2019 Volvo V60
It seems like a curious choice for Volvo to lead off its new midrange series with the station-wagon variant. It could have first showed the more mainstream S60 sedan. Or picked the lifted-and-cladded V60 Cross Country, the model more clearly aligned with most consumers’ crossover-crazy tastes. But Volvo instead chose the traditional wagon, which—beautiful as it may be—is unlikely to sell in any volume whatsoever, especially in the United States.
The larger V90 longroof is on pace to rack up sales of just over 300 units this year. No, that number is not missing a zero. The 2019 V60 undoubtedly will do better, not only because it will be less expensive but also because dealers will be stocking them on their lots, unlike the special-order-only V90.
The V60 in many ways is a more affordable V90. Both cars share Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture, which also underpins the XC60 and XC90 SUVs. The V60’s powertrain comes from its larger sibling as well, a transverse-mounted 2.0-liter inline-four mated to an eight-speed automatic. As in other Volvos, the T6 model is both supercharged and turbocharged to make 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque and is offered exclusively with all-wheel drive, while the T5 is merely turbocharged to the tune of 250 horses and 258 lb-ft. At launch, T5 models will be front-drive only, although Volvo representatives said an all-wheel-drive T5 could be offered at a later date. A T8 plug-in hybrid with a rear-mounted electric motor is planned as well.
Don’t hold your breath. The V60 doesn’t even go on sale in the United States until early 2019. While this gives you plenty of time to save your kronor, it remains to be seen exactly how much you’ll need, as Volvo is being tight-lipped about pricing. The usual protocol—taking the current V60 that starts at just $39,245 and adding a grand or two—may not apply here. The outgoing V60 comes from a different era, and this new one is not only considerably larger but also an order of magnitude nicer.
Inside it has all the touchstones of the V90: the huge, tabletlike, 9.0-inch touchscreen that dominates the dashboard (upgraded here with 50 percent more processing power); the stitched-leather inserts and gorgeous wood trim with metallic accents; and the ignition switch in the center console between the seats with a knurled driving-mode selector beside it. Even the trademark yellow speaker cones of the optional Bowers & Wilkins audio system peer forth from similar perforated-metal grilles. While there are subtle differences between the cockpits of the two cars, they’re the sorts of things that you’d have to be a designer (or a Car and Driver fact checker) to care about. For all intents and purposes, they are the same.
The rest of the V60, too, has a comfortable familiarity—quite literally. It is just as luxurious as the V90, with nice standard leather (even softer leather is an option), excellent seats, and a cabin that sounded to our uncalibrated ear quieter than that of the V90. The V60 may have a bit more plastic bits about. Perhaps. For sure it has a smaller luggage compartment, with the load floor measuring just 40.7 inches from the back of the second row to the tailgate, versus 45.4 in the V90. A rear hatch with more-vertical glass helps maximize the actual volume of the V60’s cargo hold, giving it 23 cubic feet with the rear seats up compared with the V90’s 26.
The V60 is nearly seven inches shorter than the V90 overall, yet Volvo’s designers have given it a similarly sleek look by making the V60 ride closer to the ground and by trimming its front overhang. Compared to the outgoing model, the new V60 is much larger yet less bloated; at 187.4 inches in length, it is 4.9 inches longer overall with a 3.8-inch-longer wheelbase, yet it sits 2.2 inches lower. A prominent character line through its rear fenders both helps differentiate the new V60 from the V90 and gives the car an athletic stance that was missing from the stubby old V60.