When I was told I’d be testing out the brand-new-to-Canada Volvo V60 Sportswagon, I was both excited and nostalgic. My first car was my parents’ 1987 Volvo 240 DL station wagon that ended up with over 500,000 kilometres on it (more than half were mine). It had two glorious five-inch speakers, a tape deck, shutter windows and no A/C, but it was reliable, functional and practical—that Volvo was perfect for me and my family.
All of my future car purchases have been influenced by that car, with orange rear turn signals and a rear wiper being non-negotiable carryovers. It saw me through several moving days, it carried gear for all my bands, and I could always locate that unmistakable grey tank in any parking lot—no key fobs back then.
As I drove the new V60 with my father, I asked him why he bought a Volvo. He cited their reputation for safety and functionality, and that it was a smart, practical way to accommodate a growing family. It also presented an affordable opportunity to enter the luxury car market (a jump from his early-’80s Datsun 210). Our family had that car until June 2003 and I’m willing to bet they would’ve bought two, had we known just how durable that 240 DL was.
The last time there was a Volvo station wagon available in Canada was in 2010, with the V70. There’s been a high demand from Volvo fans since then and the 2015 Volvo V60 Sportswagon more than satisfies it.
Staying true to their reputation for innovative safety features, the V60 debuts industry-first safety technology via
their Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection with Full Auto Brake (standard on all Volvos as of 2014) which alerts drivers to potential collisions. If a collision is imminent, a red lightnappears on the dashboard. If the driver applies the brakes, the light goes off, but if the driver doesn’t heed the warning, the car applies full braking pressure to reduce and/or avoid impact.
While it’s a truly remarkable technology, there’s no guarantee that a collision will never occur, as there is no such technology available and drivers must exercise due diligence. This system, paired with the BLIS (Blind Spot Info System) system, drastically reduces the risk.
Performance-wise, all Volvo vehicles will be using the Drive-E powertrain starting this summer. Based on a single 2.0-litre, four-cylinder motor, Volvo says it will match five-, six- and eight-cylinder motors. For now, there’s a turbocharged inline-six-cylinder engine powering the 2015 V60 T6 AWD that produces a staggering 300 horsepower and 325 lb.-ft. of torque. Bonus: it runs on regular gas.
The V60 Sportswagon is aimed at the premium Canadian car buyer, and with a starting price around $40,000, it appeals to buyers looking to make the jump into the premium segment. The optional 19-inch Pirelli tires on diamond-cut alloy wheels with lowered sport suspension add an extra touch of class and performance.
The rear seats offer a 40/20/40 split, and the front passenger seat folds flat for maximum cargo capacity. Offering 430 litres of rear cargo space, (more when the seats are folded down), there’s plenty of room for groceries, golf clubs and patriotic trips to Ikea.
During my usual test route through Belfountain, the V60 Sportswagon handled impressively, hugging the corners while delivering plenty of power. My tester’s gorgeous two-tone heated leather seats provided a perfect balance of comfort and stability, holding me in place securely.
The signature centre stack is easy to navigate and follows the Volvo “waterfall” design, complete with a rear-view park-assist camera. An effective and minimalistic design adds to the elegance of the car, and the seven-inch color display screen hosts a number of audio/visual/maintenance features and settings. There are also sensors available that alert you if the car’s front end is too close to an object.
There are three available drive options (or “themes,” as Volvo calls them), each of which illuminates the dashboard with a different colour: Elegance (standard, black and white), Eco (better fuel economy, green) and my favorite, Performance (more power, in red of course).
Notable options include a heated steering wheel, a heated windshield, adaptive cruise control, and a navigation system with real-time traffic updates.
Volvo exemplifies a forward-thinking approach by producing a vehicle that fits into a growing market segment. It functions as a daily driver and a weekend getaway vehicle, but also is quite comfortable for long road trips.
The V60 Sportswagon is a great addition to the already exciting Volvo lineup. It’s a solid machine that combines superior safety technology, beautiful looks, practicality, elegant design, power and fuel efficiency. It’s an intelligent choice for those who want to remain in the luxury car segment, or for those who want to enter it.