Reviews

2015 Volvo V60 Walk Around

The Volvo V60 was designed to follow the flow of the S60 sedan's award-winning architecture, and it does. Especially the hood, which sure doesn't say station wagon. There will be no rain gathering on this hood, as it falls fast and steep to the grille, with two character ridges defining the path. From the inside, it seems the car has no nose at all. The hood is gracefully muscular.

The grille needs a couple more horizontal bars (the R-design is a different story, different grille). The spaces are wide enough that you can see stuff behind the grille and, not only that, the lower grille, stretching to the foglamps, is way too busy. It distracts from the lovely lines of the hood. The grille on the V60 that's sold in Europe is trimmed more cleanly, and it's beautiful. Volvo tarts up its face for American tastes, we guess. In any case, we think the European version looks better.

Two character lines stretch elegantly from the front to rear fenders, at shoulder and rocker. It's so simple, you wonder why so many cars try so hard, with scoops and swoops and stuff. The lines define the car without changing it.

The window line cannot hide the fact that this is a wagon, but it can enhance it, like the V60's does, while embracing the spoiler. Big red taillamps the way they should be, twin chrome rectangular exhaust, and beautiful 10-spoke wheels all make perfect trim for this machine.

We like Volvo's description of the V60. The pronounced wedge shape and slim coupe-like silhouette create a gentle yet powerful double wave from the headlights at the front to the taillights at the rear. The dip in the middle of the double wave visually pushes the car down, enhancing its stance and making it look sleeker and lower. The sculpted hood and short overhangs also emphasize its athletic stance.

Interior

The Volvo V60 sport wagon's wheelbase is 8 inches longer than the Jetta Sportwagen's, while its length is just 3 inches longer due to the short overhangs. Still, the V60 loses 2 inches of rear legroom to the Jetta, at 33.5 v 35.5 inches. But the V60 gains it back in cargo volume, despite the coupe-like roofline eating some big box cubic feet.

Comparing it to the Volvo XC60, it's a whopping 9 inches lower, while giving up only 1.3 inches in rear headroom. But if carrying cargo is what matters, the XC60 is a better choice, with 67.4 cubic feet to the V60's 43.7.

The loss in total cargo might be made up for, by the convenience of the standard 40/20/40 split rear seat. All three sections fold flat easily, making it versatile, and the headrests are power. The optional flat-folding front passenger seat on T5 makes it possible to carry 4×4's and SUP (stand-up paddle) boards. There's space for small items behind the wheel wells and under the floor.

It's a wonderful driver's cabin, with simple and effective switches and the screen. The man-machine interface works. Even the radio, with its two knobs, one for on-off volume and another for tuning the stations, and they work every time without your having to risk you neck by taking your eyes off the road and figure out some non-intuitive system. What a fantastic idea: two knobs!

It's stylish and clean, with organic blue-lit instrumentation and the best speedometer ever. It only shows a 40-mph range at any time, 20 below and 20 above the current speed. You can glance at your speed without your eyes and brain having to sort out a needle on a big round gauge.

The tach works on the same theory: all you need, no more. It's a vertical bar in a small rectangular window to the right of the larger speedo; with an engine like this, a tachometer doesn't warrant big space and you don't need to know the revs down to the 100s. In sport mode, the transmission gear you select shows up clearly in the tach window.

The steering wheel is top-notch, with more original design. Besides the non-obtrusive humps inside the wheel for your thumbs to grip the wheel at 10 and 2, there are others on the outside of the wheel at 3 and 9, for your little fingers to rest on, with your thumbs over the wide spokes there. So, Volvo recognizes both hand positions on the steering wheel.

Everything you look at, think about, and touch in the cabin feels right, including the comfortable supportive seats. Standard upholstery is an off-black textile. Leather and Sport Leather are optional. Ours was perforated leather with white stitching, which comes with the Premier Plus package. The leather-wrapped shift knob fits your hand, as do the shifting paddles for the 8-speed transmission's sport mode. There's a slot for the key fob, below the start/stop button.

Excellent visibility out the rear window in the wide tailgate.

All V60s are equipped with the Volvo Sensus system that controls audio, navigation (optional) and other functions, displaying them onto a seven-inch high-definition color monitor. The standard 160-watt 8-speaker audio system includes CD, MP3, HD satellite radio, AUX and USB inputs, Bluetooth with audio streaming.

Sensus Connected Touch, available as an accessory, connects the car to the Internet using the touchscreen. The user has access to full Internet browsing (except when driving), Internet music streaming and Internet radio, Google maps, integrated navigation and an app store for new function upgrades.

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