of such a small engine. The engines are mated with a quick shifting eight-speed automatic transmission, which comes with steering wheel mounted paddle shifter for even better driver control.
The T6 Drive-E engine uses the supercharger to provide the instant response at low rpms, then as the engine speed climbs the turbocharger pressure builds and enhances the performance even more. The fuel efficiency is further improved by a nearly seamless start-stop and brake regeneration system. While at a stop the engine uses an electric pump to keep oil pressure up in the transmission so it?s ready to go without the slightest hesitation.
Our V60 test vehicle was powered by the T5. This engine is set up to allow the turbocharger to overboost for 10 seconds to produce an extra 22-ft.lbs. of torque when requested by the driver?s right foot. In the Eco+Mode, theT5 start/stop system will actually shut the engine down at 4 mph to take advantage of the extra engine down time to increase the fuel economy. The T5 has an EPA fuel economy rating of 25/37/29 mpg. Volvo says it will accelerate from 0 to 60 mph in 6.0 seconds making it one of the quickest cars in its class which includes cars like the BMW 320i, Audi A4, Mercedes C250 and Lexus IS250. The Drive-E engines will also be the basis for some planned plug-in hybrid models.
The S60 sport sedan mechanicals or underpinnings are basically unchanged but create a sporty, agile road feel with flat cornering and a quiet, comfortable ride.
Like with all Volvo models we?ve driven, one of our favorite features is Volvo?s amazing seats which continue to be some of the most comfortable seats in the business. The 2015 Volvo V60 has a new digital adjustable instrument cluster that allows the driver to select from three themes ? elegant, eco and performance to best suit the driver?s driving style.
Volvo?s legendary safety system is called IntelliSafe. The system is built around the world?s first City Safety technology. Introduced originally on the 2010 XC60, City Safety is a low-speed collision-avoidance technology that works at speeds of up to 31 mph to prevent crashes. There?s also a Pedestrian Detection system that will automatically stop the car should a person or a bicyclist move in front of the car.
Volvo was one of the first automakers to offer a Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) in 2007. Originally a camera based system, it?s now a radar-based system and part of a package that includes cross traffic alert, lane change merge aid and front and rear park assist. We think this is a ?must have? option.
Other helpful safety equipment is Lane Keeping Aid, which is part of the Technology package. It will actually guide the car back into the lane when it starts to drift outside the lane lines. The Road Sign Information system helps the driver by displaying road signs, like speed limits, on the instrument display. The unique camera based system even picks up temporary sign changes. There?s also a new Park Assist Pilot that helps the driver automatically parallel park.
Inside the new V60, the Volvo?s Sensus system helps the driver manage information from the audio and navigation systems. The available Sensus Connected Touch connects the car to the Internet using various helpful embedded applications. The seven-inch touch screen can even be used while wearing gloves.
The 2015 Volvo V60 is available in three front-wheel drive models and five all-wheel drives with prices ranging from $36,675, including the destination charge, for the front-wheel drive V60 T5 Drive-E and can go as high as $49,475 for the V60 T6 AWD.
It?s great to see some great new products and technologies come out of Volvo again ? the Swedes are back!