CAR RE­VIEW

Hartford Courant - - Motoring -

It should come as no sur­prise that there’s a new Volvo V-se­ries wagon on the way. Af­ter all, wag­ons are what the Swe­den­based au­tomaker does best.

The new mid­size V60, avail­able in early 2019, joins the larger V90 in Volvo’s wagon lineup and is closely re­lated to the taller XC60 util­ity ve­hi­cle. Volvo ac­tu­ally only has two sedans in its in­ven­tory: the S60 and S90.

Com­pared to the out­go­ing V60, the 2019 model is nearly five inches longer and has been stretched by close to four inches be­tween the front and rear wheels, re­sult­ing in more legroom for rear-seat pas­sen­gers.

The fact the V60’s over­all height has been re­duced by two inches gives it a more aero­dy­namic ap­pear­ance and ex­ag­ger­ates the in­crease in length.

The sleeker look is en­hanced by a con­cave grille, large air in­takes and “Thor’s Ham­mer” LED head­lights. They front a sharply slop­ing hood that pro­vides an ag­gres­sive ap­pear­ance (for a Volvo, any­way). Ad­di­tion­ally, the stylish creases run­ning the length of the V60 add char­ac­ter while re­duc­ing the slab­sided shape com­mon to many wag­ons.

No­body does tail­lights quite like Volvo. They sweep up­ward to the roof, wrap around the rear quar­ter pan­els and spill over onto the liftgate. Visu­ally, they tie the back and sides of the car to­gether.

The V60 is built on the Volvo’s Scal­able Prod­uct Ar­chi­tec­ture plat­form, claimed to add rigid­ity for im­proved ride and han­dling qual­i­ties while also adding a crash pro­tec­tion.

The V60’s cabin is a bit less Swedish Mod­ern than the V90’s, but it is no less at­trac­tive. A stan­dard eight-inch touch­screen sits be­tween a pair of equally dom­i­nant air vents. The avail­able stitched-leather dash top, per­fo­rated-leather seats and satin­nickel-look door and floor con­sole trim (with wood ac­cents) lend an up­scale air to the in­te­rior.

The V60’s tra­di­tional shift lever bucks the cur­rent trend by other au­tomak­ers to use but­tons, switches and di­als, which are mostly lack­ing in­tu­itive­ness.

Volvo’s com­mit­ment to an all-four-cylin­der engine lineup is ap­par­ent with the V60s avail­able picks. The T5 Mo­men­tum and RDe­sign trim lev­els run with a tur­bocharged 2.0-liter four-cylin­der that makes 250 horse­power and 258 pound-feet of torque. The T6 In­scrip­tion is equipped with a su­per­charged and tur­bocharged ver­sion of the 2.0, which is rated at 316 horse­power and 295 pound-feet. At lower engine speeds, the su­per­charger alone pro­vides the boost, but above 3,000 rpm the tur­bocharger joins in.

Re­gard­less, the trans­mis­sion is an eight­speed au­to­matic with man­ual-shift mode.

Ac­cord­ing to Volvo’s stop­watch, the T5 can ac­cel­er­ate to 60 mph from rest in 6.4 sec­onds, a time that’s trimmed to 5.5 sec­onds for the T6.

Fuel econ­omy has yet to be fi­nal­ized, but the V60 T5 shouldn’t be much dif­fer­ent than the S60, which is rated at 28 mpg in the city and 36 on the high­way.

All-wheel-drive is a T6 sta­ple, but ini­tially the T5 will be front-wheel-drive only.

Also due to ar­rive later is a T8 AWD hy­brid ver­sion that, like the S60 T8, makes 400 horse­power and 472 pound-feet of torque. At an es­ti­mated base price of $37,000 (in­clud­ing des­ti­na­tion fees), the base V60 Mo­men­tum FWD shows up with a long list con­tent, in­clud­ing a panoramic roof, cli­mate con­trol and power-ad­justable front seats with lum­bar sup­port. The mid-level RDe­sign trim level adds nav­i­ga­tion, pre­mium Har­mon Kar­don sound sys­tem and a power­op­er­ated tail­gate.

The top-of-the-line In­scrip­tion gets a full range of ac­tive-safety tech­nol­ogy — such as emer­gency brak­ing — un­der the Pi­lot As­sist ban­ner, plus quad-zone cli­mate con­trol, bet­ter quality seats and cov­er­ings and a power-fold­ing sec­ond row.

Al­though de­mand for util­ity ve­hi­cles is strong and grow­ing, tra­di­tional wag­ons such as the Volvo V60 de­serve se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion. That’s es­pe­cially true if you pre­fer the style and driv­ing qual­i­ties of a sedan, but with ex­tra cargo ca­pac­ity.

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