These days, it seems like everyone is buying SUVs. What if you want the utility and space of an SUV but still appreciate the seating position and stance of a car?
If this sounds familiar, Volvo has you covered. The Swedish brand is a long-time champion of the wagon and remains one of very few automakers to make multiple elongated models available for sale in Canada.
As with its sister model, the Volvo S60 sedan, the Volvo V60 wagon has undergone a redesign for the 2019 model year and is now visually and technologically in line with the latest products in the brand’s lineup. It takes the uncomplicated lines of Volvo’s updated styling language and complements them with T-shaped LED headlights, premium interior upholstery and finishes, and a large and easy to use tablet-like infotainment system.
Unlike the S60, the V60 will still be manufactured outside of North America at Volvo facilities in Sweden and Belgium. However, the engine configurations and trim breakdowns remain essentially the same as with the sedan, with each being priced at a slight premium.
This means that the two engine setups available for the V60 are the T5 and T6 from Volvo’s Drive-E engine family, meaning that both have a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder aluminum block that have various configurations of turbochargers and superchargers added to adjust the power output. In either case, an eight-speed automatic transmission is the standard and only option.
The T5 is equipped with a turbocharger only and has the same power output as on the sedan, a total of 250 hp and 258 lb.-ft. of torque from 1,500 to 4,800 rpm. Available only with front-wheel drive, it produces the same combined average fuel economy as in the S60, a relatively efficient 8.4 litres per 100 kilometres. On the entry-level Momentum trim, which starts at $44,900, this is the base powertrain.
Standard features on the V60 T5 Momentum include Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration as well as 17-inch alloy wheels, heated and power-adjustable front seats with a driver’s side memory feature, a leather steering wheel, CleanZone air purification, a panoramic sunroof, and two driver assist features, city safety collision mitigation and lane keep assist. Numerous additional features can be equipped via packages or as standalone options, including heated rear seats, retractable side mirrors, on-board navigation, cleaning and bending headlights, heated rear seats and steering wheel, a 360-degree surround view camera, 18-inch wheels, and the premium-feel city weave fabric upholstery.
To get the next-level engine, which is an upgrade on the Momentum (to a starting price of $48,900, which also includes 18-inch wheels) and standard equipment on the R-Design ($53,900) and Inscription ($55,400) trims, is the turbocharged and supercharged T6. The addition of a supercharger pushes the power output up to a maximum of 316 hp and 295 lb.-ft. between 2,200 and 5,400 rpm with the supercharger adding torque lower in the power band. All-wheel drive is standard on all T6-equipped V60s, and their average combined fuel economy is the same as on the S60 at 9.4 litres per 100 kilometres.
Buyers who prioritize a more luxurious finish will be most interested in the Inscription trim with its ventilated Nappa leather front seats, real driftwood interior inlays, and unique 10-spoke 18-inch alloy wheels.
Those who enjoy a sportier feel could consider the R-Design. Its sport-tuned chassis, so long as it translates to the V60 as well as it did in the S60 this writer tested, will make the drive feel more energetic and yet still smooth with a quiet, upscale interior. This trim comes with matte black 18-inch wheels, exclusive Nappa leather sport seats with textile inserts, a sport steering wheel with shifting paddles, unique pedals, metal mesh interior inlays, and black mirror covers.
Both of the upper trims are also equipped with adjustable drive mode settings, active dual tailpipes, four-zone climate control, keyless entry, an enhanced 12.3-inch gauge cluster, a memory feature on the front passenger seat, cleaning and bending headlights, and on-board navigation.
A 9-inch tablet-shaped touchscreen is standard equipment across the board, equipped with the latest version of Volvo’s Sensus Connect infotainment system. Integration is included for both Apple CarPlay and Android Auto smartphone integration on top of hardware and software upgrades to improve processing speed by 50 percent and provide faster access to the backup camera and, when equipped, the on-board navigation system.
With platform, equipment, and powertrains being close to identical between the wagon and the sedan, the most significant difference is in the V60’s taller and longer cargo area. The rear window is naturally further away from the driver in the wagon, meaning a slight reduction in rearward visibility, but this is more than made up for in volume, which is 529 litres with the rear seats folded to the bottom of the rear window and expands to as much as 1,441 litres, with no penalty to handling. This is a clear advantage over the sedan’s 392-litre trunk.
The V60 and S60 are the first two models available with the Care by Volvo subscription service. Drivers can choose to sign up for a two-year contract and pay a monthly fee for a pre-equipped V60 Momentum ($949/month) or R-Design ($1,049/month), which includes scheduled maintenance, wear and tear protection, roadside assistance, a 24-7 concierge, and winter tires. After 12 months, signing a new two-year contract can give you a chance to try a new vehicle.
Stephanie Wallcraft is a professional automotive journalist based in Toronto, Ontario.