2019 Volvo V60 U.S.-spec First Review
- Do we like it better than the new S60? Yes.
- Now based on Volvo’s SPA chassis
- Longer and roomier, with a lower roof
- Standard LED headlights
- Apple CarPlay and Android Auto are standard
- Up to 36 mpg on the highway
- Expected starting price: around $40,000
Volvo may be a small player in the U.S., but its sales are good, up 30 percent year-to-date compared to 2017. That’s what happens when you build vehicles as impressive as the XC40. And while the just-introduced all-new S60 sport sedan undoubtedly will build on that sales momentum, it’s the new 2019 Volvo V60 station wagon that pulls at our heartstrings with its added utility and superb style. Think of this new V60, which goes on sale in early 2019, as a perfect alternative to an SUV. Competitors include the Mercedes-Benz E-Class Wagon, the BMW 3 Series Wagon and the Audi A4 Allroad Quattro.
A firm foundation
Like the new S60, the 2019 V60 is based on Volvo’s “Scalable Product Architecture” (SPA) chassis, versions of which are shared by the XC90 SUV and S90 sedan. As such, it’s a thoroughly modern and safe vehicle, loaded with a full suite of the latest collision-avoidance and occupant-protection technologies. The unit-body chassis, with a double-wishbone front suspension and a multilink rear, has a 3.8-inch-longer wheelbase and an overall body length that has been increased by nearly five inches.
Two traits we particularly like about the new Volvo wagon are the added distance between the V60’s front seats and front wheels, which improves the proportions of the vehicle, gives the car added presence and makes the V60 look particularly handsome from the side. Also, the 2.2-inch-lower roof makes it much easier to load bike racks, skis, kayaks and such. Moreover, V60 rear overhang has increased by 4.9 inches, while front overhang has been reduced by 3.7.
Unlike the S60, which is built at Volvo’s new plant in South Carolina, the V60 comes to the U.S. from the company’s factory in Gothenburg, Sweden. Apart from that, the American sedans and Swedish wagons are pretty much identical.
Three trim levels
The 2019 V60 will be available in three trim levels: Inscription, Momentum and R-Design, each available with a pair of powertrains. With the T5 model, you get a turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 that sends 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque to the front wheels via an 8-speed automatic transmission, the only gearbox available in the new S60/V60. With the T5 powertrain, the new V60 wagon is expected to get up to an impressive 36 mpg on the highway. With the all-wheel-drive T6 AWD, you get a supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4 that produces 316 horsepower and 295 lb-ft of torque and is good for 31 mpg on the highway.
Driving the V60
KBB recently sampled a 2019 Volvo V60 T6 AWD Inscription at the S60 press launch in Southern California. How’d it feel? Excellent. The V60 drives just like the S60 sedan, and you tend to forget you have that wagon body behind you. It’s very quiet inside, and the ride quality is excellent, yet that good comfort doesn’t translate to any unusual body motions when driving the car hard on a twisty road. The V60 suspension is tuned more aggressively than the larger V90 wagon, and its electric-assist steering has good feel. Even with the T6 V60’s 316 horsepower, torque steer does not present a problem, thanks to the new double-wishbone front suspension and the all-wheel drive.
Of note, the V60 rear suspension is a multilink design that employs a transverse composite leaf spring. This saves weight and minimizes intrusion into the cargo area, which now has 23 cubic feet of available load space behind the second row, an increase of 20 percent. Load-leveling air suspension, which eliminates the transverse leaf spring, will also be available on the V60.
The new V60 comes packed with standard safety technology and is available with plenty of options that can drive the price up from a starting MSRP of around $40,000 to $60,000 or so (including an 1,100-watt Bowers & Wilkins sound system with 15 speakers). We particularly like the V60’s available City Weave textile seats. Appearing on seats and door panels alike, this gray plaid-like material looks great, reminiscent of the plaid fabric of the original Volkswagen GTI. For what it’s worth, City Weave looks durable, and we think its cool retro vibe harkens back to a simpler time of picnic baskets and even cool old Volvo wagons like the 240. Don’t worry, though -- if you want modern comforts such as massaging front seats covered in the finest Nappa leather, they are available on the new V60.
The 2019 Volvo V60 comes standard with four Drive Mode settings, all selectable via a knurled roller wheel on the center console. In Comfort, parameters such as shift points and throttle response are tuned to deliver maximum comfort. In Dynamic, the V60 wakes up with a sharper throttle, crisper shifts, and even a more responsive supercharger on T6 models. In Eco, the engine and gearbox are tuned to minimize fuel consumption, aided by a coasting feature that eliminates any engine braking while the V60 is off-throttle at speeds above 40 mph. Individual mode, naturally, allows drivers to individually tailor each setting. On vehicle start up, the V60 always returns to Comfort mode.
When driving a new 2019 Volvo V60 wagon, one naturally begins thinking about other possible variants such as a V60 Cross Country, a lifted AWD wagon that would be perfectly suited for the fun type of backwoods exploring that involves occasional dirt roads. We at KBB are happy to report that an all-new V60 Cross Country is indeed on the way to the U.S., but not until sometime later in 2019.