Embrace the wagon.
Remember the first time you were surprised by a food you didn’t think you’d like? Maybe as a little kid that first pop of a cherry tomato or the bite of a good Dijon mustard broadened your horizons and made you appreciate there was more to life than chicken nuggets and macaroni and cheese.
My fellow Americans, that’s what your first experience with a modern wagon like the 2019 Volvo V60 will be like. You’ll plop down in that comfy seat and enjoy tight steering and a level of agility that simple physics prevent high-riding crossovers from possessing. And yet, you’ll also get more style and ample cargo space. All while looking more like a connoisseur than a dweeb.
The V60 could sway Americans away from crossovers. They just need to give it a chance.
Good gracious, the Volvo V60 is pretty. Volvo as a brand has been nailing its designs for years, but the V60’s proportions are perfect. Despite its overall conservative style, the V60 possesses more than a few modern takes on classic Volvo design cues. The vertical taillights make the V60 look tall without making it feel ungainly, while the gentle slope of the roofline and the way it interacts with the rear shoulder line is gorgeous. Every little touch is perfect. The interior isn't bad either.
Volvo’s Pilot Assist active safety suite is one of the best and easiest systems to use on the market. Activating it is no different than turning on the cruise control. Once on, Pilot Assist marries all the usual active safety nannies – lane-keep assist, lane centering, adaptive cruise control, and automatic emergency braking – into a single cohesive system that dramatically reduces the stress of highway driving. Its impact is hard to overstate until you complete a long freeway journey where you aren’t forced to make tiny steering corrections or manage the gas and brake pedals.
If you think you need a crossover because it has more space, you should have a look at the V60. With a maximum of 50.9 cubic feet of space, it just edges its higher-riding sibling, the XC60, by three-tenths of a cube. But the V60 extends its lead with the second row in place, offering 23.2 cubic feet to the XC60’s 22.4 cubic feet. A cargo cubby in the floor adds an extra 2.0 cubic feet. Plus its lower rear bumper height makes loading and unloading cargo from the V60 significantly easier than the XC60.
While the V60 can accommodate four adults without much complaint, it struggles with second-row legroom, offering just 35.2 inches to the XC60’s 38 inches. That said, in the broader compact premium luxury sedan segment, where the V60’s sedan sibling plays, the V60 is competitive, which is to say that the entire segment is tight on space.
The V60’s $39,545 starting price is agreeable, but be careful with the options sheet; the car featured here costs $61,490. That's not as expensive as the V60 can get, but it's close. To be fair, that includes the higher-spec Inscription trim, which includes the more powerful 2.0-liter engine – a turbo-and-supercharged four-cylinder with 316 horsepower and 295 pound-feet to the standard turbo-four’s 250 hp and 258 lb-ft – and all-wheel drive, plus a batch of equipment beyond that. That said, it’s still a hefty price tag for a compact wagon. Just a plain Inscription starts at $50,045 for crying out loud. If you want a cheaper V60, the front-drive T5 Momentum is available with most of the headlining equipment featured here for just under $50,000. It also comes standard with awesome plaid fabric upholstery.
To be clear, we’re not questioning the T6 engine’s performance. With 316 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, the T6 is more than able to motivate the V60. Accessible torque pairs with a refined character in everyday cruising. But we have genuine concerns about Volvo’s decision to fit the 2.0-liter four-cylinder with both a turbocharger and supercharged. Put simply, there’s a reason twincharged engines are so uncommon. They’re remarkably complicated things, and complicated generally means more problems than simple. So, while there’s no reason to worry about a V60 T6 under warranty, we’d be hesitant to recommend buying one second hand.