Used 2015 Volvo V60 Review

The stylish 2015 Volvo V60 luxury wagon returns the Swedish automaker to a segment where it was once a ubiquitous presence. The V60's performance and utility make it a tempting alternative to German luxury wagons.




what's new

The 2015 Volvo V60 is a new vehicle for the U.S. market.

vehicle overview

The American introduction of the midsize 2015 Volvo V60 wagon fills an important void in the Swedish automaker's lineup, one created when the compact V50 and full-size V70 station wagons were discontinued. Essentially the wagon version of Volvo's S60 sedan, the V60 adds unique styling and more than 20 cubic feet of flexible cargo capacity while sharing its sibling's commendable performance, interior design, fuel economy, technology and safety.

The V60 wagon's sleek -- dare we say, even sexy -- styling may be the first thing that catches the eye, but it's just part of this new model's appeal. Less obvious but just as significant is the latest application of Volvo's new homegrown "Drive-E" engine series in the base, front-wheel-drive T5 model. Its 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder delivers energetic acceleration while still managing to earn an impressive EPA fuel economy rating of 29 mpg combined.

Other points in the V60's favor include more engaging handling than you might expect from a Volvo, especially when equipped with the optional Sport package's firmer suspension. The handsome and well-crafted interior, exceptionally comfortable front seats and a full complement of the latest safety features may not be as surprising, but they're noteworthy just the same.

The V60 does have a couple of minor shortcomings, including less rear seat legroom and maximum cargo capacity than its main BMW rival. It's also disappointing that the excellent new Drive-E engine is unavailable on the all-wheel-drive models, which make do with considerably less efficient carryover five- and six-cylinder engines.

The V60 has a scarcity of competitors, but those looking for such a sporty, upscale wagon will want to check them all out. The BMW 328i xDrive offers a more composed ride and sharper handling along with an ultra-efficient diesel engine, while the A4-based Audi Allroad provides a higher ride height and a stylish, top-notch cabin. Both are only offered with all-wheel drive. Volvo's XC70, a mildly ruggedized version of the V70 wagon, is also worth considering for folks looking for something bigger and more compatible with an outdoorsy lifestyle.

Against all these strong competitors, we think the 2015 Volvo V60's combination of style, performance and utility make it an appealing choice for those who need more versatility than a small luxury sedan, yet also better agility and efficiency than a compact crossover.




trim levels & features

The 2015 Volvo V60 is a five-passenger entry-level luxury wagon. It's offered in three trim levels based on powertrains: T5 Drive-E, T5 AWD and T6 AWD R-Design. Depending on when your V60 was built, it may also receive the "2015.5" designation and, as such, standard and optional equipment varies a bit. See the end of this section for all the details on 2015.5 V60's.

Standard equipment on the V60 includes 17-inch alloy wheels, automatic headlights, LED running lights, automatic wipers, heated mirrors, a sunroof, front and rear foglights, cruise control, dual-zone automatic climate control, "T-Tec" fabric upholstery, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, eight-way power front seats with driver memory functions and manual lumbar adjustment, 40/20/40-split rear seats with power-folding head restraints, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity and an eight-speaker audio system with a CD player, satellite and HD radios, an auxiliary audio jack and a USB/iPod interface.

For the T5 E-Drive and T5 AWD, the Premier package adds roof rails, keyless ignition and entry, leather upholstery, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and customizable digital gauges. The Premier Plus adds power-folding mirrors, a rearview camera, a fold-flat front passenger seat and a pop-up cargo area organizer. The Platinum package further adds auto-dimming outside mirrors, interior accent lighting, a navigation system and a 12-speaker surround-sound audio system.

The performance-oriented T6 AWD R-Design trim level starts off with Premier Plus equipment and adds a sport-tuned suspension, the biggest engine available, appearance upgrades and adaptive xenon headlights. The Platinum trim level is also available here.

There are a number of other packages and stand-alone options available on most V60 models. The Climate package adds heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a heated windshield and heated windshield washer nozzles. The Technology package consists of adaptive cruise control, frontal collision warning and braking, pedestrian and bicyclist detection, lane departure warning, lane-keeping assist (T5 Drive-E models only), active high beams and a driver alertness monitor.

The Sport package available on T5 Drive-E and T5 AWD models adds the sport-tuned suspension, 19-inch alloy wheels, front sport seats and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters. Finally, a Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) package includes blind spot warning, rear cross traffic alert and front and rear parking sensors.

Stand-alone options include 18- and 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, the navigation system, an automatic parallel parking system, heated front seats, a pair of built-in child booster seats, a rear seat entertainment system and a front-view parking camera.

For 2015.5 models (V60s produced after June 2014), there are some changes to standard and optional equipment. Every 2015.5 V60 gets the updated Sensus Connect and On Call systems as standard. Sensus Connect adds updated graphics for the center touchscreen, improved voice commands and in-car apps such as Yelp and Pandora. On Call adds an in-car WiFi hotspot, emergency roadside assistance and automatic crash notification.

Optional equipment is also a little different. 2015.5 V60s get a navigation system that's part of the Premier package for the T5. T5 AWD and the T6 R-Design have the navigation system as standard. Also for 2015.5 V60s, the Premier Plus package has been eliminated and replaced with the Convenience package that similarly adds power-folding mirrors, keyless entry and ignition, a rearview camera and a pop-up cargo area organizer. The power-folding passenger seat on the Premier Plus package isn't included in the Convenience package, but it is available as a stand-alone option.

