Used 2016 Volvo V60 T6 Polestar Review
Edmunds expert review
With its comfortable ride, impressive fuel efficiency and superb safety features, the 2016 Volvo V60 is an appealing alternative to either small luxury sedans or crossovers.
What's new for 2016
When launched last year, Volvo's V60 wagon re-established the Swedish automaker in the small luxury station wagon market. It's a tiny niche (wagons have long been eschewed in the U.S. as a relic of the 1950s and 60s) but it serves people who find compact crossover SUVs to be too big and bulky for their needs. The 2016 V60 is, essentially, the wagon version of the separately reviewed 2016 Volvo S60 luxury sedan. It brings Swedish styling and more than 20 cubic feet of cargo room to the table while sharing the sedan's praise-worthy performance, interior layout, fuel efficiency, technology and safety features.
Sporty but not over the top, the Volvo V60 is a handsome-looking wagon to our eyes.
The V60's sleek styling is likely the first thing that catches the eye, but it's not the only noteworthy feature. Volvo's turbocharged 2.0-liter Drive-E engine in the base T5 model delivers plenty of power and an impressive EPA rating of 29 mpg in combined highway and city driving in the front-wheel-drive format. The sporty T6 AWD R-Design roils the waters in wagon-land with more than 300 horsepower (or even 345 hp for the special-order, limited-availability Polestar edition). There's a stand-alone Sport package for the base T5 that boosts its already engaging handling. Add Volvo's outstanding safety features, sublime front seats and attractive interior and you've got a pretty compelling argument for the return of the station wagon.
As for shopping alternatives, there's really only one main one you'll want to check out: the BMW 3 Series wagon. It's roomier in back, has a better ride quality and offers a very efficient diesel engine option. But it's also typically more expensive and can't be had with a high-output upgrade engine like the V60 can. If neither one really suits you, you might consider Volvo's XC70, which is larger and more rugged than the V60, or the similarly off-road-themed Audi Allroad. Overall, though, Volvo's V60 is a sensible yet stylish pick for a small luxury wagon or as an alternative to the crossover SUV masses.
Trim levels & features
The 2016 Volvo V60 luxury wagon is offered in four trim levels based on powertrains: T5 Drive-E and T5 Drive-E Platinum and T6 R-Design AWD and T6 R-Design AWD Platinum. The related V60 Cross Country wagon is reviewed separately.
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, Volvo's Sensus Connect infotainment system, a 7-inch central display screen, 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 interface.
Volvo's Premier package adds roof rails, leather upholstery, a navigation system, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and customizable digital gauges.
Most V60s will have the configurable gauge cluster that comes as part of the Premier package.
The Platinum trim adds adaptive xenon headlights with washers, interior accent lighting, a 12-speaker Harman Kardon surround-sound audio system and all the features of the Convenience and Technology packages (explained below).
The performance-oriented T6 AWD R-Design trim level starts off with Premier equipment and adds 19-inch alloy wheels, adaptive xenon headlights, a sport-tuned suspension, keyless entry and ignition, power-folding mirrors and power-folding rear head restraints.
The T6 R-Design AWD Platinum trim adds the same features that the T5 Platinum model gets.
A limited-availability "Polestar" edition of the R-Design Platinum takes things a few steps farther with 20-inch alloy wheels, bigger front brakes, a performance-tuned suspension, special engine tuning, a sport body kit, unique interior details and "Rebel Blue" exterior paint.
The Technology package, standard with the Platinum trim, consists of adaptive cruise control with frontal collision warning and mitigation (with automatic braking), lane departure warning and intervention (Drive-E models only), automatic high beam control and a driver alertness monitor. The Convenience package includes keyless ignition and entry, a rearview camera, power-folding mirrors and a grocery bag holder in the cargo area.
There are a number of other packages and stand-alone options available on most V60 models. The Climate package adds an upgraded cabin air filtration system, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a heated windshield and heated windshield washer nozzles. The Sport package available only for the T5 Drive-E model adds the sport-tuned suspension, 19-inch alloy wheels, front sport seats and steering-wheel-mounted paddle shifters.
