Introduced just two years ago, the Volvo V60 re-established the Swedish automaker in the compact luxury wagon segment, an admittedly small niche in which it once had a big presence. American car buyers mostly dismiss wagons in favor of larger or taller SUVs, but for many, a small wagon is the preferred alternative to wider, bulkier crossovers.
The 2017 V60 is essentially the wagon version of Volvo's S60 luxury sedan. It beams with understated Swedish style, offers more than 20 cubic feet of cargo room, and shares the sedan's performance, interior design, fuel efficiency, technology and safety features. A turbocharged 2.0-liter engine delivers plenty of power and an impressive 29 mpg in combined driving. For more zest, the T6 AWD R-Design model gets a more powerful, 302-horsepower version of the 2.0-liter engine.
For the base model, there's a stand-alone Sport package that boosts its already engaging handling. Add Volvo's outstanding safety features, sublime front seats and attractive interior and you've got a compelling case for the return of the wagon.
In this small segment, there's really only one main alternative you'll want to consider: the BMW 3 Series Wagon. It's roomier, rides better, and offers an optional diesel engine that returns 40 mpg on the highway. But it's also more expensive and doesn't offer a sportier engine upgrade as the V60 does.
If neither the BMW or V60 suits you, you might consider Volvo's XC70. It's larger and more suited to off-highway adventure than the V60. The similarly themed Audi Allroad is also worth a look. But overall, Volvo's V60 is a sensible, stylish pick for a small luxury wagon.
The 2017 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 (part of Volvo's IntelliSafe technologies) that provides forward collision warning and can automatically apply the brakes at speeds up to 19 mph to prevent or minimize a front 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 S60 sedan (on which the V60 is based) earned a perfect five-star rating for overall crash protection, with five stars each for total front 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 front-impact tests. It also earned a Good score in side-impact, roof strength and whiplash protection (seats and head restraints) tests. Finally, the IIHS gave a Superior rating to the V60's optional forward collision warning and mitigation system.
In Edmunds testing, a V60 T5 with the Sport package and summer tires came to a stop from 60 mph in 110 feet — a short distance but typical for a small luxury sedan or wagon with summer tires.
trim levels & features
The 2017 Volvo V60 luxury wagon is available in T5, T5 Premier, T5 Dynamic, T5 Platinum and T6 AWD R-Design trim levels.
Standard features on the T5 include 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, cloth and simulated leather upholstery, a leather-wrapped tilt-and-telescoping steering wheel, eight-way power front seats with driver memory functions and power lumbar support, 40/20/40-split folding rear seats with power-folding head restraints, Volvo's Sensus Connect infotainment system, a 7-inch central display screen, Bluetooth phone and audio connectivity, voice controls, and an eight-speaker audio system with a CD player, satellite and HD radio, an auxiliary input jack and a USB interface.
Volvo's Premier trim adds silver roof rails, leather upholstery, a navigation system, an auto-dimming rearview mirror and customizable digital gauges.
Upgrades to the T5 Dynamic include 18-inch wheels, adaptive xenon headlights with washers, black roof rails, restyled front and rear bumpers, front sport seats and steering wheel-mounted shift paddles.
The Platinum builds off the Premier trim (though it keeps the Dynamic's adaptive xenon headlights) and adds 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 Technology package, standard with the Platinum trim, consists of adaptive cruise control with forward collision warning and automatic emergency braking, lane departure warning and intervention, automatic high beams, and a drowsy driver alert. The Convenience package includes keyless ignition and entry, a rearview camera, power-folding mirrors and a grocery bag holder in the cargo area. The Dynamic trim's Platinum package includes both the Technology and Convenience packages, plus the Harman Kardon sound system and ambient lighting.
There are a number of other packages and stand-alone options available on most V60 models. The Climate package adds an upgraded cabin air filter system, heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, a heated windshield, and heated windshield washer nozzles. The Sport package adds the sport-tuned suspension, 19-inch alloy wheels, 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 child booster seats and a dual-screen rear seat entertainment system.
The 2017 Volvo V60 T5 uses a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine rated at 240 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. The engine is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission and is offered in both front- and all-wheel-drive. A standard automatic engine stop-start system shuts off the engine when the car is stopped to conserve fuel.
EPA fuel economy estimates are 29 mpg combined (25 city/36 highway). In Edmunds testing, a V60 T5 returned 32.9 mpg on our highway-biased evaluation driving loop.
The V60 T6 AWD R-Design uses a more powerful version of the same engine (this one equipped with both a turbocharger and a supercharger) rated at 302 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque. It's also hooked to an eight-speed transmission, only available with all-wheel drive, and returns an EPA-estimated 26 mpg combined (23 city/31 highway).
With Volvo's history of building wagons long on utility and safety but short on verve, you might be skeptical about the V60's performance. But the T5's turbocharged four-cylinder serves up strong acceleration without undue hesitation or racket, and the eight-speed automatic delivers quick, almost imperceptible shifts right when you want them. If you want more than just adequate acceleration, the T6 AWD R-Design delivers a strong punch that makes it feel more like a sport sedan.
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 its balanced approach to ride and handling. The T5's available Sport package further sharpens the base model's handling, but what started as a big, soft comfortable ride can end up a little too stiff for some because of the firmer suspension and bigger wheels.
The 2017 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, with a serene atmosphere enhanced by the car's composed ride quality.
The V60 interior has a high-tech feel, especially on upper trim levels that feature a customizable gauge cluster. The audio system's phone-style number pad and surrounding buttons might look a bit antiquated relative to other luxury cars, but they offer easy control of basic stereo functions. For more complicated tasks such as 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 systems.
The V60's front seats are some of the most comfortable and supportive in any car, although bigger folks might find themselves a little squished between the ample bolsters. Adults in the rear seats might 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 anyone who needs to transport little ones.
Fold down those rear seatbacks and the V60 yields 43.8 cubic feet of cargo room. That's less space than some competitors, but the 40/20/20-split design provides flexibility that helps make the best use of the space available. The cargo area's two-position, rollout dog security net and available grocery bag holder are 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.