For the Platinum package, 2015.5 models get the addition of a Harman Kardon premium sound system, xenon headlights and the contents of the Technology and Convenience packages. Stand-alone options for the 2015.5 V60 are similar to earlier models but also include keyless entry and ignition, the power-folding passenger seat and the aforementioned Harman Kardon sound system.



performance & mpg

The 2015 Volvo V60 is available with a choice of three different powertrains. The T5 Drive-E model gets Volvo's new 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder that puts out 240 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. This engine is only offered with front-wheel drive and an eight-speed automatic transmission. A standard automatic engine stop-start system shuts off the engine when the car is stopped to save fuel. EPA fuel economy estimates are 29 mpg combined (25 city/37 highway). A V60 T5 Drive-E returned 32.9 mpg on the 116-mile Edmunds evaluation route.

In Edmunds testing that same V60 T5 Drive-E went from zero to 60 mph in 6.4 seconds, which essentially splits the distance between the quicker BMW 328i and slower Audi Allroad.

Both of the all-wheel-drive models utilize carryover Volvo engines. The T5 AWD has a turbocharged 2.5-liter five-cylinder that produces 250 hp and 266 lb-ft. A six-speed automatic transmission is standard. Fuel economy is considerably lower at 23 mpg combined (20/29). Volvo estimates that it will reach 60 mph in 6.8 seconds.

The T6 AWD R-Design features a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder good for 325 hp and 354 lb-ft. The six-speed automatic is standard here as well. EPA fuel economy estimates fall even further to 22 mpg combined (19/28). Volvo estimates that it will reach 60 mph in 5.5 seconds.

safety

The 2015 Volvo V60's list of standard safety features includes antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, full-length side curtain airbags, active front head restraints and Volvo's City Safe system that can automatically apply the brakes at speeds up to 31 mph to prevent or minimize a frontal collision. Many more advanced safety technologies are offered as options, including additional frontal collision warning with full auto-braking, lane departure warning and lane-keeping assist, blind spot warning and rear cross traffic alert, and a driver inattention warning system.

The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety awarded the 2015 Volvo V60 its top rating of "Good" in the moderate-overlap and small-overlap frontal-offset impact tests. It also earned a "Good" score for the side-impact, roof-strength and whiplash protection (seats and head restraints) tests. Finally, the IIHS rated the V60's front collision warning and mitigation system and gave it a top rating of "Superior."

In Edmunds testing, a V60 T5 Drive-E with the Sport package and summer tires came to a stop from 60 mph in 110 feet. This is a short distance, but typical for summer tires.

Driving

With the company's long history of building station wagons long on utility and short on verve, you might be forgiven for your skepticism over the 2015 Volvo V60's performance. Which only makes that first test-drive all the more impressive.

Equipped with the new Drive-E turbocharged four-cylinder, the V60 accelerates strongly without any undue hesitation or racket. The new eight-speed automatic delivers quick, almost imperceptible shifts on its own, and responds well when run up and down through the gears via the available paddle shifters. The turbocharged five-cylinder engine that comes with the T5 AWD model offers similarly energetic acceleration (though worse fuel economy), while the T6 R-Design is by far the most powerful wagon in this admittedly small segment.

Through turns, the V60's responsive steering delivers commendable feedback and a reassuring amount of effort. We wouldn't call the V60 a sport wagon, but it's not a sleepy grocery getter, either. Overall, we like the balanced approach to ride and handling capabilities. The available Sport package further sharpens handling, but the otherwise soft, comfortable ride can become a little too stiff because of the firmer suspension and bigger wheels.

Interior

The 2015 Volvo V60 features a stylish interior done up in premium materials. The look is typical Swedish with a classy yet subtle atmosphere, but the overall effect is at least as appealing as any of its direct competitors. The passenger cabin is also quiet, creating a serene atmosphere that's only enhanced by the car's composed ride quality.

The space also has a distinctly high-tech feel to it, especially on upper trim levels that feature a driver-configurable gauge cluster with three different pre-programmed looks. The audio system's phone-style number pad and surrounding buttons may look a bit antiquated in the luxury class these days, but they're simple and make controlling basic stereo functions easy. For more complicated tasks like selecting a media player playlist, programming the optional navigation system or controlling more complicated vehicle functions, the XC60 relies on the Sensus Connect and On Call systems. They're also fairly easy to use and similar to competitor systems, though the multipurpose knob's location on the dash (rather than the center console) is not ideal.

The front seats are some of the most comfortable and supportive you'll find in any car, at any price, especially the optional sport seats. Bigger folks may find themselves a little squished between the ample bolsters, however. Adults in the rear seats will also wish for a little more legroom, but it's livable for short hops and perfectly fine for younger kids. Speaking of which, the available built-in booster seats are remarkably handy for parents and grandparents who regularly, or even occasionally, need to transport little ones.

Fold those rear seatbacks down and you end up with 43.8 cubic feet of cargo room. Though this number is smaller than some of its competitors, the flexibility offered by the 40/20/40-split design and the available fold-flat front passenger seat helps make the best use of the space available. The cargo area's two-position, roll-out dog security net and available pop-up grocery bag holder are two clever features that go beyond simply providing a big old space for your stuff (and four-legged friends).

edmunds expert review process

This review was written by a member of Edmunds' editorial team of expert car reviewers. Our team drives every car you can buy. We put the vehicles through rigorous testing, evaluating how they drive and comparing them in detail to their competitors.

We're also regular people like you, so we pay attention to all the different ways people use their cars every day. We want to know if there's enough room for our families and our weekend gear and whether or not our favorite drink fits in the cupholder. Our editors want to help you make the best decision on a car that fits your life.