Volvo’s all-new V60 wagon is a stylish, high-tech SUV alternative

In this age of rampant SUVs, station wagons are all but extinct. The benefits of a lower center of gravity are lost on consumers who insist on riding high. But Volvo has a long history with wagons, and it’s not ready to give up on them yet. Launching at the 2018 Geneva Motor Show, the redesigned 2019 Volvo V60 shows why wagons still matter.

With the V60, Volvo is working off a familiar playbook. The redesigned wagon shares the same Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) platform as the XC60 SUV and the larger 90-series models (S90 sedan, V90 wagon, XC90 SUV). Other SPA-based vehicles have impressed us with their comfort rides and refined manners, so that bodes well for the V60.

In addition to its basic architecture, the V60 borrows exterior and interior styling elements from other recent Volvos. It looks more or less like a shrunken version of the V90 wagon, which isn’t a bad thing at all. Inside, the V60 gets Volvo’s familiar Sensus infotainment system, with portrait-oriented touchscreen and Apple CarPlay/Android Auto compatibility.

In the United States, the V60 will be offered with two powertrain options. T5 models have 250-horsepower a 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine and front-wheel drive, while T6 models get a 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine that is both turbocharged and supercharged. This engine develops 316 hp, and is available with all-wheel drive only. Europe will also get plug-in hybrid and diesel options; the plug-in hybrid might be offered in the U.S. at a later date.

Besides wagons, the other thing Volvo is known for is safety. The V60 doesn’t disappoint, offering the Swedish automaker’s full complement of electronic driver aids. That includes City Safety, which automatically applies the brakes if it detects pedestrians, cyclists, large animals, or oncoming cars, and Pilot Assist, which can automate most steering, acceleration, and braking functions under certain conditions.

The 2019 V60 will also be one of the first vehicles available through Volvo’s new Care by Volvo subscription service. Care by Volvo bundles the purchase price, insurance, maintenance, and taxes into one monthly fee. It essentially makes owning a car more like owning a cell phone, and Volvo claims it will eliminate the stressful process of haggling at a dealership. All V60 pricing information will be released closer to launch.

The 2019 Volvo V60 proves that wagons aren’t dead yet, but Volvo still has a tough task convincing consumers to step down off their SUV high horses. After all, the V60 will share showroom space with the mechanically-similar XC60. Most buyers will probably opt for the XC60, but at least Volvo is providing an alternative.

What’s next? Volvo will continue renewing its 60-series lineup of cars. We’ll see a rugged, adventure-oriented V60 Cross Country in the not-too-distant future, and Roadshow learned the next-generation S60 will make its official debut this summer in South Carolina, where it will be built.

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