Not your old 242DL: Volvo V60 R Design marks the (quick) return of the Volvo wagon

Volvo V60 R Design front three quarterVolvo pulled a bait-and-switch on us. We were expecting to see the V60 diesel plug-in hybrid at the Volvo stand for the 2013 New York Auto Show, but the Swedes sent the 2014 V60 R Design instead. Still, a wagon’s a wagon, right?

The V60 marks the return of a traditional station wagon to Volvo’s United States lineup (the body-cladded Cross Country doesn’t count). It may not sound too exciting, but Volvo made its reputation building solid station wagons, so we’re happy to see a return to form.

The V60 is a sports wagon (Volvo’s term) version of the S60 sedan, and shares that car’s curvaceous styling, with some slight tweaks for this R Design model.

The R Design is supposed to add a little excitement to an otherwise staid vehicle. While the 3.0-liter turbocharged inline-six engine is mechanically identical to the one in other Volvos, there is a Polestar software package that boosts output to 329 horsepower, an addition of 25 hp. Zero to 100 kph (0 to 62 mph) takes 6.0 seconds.

The R Design also gets a stiffened chassis and 15mm lower ride height for enhanced handling.

Since this is a Volvo, safety is also paramount. Volvo is adding a Cyclist Detection feature to its automatic braking system, which can already stop a car without any driver intervention if it detects a pedestrian.

Volvo has taught the system to look out for cyclists as well, which should be a handy feature here in New York, where a new bicycle lane opens every day.

Volvo R DesignActive High Beam Control automatically switches between high and low beam during night driving, because tugging on a stalk is apparently too hard/distracting for some drivers.

Inside, the V60 reaps the obvious utility benefits of its wagon body. Split 40/20/20 folding rear seats should make loading cargo a breeze.

Tech features include a configurable TFT gauge cluster and Volvo’s Sensus infotainment system. The latter will be available with a voice-controlled Spotify app.

Volvo will also offer an S60 and XC60 R Design for the 2014 model year. All three R Design models will go on sale later this year. Cyclist Detection will be available on all Volvo models beginning in May 2013.

Emerging Tech

With cameras that know dogs from Dodges, Honda is making intersections safer

Honda and the city of Marysville, Ohio are working on creating a smart intersection. The goal would not only help better direct the flow of traffic, it could also help save the lives of pedestrians and cyclists.
Product Review

Volvo’s redesigned 2019 S60 sedan is the best kind of remix

The 2019 Volvo S60 borrows almost everything from other recent Volvo models, but that’s not a problem. From its infotainment system to an available plug-in hybrid powertrain, the S60 takes the best bits from a lineup of great cars.
Product Review

The 2019 Volvo V60 proves it's still cool to drive a station wagon

With the 2019 V60, Volvo argues the station wagon segment isn't as moribund as most other automakers say it is. The company goes as far as arguing we're on the cusp of a wagon revival, and the V60 is poised to lead the charge.
Cars

2019 Chevrolet Silverado gets serious about MPG with new four-cylinder engine

In an aggressive bid to improve fuel economy, the 2019 Chevrolet Silverado will be offered with a 2.7-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine. Chevy claims comparable performance to other Detroit automakers' V6 trucks.
Cars

Ford hatches a software update to fix a fiery problem with its GT supercar

Ford warns 200 examples of the GT supercar built between December 2016 and July 2018 can catch fire if hydraulic fluid leaks from the rear wing onto the hot exhaust. It will fix the problem with a software update.
Cars

Can't see in front of you? Here's how to change your windshield wipers

If you can't see out of the front of your car, it's time for a new set of wiper blades. Thankfully, changing your car's windshield wipers is quick and painless if you know what you're doing. Here's what you need to know.
Cars

Watch this driverless Range Rover tackle one of U.K.’s ‘most challenging roads’

Jaguar Land Rover just sent its autonomous Range Rover Sport vehicle onto one of the U.K.'s "most challenging road layouts," and the automaker has posted a video online showing exactly how it fared.
Cars

GPS units aren't dead! Our favorite models still do things your phone can't

Love hitting the open road but hate having to rely solely on your phone for getting around? Thankfully, the best in-car GPS systems will allow you to navigate and capitalize on a range of features sans your cellular network. Here are our…
Cars

A public/private autonomous driving institute blooms under the Arizona sun

Arizona Governor Doug Ducey announced the Institute for Automated Mobility (IAM), partnering government, academic, and private organizations to develop self-driving tech and safety standards. Intel is the first private-sector member.
Cars

Ford imagines a future without traffic lights or stop signs

Ford is using vehicle-to-vehicle communication (V2V) tech to allow cars to pass through intersections without stopping. The experimental "Intersection Priority Management" system basically acts as air traffic control for cars.
Cars

The supersized BMW X7 is coming with a grille you can park a 2 Series on

BMW will soon expand its lineup with a new range-topping SUV named the X7. The first-ever BMW X7 is shaping up to be the 7 Series of the SUV world in terms of size, price, and image.
Cars

Can't see all of a sudden? Our quick guide on defogging your car windows

Did you suddenly lose exterior visibility while driving because of foggy windows? Don't panic! Here's our quick guide on defogging your car windows in a safe manner while on the go, and a few steps on how to prevent them.
Cars

Carbuying can be exhausting: Here are the best used car websites to make it easier

Shopping for a used car isn't easy, especially when the salesman is looking to make a quick sale. Thankfully, there are plenty of sites aimed at the prospective buyer, whether you're looking for a sedan or a newfangled hybrid.
Cars

Are European-style self-dimming and glare-free headlights coming to the U.S.?

The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) proposes to allow adaptive LED headlights on vehicles sold in the U.S. Adaptive LEDs automatically lower headlight intensity when they detect pedestrians or oncoming vehicles.