By Joe Tralongo, Contributing Editor
KBB Expert Rating: 8.3
Volvo established itself building bulletproof family wagons parents felt comfortable passing down to their kids. Getting back to their roots, Volvo’s 2016 V60 and V60 Cross Country rekindle a long lost love affair with the wagon, but in a sleek, sexy shell that bears no resemblance to the old 240 DL. The V60’s fuel-efficient engine, sporty manners and luxurious interior making it a fitting rival to the BMW 328i, while the new V60 Cross Country looks to muscle in on the Subaru Outback Limited and Audi Allroad. Available all-wheel drive (AWD) is another strong selling point for the V60. Toss in Volvo’s stellar safety reputation, and you have a vehicle any family would be proud to pass down to future generations.
The Volvo V60 wagon for 2016 offers the look and status of a high-end European wagon without the exorbitant price tag. The Cross Country is as capable as any compact SUV but with a much greater “cool” factor.
Wagons are not as space-efficient as SUVs, and the 2016 V60 from Volvo proves the point. If you need maximum storage space, a larger vehicle such as the XC60 might be a better choice.
KBB Expert Ratings
For 2016, the Volvo V60 wagon sees only minor changes to wheel designs and some feature shuffling. The big news is the addition of the Cross Country model that offers more ground clearance and hence, more off-road adventuring potential.
The 2016 Volvo V60 wagon feels as comfortable on winding mountain roads as it does on long stretches of open highway. The available Sport package is a must, adding a...
... stiffer suspension that controls body lean in sharp corners while retaining the ability to soak up nasty road imperfections. Although not as precise as a BMW 328i, the V60’s steering, brakes and acceleration are all what we’d consider performance-oriented, and certainly make it much more fun to drive than a Subaru Outback. Delivering excellent power throughout the rev band, the 2.0-liter turbocharged Drive-E is the best engine in the Volvo lineup, and the 8-speed automatic transmission complements it perfectly. The Eco+ Start/Stop function helps conserve fuel, actually shutting off the engine at 4 mph as the car glides to a stop. All-wheel-drive models rely on 5- and 6-cylinder turbocharged engines teamed to a 6-speed automatic.
The Drive-E engine offers up surprisingly good fuel economy and even more impressive performance. It’s one of the smoothest, most refined 4-cylinder turbos on the market.
The Cross Country adds an additional 2.6 inches of ground clearance and standard Haldex AWD, allowing the V60 to venture lightly off-road as well as tackle deeper snow drifts.
The 2016 Volvo V60 wagon thankfully shares its sharper TFT digital instrument cluster and most of its interior with the S60 sedan. This includes the "waterfall" center stack, and clever touches like the person-shaped ventilation control, where you tap the figure's "head" to direct air to your face, the "legs" for your feet, and so on. The materials and assembly quality are all first-rate, and if you like long distance driving, you'll love the comfortable and supportive seats. We do wish Volvo would upgrade its multimedia control interface. The system alternates between buttons and a knob, and it's clumsy to operate.
This may be the best-looking of Volvo's "60" series of cars, which includes the S60 sedan and XC60 SUV. The profile is graceful and elegant, with a sloping roofline that extends the cargo area, but without making it look like a sedan wearing a backpack. In fact, some of us prefer it over the stubby-trunk look of the S60, and still others like its sleek, low-to-the-ground stance compared to the XC60. While the standard wheel/tire package looks good, we recommend the Sport package, as its 19-inch aluminum-alloys fill out the wheel arches nicely.
Base-model Volvo V60 wagons come nicely equipped. Standard equipment includes 2-zone automatic climate control and a power glass moonroof. On the safety front – this is a Volvo, after all – the V60 comes with Volvo's City Safety (a system that senses potential collisions and automatically brakes the car), in addition to the usual complement of stability control and multiple airbags. Standard equipment also includes steering-wheel-mounted audio controls, Bluetooth hands-free phone interface and music streaming, a power parking brake, and rain-sensing windshield wipers.
Volvo insists on maintaining its leadership position in safety, and is expanding its collision-warning system to include just about anything that could cross your path. In addition to cars, it also will automatically stop the car if it detects pedestrians or bicyclists. It's part of the Technology package, a $1,500 bundle that also includes adaptive cruise control and driver-alertness monitoring, plus lane-departure warning and lane-keeping assist. Also available are integrated child boosters for $500, and the $1,000 sport package, which includes paddle shifters on the steering wheel.
Front-wheel-drive (FWD) Volvo V60 T5 models get the Drive-E 4-cylinder engine. This turbocharged inline-4 produces 240 horsepower and is connected to an 8-speed automatic transmission. AWD models come with the same selection of engines we're used to from Volvo. All-wheel-drive T5 and Cross Country models get a 250-horsepower 2.5-liter 5-cylinder turbo engine, while T6 R-Design models get the 3.0-liter turbocharged 6-cylinder and its 325 horsepower. Both all-wheel-drive models come with a 6-speed automatic transmission.
2.0-liter turbocharged inline-4 (T5 FWD)
240 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm
258 lb-ft of torque @ 1,500-4,800 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 25/37 mpg
2.5-liter turbocharged inline-5 (T5 AWD, Cross Country)
250 horsepower @ 5,400 rpm
266 lb-ft of torque @ 1,800-4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 20/29 mpg (T5), 20/28 mpg (Cross Country)
3.0-liter turbocharged inline-6 (T6 R-Design)
325 horsepower @ 5,000 rpm
354 lb-ft of torque @ 2,100-4,200 rpm
EPA city/highway fuel economy: 18/27 mpg
The 2016 Volvo V60 T5 has a Manufacturer's Suggested Retail Price (MSRP) starting just under $37,000, including destination charge. Opt for the AWD V60 Cross Country, and you'll be starting closer to $42,000. For the quickest V60, you'll want the V60 T6 AWD R-Design – just be sure to put $45,000 and change in your money sack. If you can't help yourself with options, a fully loaded V60 T6 AWD R-Design Platinum will find you spending more than $55,000. Compare those base prices to the competition, and it splits the difference nicely. The BMW 328i xDrive comes only with all-wheel drive, and starts at around $43,000, while the Subaru Outback Limited 3.6 starts down in the $34,000 range. On the resale value front, the Volvo wagon has a tougher time than either the BMW or the Subaru.