Looking for the practicality of a wagon, while craving the road behavior of a sport sedan? Volvo has a solution in its V60 wagon, a body style revived for 2015, based upon the impressively competent S60 sedan. This year, Volvo has eliminated the all-wheel drive T5, leaving only two models: a front-drive T5 and an all-wheel drive T6 R-Design.

Pricing and Equipment

Starting at $35,950 (plus $940 destination charge) in T5 trim with a 240-horsepower 2-liter four-cylinder Drive-E engine and eight-speed automatic transmission, the V60 also comes in all-wheel drive T6 form with an inline six-cylinder that makes 325 horsepower, driving a six-speed automatic.

Standard equipment for the V60 T5 includes:

  • Eight-speed automatic transmission
  • Rearview camera
  • Moonroof
  • T-Tec textile upholstery
  • Power front seats
  • Engine start/stop technology
  • 17-inch alloy wheels

Upgraded Premier and Platinum versions of the T5 are available, plus a Platinum edition of the T6.

Performance Pros

  • Roadholding and handling compare to a sport sedan. Kinship to the S60 is evident, and the confident feel brings to mind some German-brand wagons. Ride quality is firm, but smooth.
  • Safety scores. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety has given the V60 a Top Safety Pick+ designation. When equipped with optional safety systems, it’s been Superior.
  • T5 fuel economy. The V60 with a four-cylinder engine gets an EPA estimate of 25 mpg in city driving and an impressive 37 mpg on the highway (29 mpg in combined driving).

Performance Cons

  • Automatic-transmission operation. Most of the time, the T5's eight-speed automatic shifts smoothly, though not without some brief hesitation. When accelerating hard, the transmission can get confused searching for the best gear.
  • AWD fuel economy. The all-wheel drive T6 model is distressingly thirsty, earning an EPA estimate of 18 mpg in city driving and 27 mpg on the highway (23 mpg combined).
  • Engine start/stop operation. Like the S60 sedan, the T5 engine in the V60 has standard fuel-saving start/stop technology. After stopping for a while, the engine starts again promptly. In stop-and-go traffic, the transition may be almost imperceptible. But when barely moving, trying to park, the engine may stop then start, stop then start, until you come to a complete halt. That’s infuriating.

Interior Pros

Volvo V60
  • Seat comfort. We don’t often make extravagant claims, but the V60's seats are among the best you’re likely to find in any car model. Our main concern is that narrow side bolstering could give larger Americans a too-snug feeling.
  • Back-seat pass-through. Not everyone has skis that need to be loaded, but you never know when a long object might have to be carried. The rear seat splits 40/20/40.
  • Driver-oriented cockpit. Electronic instruments are crisp and clear. What’s been called Volvo’s “floating console” is loaded with buttons, and has storage space behind and below.

Interior Cons

  • For a wagon, there’s less cargo space than expected. Folding the rear seat reveals only 43 cubic feet of cargo volume, whereas Volvo’s own XC60 crossover holds twice as much.
  • Rear-seat space. Nicely-shaped backrests are somewhat stiff, less comfortable than those up front. Worse yet, legroom is meager for a midsize model, and seat cushions are close to the floor. The center occupant endures an especially hard cushion, and maneuvering one’s leg over the floor hump can be a battle.
  • Some controls are well-placed. Others, notably console-mounted buttons, are cryptic or non-intuitive. You need more than a glance to pick and push the right one.

The Most Pleasant Surprise

Volvo V60 Side

Little touches matter. A handy console button can flip down both outboard back-seat headrests, greatly broadening the view out the back window. In addition to a bevy of advanced-tech safety features, mostly offered as options, Volvo has given its four-cylinder engine an “overboost” mode, boosting torque briefly when stomping the pedal to the floor.

The Least Pleasant Surprise

Omission of a more affordable all-wheel drive option, with the excellent Drive-E four-cylinder engine and eight-speed automatic, limits the V60's appeal in areas that are hit hard by wintry weather.

The Bottom Line

Wagons seemed to be a dying breed not long ago. With its steeply-angled back window and S60 sedan foundation, the stylish V60 looks nothing like wagons of old, particularly the boxy ones that established Volvo’s reputation for dowdiness as well as safety. Priced more than $10,000 higher, the T6 doesn’t sound like much of a bargain, but all-wheel drive can be a boon in snowy climates.