Notable stand-alone options include 18-inch alloy wheels, an automatic parallel parking system, sport front seats, built-in rear seat child booster seats and a dual-screen rear seat entertainment system.
Performance & mpg
The 2016 Volvo V60 T5 Drive-E model gets a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that puts out 240 hp 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 our highway-biased 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.
Early build V60 T6 AWD R-Designs feature a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder good for 325 hp and 354 lb-ft of torque. A six-speed automatic is standard. EPA fuel economy estimates fall to 21 mpg combined (18/27). The Polestar edition uses the same engine retuned to deliver 345 hp, but keeps the EPA-estimated 21 mpg combined rating. V60 T6 AWD R-Designs built midway through the model year (identified as T6 Drive-E AWD R-Design) instead come with a supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that generates 302 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. An eight-speed automatic transmission and engine stop-start are standard. EPA fuel economy checks in at 25 mpg combined (22/31).
The 2016 Volvo V60's list of standard safety features includes antilock disc brakes, stability and traction control, front side airbags, side curtain airbags, active front head restraints and Volvo's City Safety system that provides frontal collision warning and can automatically apply the brakes at speeds up to 19 mph to prevent or minimize a frontal collision. Also standard is Volvo's On Call system that includes emergency assistance, automatic crash notification and stolen vehicle assistance.
More advanced safety technologies are offered on upper trim levels or as options. The optional Blind Spot Information System package includes blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert and front and rear parking sensors. A rearview camera is part of the Convenience package. Opting for the Technology package gets you a more capable forward collision mitigation system (including pedestrian and cyclist detection) and lane departure warning and intervention.
The government has not specifically crash tested the V60. But the related S60 sedan earned a perfect five-star rating for overall crash protection, with five stars each for total frontal and side crash protection. The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety gave the 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 gave a "Superior" rating to the V60's optional front collision warning and mitigation system.
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 a small luxury sedan or wagon with summer tires.
With the company's history of building station wagons long on utility and short on verve, you might be skeptical regarding the 2016 Volvo V60's performance. You shouldn't be.
It's not a sport wagon, but the V60 is certainly enjoyable to drive on a daily basis.
Equipped with the T5 Drive-E turbocharged four-cylinder, the V60 accelerates strongly without any undue hesitation or racket. The 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 T6 AWD R-Design (with either the turbocharged inline-6 or the supercharged and turbocharged four-cylinder) is by far the most powerful wagon in this admittedly small segment.
Through turns, the V60's responsive steering delivers a reassuring amount of effort. We wouldn't call it a sport wagon, but the V60 isn't a sleepy kid-carrying grocery getter, either. Overall, we like the balanced approach to ride and handling capabilities. The T5 Drive-E's available Sport package further sharpens the base model's handling, but what was a soft, comfortable ride can become a little too stiff for some because of the firmer suspension and bigger wheels.
The 2016 Volvo V60 offers a stylish interior fitted with premium materials. The look is subtly classy and as appealing as that of any of its direct competitors. The cabin is quiet, providing a serene atmosphere that's enhanced by the car's composed ride quality.
The 2016 V60 gives you extra cargo-carrying versatility compared to the S60 sedan.
The interiors of all V60s have a high-tech feel, especially on upper trim levels that feature the 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 make controlling basic stereo functions easy. For more complicated tasks like selecting a media player playlist or programming the optional navigation system, the V60 relies on the standard Sensus system. It's fairly easy to use, though the multipurpose knob's location on the dash (rather than the center console) is not ideal and lacks a touchpad input like some rival controller systems.
The V60s front seats are some of the most comfortable and supportive in any car. 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. The available built-in booster seats are remarkably handy for parents and grandparents who need to transport little ones.
Fold those rear seatbacks down and you end up with 43.8 cubic feet of cargo room. That's less space than some of its competitors offer, but the V60's 40/20/40-split design provides flexibility that 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 in which your stuff (and four-legged friends) can roll around.
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.