2019 Volvo V60 First Review
- All new Volvo V60 with sleeker styling, a larger interior, improved performance
- Standard 9-inch display screen, Volvo’s City Safe Technology, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto
- Available in two trim levels: Momentum and Inscription
- Starting price should be around $40,000
Volvo pretty much owns the luxury station wagon market in the U.S. Station wagons may not be the most vibrant vehicle segment these days, but Volvo knows it has a core fanbase that loves wagons in general and Volvo wagons in particular. It’s this fanbase Volvo is targeting with the all-new 2019 Volvo V60. Improvements in styling, interior space, performance, fuel efficiency, and safety tech suggest Volvo’s grip on the luxury station wagon space will only tighten with the new V60.
Sleeker styling wrapped around a larger interior
Offered in two trim levels, Momentum and Inscription, the 2019 V60 features an all-new chassis and body wrapped around a roomier interior. Volvo focused on design and versatility, improving both through a combination of structural and styling upgrades. The new wagon’s length increases by 4.9 inches, with a wheelbase that’s 3.8 inches longer. This reduces front and rear overhang and combines with a 2.2-inch drop in roof height -- plus a standard rear spoiler -- to give the wagon a streamlined profile. The new V60’s look is further enhanced by sleek, T-shaped LED headlights and prominent, elevated LED taillights, both standard on all models.
Inside the athletic V60 body, Volvo increased cargo space by 20 percent (now 23 cubic feet behind the second row) and added a hidden storage area under the load floor. Other premium features, including sculpted and supportive rear seats (with class-leading knee space), power-folding rear seatbacks and rear-seat climate controls, add to the V60’s luxury pedigree. A no-cost “City Weave” textile interior option further enhances the cabin with Swedish-chic cloth covering the seats and doors. Leather may be the traditional luxury buyer’s choice, and it comes standard on the V60, but we see plenty of Volvo’s U.S. customers opting for the distinctive City Weave interior.
Superb driving dynamics
The V60’s dynamic styling is matched by excellent driving dynamics. A double-wishbone front and multi-link rear suspension combine with confidence-inspiring feedback through the meaty steering-wheel rim. Our test car, a V60 Inscription in T6 AWD trim, utilized Volvo’s supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter inline-4. This engine offers 316 horsepower, 295 lb-ft of torque, fuel efficiency of 21/31/25 mpg and a 0-to-60 time of 5.5 seconds. A front-wheel-drive V60 T5, using the same engine but with turbocharging only, will be available with 250 horsepower, 258 lb-ft of torque, 24/36/28 mpg and a 0-to-60 time of 6.4 seconds. Both models will launch in the U.S. in early 2019, with a 400-horsepower T8 plug-in hybrid arriving sometime after launch.
Our drive through the winding roads of Spain’s mountains, northwest of Barcelona, had the Volvo V60 eagerly navigating uphill switchbacks. Rotating the Drive Mode scroll wheel on the center console to “Dynamic” allowed the adaptive suspension to minimize body roll while the 8-speed automatic transmission quickly downshifted under light-to-medium throttle application. The terms “Volvo”, “Wagon” and “Sporty” remain unrelated in the minds of many Americans. The V60 will help change that.
“Volvo” and “Safety”, however, are terms buyers readily connect, and the V60 maintains this tradition with a host of advanced standard and optional technology features. Volvo’s “City Safety” system includes automatic emergency braking to avoid pedestrians, cyclists and large animals. It also now includes brake mitigation to avoid head-on collisions. Optional safety equipment includes cross-traffic alert, blind-spot monitoring and Pilot Assist, a “hands-on-the-wheel” system to remove stress from stop-and-go traffic. Pilot assist will modulate the throttle and brake to match surrounding traffic speeds. It also provides steering input to keep the V60 in its lane. Pilot assist can be used up to 80 mph, and it includes new technology to match the car’s speed to curves, based on map data. It can actually lower the V60’s speed to make curves more comfortable when using cruise control.
Not all of the wagon’s technology is safety oriented. Volvo equips every V60 with a digital gauge cluster and its latest version of the SENSUS Connect infotainment system. The standard 9-inch touch screen uses a straightforward 4-tile interface with built in Yelp, Pandora and Spotify apps, plus standard Apple CarPlay and Android Auto. SENSUS Connect features a new, upgraded chipset with 50-percent faster processing power to reduce startup time and provide quicker access to the V60’s camera system. The processor has improved voice control, which can be used to adjust the cabin temperature and play media.
Two trims, many options
The Volvo V60 T5 Momentum includes all the standard features listed above plus 17-inch wheels, keyless drive and a power tailgate. The Inscription trim adds wood interior accents, 18-inch wheels, 4-zone climate control, and a key that’s color matched to the interior. V60 options include 18-inch wheels, ventilated and massaging contour seats, a head-up display, a large power sunroof, and a mid-grade Harman Kardon or top-of-the-line Bowers and Wilkins audio system. A forthcoming V60R will feature integrated tailpipes, unique 18-inch wheels, and paddle shifters. Pricing for the 2019 Volvo V60 hasn’t been released yet, but we’d guess a starting MSRP of around $45,000.
With U.S. sales up 41 percent this year Volvo is clearly doing something right. Much of that success comes from the XC40, XC60 and XC90 crossovers. But Volvo won’t abandon its wagon customers, even in our SUV-crazed market. As we swept through the foggy mountains of Spain on our way to Montserrat Monastery we were reminded of the sporty, confidence-inspiring nature of station wagons versus their heavier, high-riding SUV counterparts. And we were glad Volvo put this much effort into redesigning the V60.