Occasionally, we all get away from who we truly are inside. Coca-Cola tried it with their new recipe and Colgate tried making microwave meals in the ’80’s. Pepsi tried out Crystal Pepsi and Bic tried making disposable underwear in the ’90’s. Vince Vaughn tried to be a dramatic actor and Donald Trump tried to make a steak company in the 2000’s. Oreo tried making watermelon Oreos, and Nissan tried making a convertible SUV in the ‘10s. Sometimes you have to stop trying to be cute and just do what you’re good at. History is riddled with unconscionably embarrassing attempts by companies to try and extend their reach well beyond their means, and in truth, we as a collective populous, just want you to do what you do best. This same philosophy is one that has recently been realized by long time auto manufacturer Volvo. Sure, beginning in the 2000’s they started making sedans and even some sportier models that were … interesting …, but for 2019, it seems someone high up decided to get back to basics and bring back the car that put Volvo on the map in the first place — the station wagon.
The 2019 V60 is hitting the market at a great time. It is a time when there seems to be a slight resurgence of similar vehicles under different names other than ‘station wagon’ — the Buick Regal TourX, the Jaguar XF Sport-brake come to mind, among a few others. And yes, the V60 is a wagon, but we have to say, for a wagon, it looks pretty damn good. The sporty front end and sleek roof line, combined with a lower stance make it look much hipper than ever before.
The steel unibody houses one of two powertrains of your choice. The base car will be a front drive powered by a 2.0-liter turbocharged four cylinder coded named T5 will make a reasonable 250-horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. We prefer the upgraded T6 which tacks on a a belt-driven supercharger to make a seriously impressive 316-horsepower and 294 lb-ft of torque out of that mighty, mini 2.0-liter four pumping that power to all-four wheels in the upgraded model. Either motor gets backed up by an Aisin-built eight-speed automatic transmission replete with torque converter. Another fun trick of the AWD setup is that while it has the ability to split power up to 50/50 front/rear, it can also completely shut off the rear power deliver when steady state throttle operation and conditions are sensed in order to maximize fuel economy. Aside from the T5 and T6 models, there will also be an ‘R’ and T8 models added to the lineup in the future.
The other big deal about the V60 is that once again, Volvo stays true to its roots — those being founded in safety, and brings home the bacon when it comes to features in that arena. There is a City Safety option that uses automatic braking and steering assist features that can recognize large animals, pedestrians, and bicyclists. There is also a 360-degree camera, cross traffic alert with brake support. Volvo’s Pilot Assist is another feature that allows the V60 to self-drive up to 80 mph and uses GPS and road data to anticipate turns and road changes. Volvo is even offering a Care by Volvo subscription service that incorporates replacement parts for anything and everything (brakes, wipers, etc) as well as Liberty Mutual insurance coverage with a $500 deductible for 15,000 miles (insurance being longer) for one monthly fee. Not a bad deal for a mother or father of three that doesn’t want to waste time hunting around AutoZone on a weekend, or doesn’t want to get tricked by some shady mechanic.
The V60 is so comfortable it almost qualifies for posh. The ride is soft and supple, just what you’d expect from a family oriented vehicle. Materials, fit and finish all qualify as luxury or near-luxury and can compete with those higher end car companies. Moreover, the V60 simply feels like what a Volvo is supposed to be. Get in and drive around on a short or long road trip, and something just feels like it clicks. As we said earlier, sometimes you just have to do what you’re good at, and when you do, people take notice. So while we appreciated things like the Zune, potato chips made with Olestra , and Volvo’s sedans … it’s very nice to see a car like the V60, because it’s what a Volvo should be because it’s what they do best.