Is the wagon version of the upcoming Volvo S60, the 2011 Volvo V60, the most beautiful new wagon on the planet? Including extinct models would make it more difficult for the new Volvo V60 to hold the title – there’ve been some hotties in the past. Take the Alfa Romeo 156 Sportwagon in The Good Car Guy’s 100 Favourite Cars, for example. The E34 and E39 versions of the BMW 5-Series Touring had unreal presence. C5 versions of the Audi A6 Avant were amazing.
But the latest Alfa wagon isn’t as great, the most recent 5-Series Touring is questionable, and the A6 Avant is more heavy-handed of late. This leaves the door open for the tremendous new Volvo V60 to walk straight through.
Ah, but we must be as objective as possible; it’d only be fair to other handsome wagons currently available. Handsome wagons are certainly still for sale, after all. Take the Ford Mondeo Estate – she’s a looker. How ’bout Volvo’s own V50, a segment below the V60? Not bad, not bad. Ford’s next Focus wagon has been revealed, and all’s well. The Seat Ibiza ST is cute. Yet most of these cars either aren’t, or won’t ever, be available in North America. Wagons are a Volvo speciality; they sell’em everywhere. So the Volvo V60: what’s good and what’s bad?
Start at the front. Thankfully the large grille helps mask the strange proportions of the headlights. They’re droopy, same with the 2011 S60. Apart from that, the V60’s front end is full of angles and inlets; pulled back at the jowels to keep the look cleaner than it really is. All in all it works, but it could be better.
Viewed from the rear, particularly the rear 3/4 angle, the Volvo V60 is amazing. Volvo’s traditionally high-mounted vertical taillights are more special on the V60, with huge movement beneath the greenhouse. Visibility is a core tenet of safety, and it remains to be seen how Volvo balanced the rising beltline and the need for visibility to remain a selling feature, but the impression of forward motion when seen from the rear is hugely attractive.
In profile, the 2011 (or will it be 2012?) Volvo V60 is slab-sided like many new cars. Wrap-around headlights help with this, as do the strong taillights poking into view from the back. Mirrors are Volvo-size XL. The fuel door, as on so many cars, traverses the main side crease of the car – blacheuy. And the wheelwells of all things appear rather small. This could be good news for Volvo and Volvo buyers, keeping the actual wheel sizes from swelling to unnatural highs, a condition which results in a stiff ride, poorer fuel economy, slower acceleration, and greater expense.
Remember the unrealistic but wild crystal interior Volvo introduced in 2008? The Volvo V60’s interior isn’t as good. Surprise. Volvo interiors have been great for years, though, and the V60’s (especially with burnt orange leather) is a special place.
Volvo V60s will likely be delivered to North America with a 304 horsepower turbocharged inline-six. No, I’m not joking. This is the kind of power we used to see in V70Rs. There’s eight speeds in the automatic transmission, a transmission which sends power to all four wheels. There will likely be another engine at some point, maybe even early on. Routinely ranking 9th in overall luxury car sales in America, Volvo shouldn’t be averse to selling extra thousands of cars each year on the basis of horsepower.