This is the wagon to finally retire those Volvo driver cliches
HAVING grown up driving the shovel-nosed Swedish Valiants (as Dick Johnson memorably called Volvos), I’mfamiliar with the boxy, safety conscious history of the brand.
Once it was almost obligatory to trade in something that drivers would enjoy steering for the secure Swedish family transport, but this new wagon bears little resemblance to its forebears.
The V60 range kicks off in the car on test, the T5, which starts on the yard with a $54,950 price tag. Like its sedan sibling the S60, it gets a 2.0-litre direct-injection turbo four that produces 177kW and 320Nm – more than enough to see off its direct competitors.
Features include an eightspeaker sound system with wheel-mounted controls and USB/MP3 connectivity, Bluetooth phone link, poweradjustable driver’s seat, leather seat trim and gear-shifter, rainsensing wipers, auto-dipping centre rear vision mirror, rear parking sensors, trip computer and cruise control.
The heart of the V60 is an all- alloy 2.0-litre 16-valve turbo engine with direct injection. Volvo claims a world-first turbocharger housing and manifold made of sheet steel rather than cast iron.
The powerplant is teamed with a double-clutch ‘‘ Powershift’’ six-speed automatic that slips cleanly between cogs.
This Volvo is visually striking for the right reasons – a far cry from the flying bricks of the 1970s and ’ 80s.
The cabin is functional and flexible, with 430 litres of loadspace (up to 1241 litres when the 40/20/40 split-fold rear seat is flat) and clever features including one-touch child door and window locks and in-built boosters for the outboard rear seats.
Active safety systems are within the central infotainment screen, which makes switching off the stability control a more involved process and as a result you’re less likely to do it.
The V60 has City Safety (low-speed accident avoidance
No more flying brick: Function and style are integral to thenew Volvo V60