2015 Volvo V60 Sportswagon: Start of Drive-E

By Sue Mead, March 1st, 2014

What words come to mind when you think Volvo? Swedish design, ingenuity, and safety? They're a given. How about power, driving pleasure, and fuel economy? These are the newest core values for Volvo and buyers will find all of them in the all-new 2015 V60 sportswagon.

Manufacturer photo: Volvo's transformation unfolds highlighted by the well-celebrated arrival of the dynamic 2015 V60 sportswagon and the debut of Drive-E powertrains -- with a new family of powerful, lightweight, low-emission engines yielding class-leading fuel economy.
Manufacturer photo: Volvo's transformation unfolds highlighted by the well-celebrated arrival of the dynamic 2015 V60 sportswagon and the debut of Drive-E powertrains -- with a new family of powerful, lightweight, low-emission engines yielding class-leading fuel economy.

The 2015 V60 is available with Volvo's new Drive-E powertrain that's engineered for more power, better fuel economy, and more earth-friendly driving. And, if you remember Volvo vehicles as "boxy," those days are past: Today's Volvo is svelte and the new wagon has strikingly attractive "coupe-like" styling.

While Volvo's wagon heritage began more than 60 years ago with the introduction of its first wagon to Americans, this all-new premium wagon model has a more chic exterior and interior, as well as updated technology. Already a superstar on the European roadways, the new sportswagon has been revamped for a modern lifestyle, replacing the utilitarian Volvos from a few years ago (V50, V70, and XC70) that gained notoriety with a modicum of off-road prowess.

The 2015 Volvo V60 is available in front- or all-wheel drive, comes with a choice of three different engines matched to two different transmissions, and has a full suite of driver aids and safety features. It also boasts such new creature comforts as heated front and rear seats, a heated steering wheel, and, for buyers who enjoy performance, optional sport seats, a performance-tuned suspension, and 19-inch alloy wheels. The front-wheel-drive 2015 Volvo V60 starts at $35,300.

Underhood, the V60 with AWD is powered by a choice of two engines that are shared with its sibling S60 sedan: a 250-horsepower, 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine or a 325-hp, 3.0-liter, turbocharged inline six-cylinder. Both engines are matched to a six-speed automatic transmission.

Manufacturer photo: Volvo's transformation unfolds highlighted by the well-celebrated arrival of the dynamic 2015 V60 sportswagon and the debut of Drive-E powertrains -- with a new family of powerful, lightweight, low-emission engines yielding class-leading fuel economy.

A wide grille with eye-catching front lighting and a sculpted hood define the front end, while prominent wheel arches and sleek side glass refresh the "wagon look" at the sides; the snubbed backend is offset by an appealing bumper plate and integrated, dual exhaust tips. All V60s boast a standard moonroof.

Inside, the 43.8 cubic feet of cargo space will appeal to consumers who want to carry five passengers and have more utility. The upscale cabin borrows design cues from contemporary Scandinavian furniture, with a clean array of knobs, gauges, and displays. The front seats are ergonomically designed to grip in tight turns, while the 40/20/40 split rear seats maximize flexibility for riders and cargo.

Our recent drive of the 2015 V60 was designed to try out Volvo's new powertrain. Called "Drive-E," the smaller, lighter engine brings higher performance and lower emissions; it's available in front-wheel-drive only.

The V60 Drive-E turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine generates 240 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft of torque. It is paired with an eight-speed automatic transmission that comes with paddle shifters and goes from 0-to-60 mph in approximately 6.1 seconds. Fuel economy estimates are 25 city/37 highway/29 combined, and it requires premium fuel.

Our V60 tester was a Drive-E Premier Plus (other models are base, Premier, Platinum. and Platinum Plus). Painted a soft Power Blue, the sportswagon was equipped with off-black leather sport seats and 19-inch Bor Diamond Cut wheels. Over the course of a 200-mile-plus drive, we were impressed by the wagon's animated performance that comes from its turbocharging. Of note is Volvo's start/stop technology, which shuts down the engine when the car reaches a standstill in order to save fuel. We found this start/stop feature a bit rougher than we have experienced from other automakers.

Manufacturer photo: Volvo's transformation unfolds highlighted by the well-celebrated arrival of the dynamic 2015 V60 sportswagon and the debut of Drive-E powertrains -- with a new family of powerful, lightweight, low-emission engines yielding class-leading fuel economy.

The seamless eight-speed gearbox is engineered to optimize shift points, engine control, and throttle response. An ECO+ mode can be activated by the driver to improve fuel economy by as much as an additional 5 percent, depending on driving style, temperature, and climate. Its ECO-coast mode helps conserve kinetic energy by disengaging the engine, allowing the V60 to coast when pressure on the accelerator is released.

We appreciated the snug seats and comfortable interior with its luxurious look and feel. We found the new, easy-to-read Thin Film Transistor instrument panel appealing and instructive. Buttons allow the driver to select from three different themes: "Elegance" has a traditional appearance designed with a large, circular speedometer bordered by secondary displays; the "ECO" setting brings green background illumination with an Eco meter display; and "Performance" is set up with red background illumination for a more dynamic look and uses a tachometer to replace the speedometer, with a digital readout of speed vehicle speed.

Specifications

Base price $35,300 (as tested: $36,225)
Curb weight 3,527 lbs.
Displacement 2.0-liter
Epa mileage rating 25 mpg city, 37 mpg highway
Fuel capacity 17.8 gal.
Horsepower (net) 240 at 5600 rpm
Motor type 16-valve turbocharged 4-cylinder
Overall length 182.5 in.
Torque (lb.-ft.) 258 at 1500-4000 rpm
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Vehicle type 5-passenger FWD midsize wagon
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