It’s no secret that greater America hasn’t loved wagons for a very long time. What used to be the primary mode of transportation for the nuclear family has been relegated to a quirky joke of sorts, meant only for young artsy parents and college professors. But in Europe and much of the rest of the world, wagons still reign supreme. After all, why not have one when it offers the efficiency and driving dynamics of a car with the utility and interior space of a crossover? Most car enthusiasts will tell you to at least consider one, but time and time again, Americans opt for SUVs. If there’s going to be a wagon that saves the segment in America, it’s got to drive well, offer top technology, and most importantly, make you weak in the knees when you look at it. That ‘cure-all tonic’ wagon, my friends, has finally arrived.
The 2019 Volvo V60, available in early 2019, is the latest in a long line of Volvo family estates, starting all the way back in 1929 and spawning countless successors, some timelessly good-looking like the Amazon Estate of the 1960s, and some beloved for their unabashed boxiness, like the venerable 240. What’s different this time around, though, is that the Swedish brand’s handsome new design language has been lovingly applied to the formula, yielding one of the best-looking and most proportional lift back designs I’ve seen in years. It’s a familiar take on the design cues presented by the longer and more luxurious V90 and the more upright XC60 crossover, but with subtle touches to lower the beltline and hood latch points, giving the V60 an airier interior than the outgoing version and a more aggressive stance, according to designer T. Jon Mayer.
Volvo even chose to launch the new estate at a private home in the suburbs of Stockholm, a tongue-in-cheek nod to how the V60 will be used most of the time, but a tasteful one at that. Juxtaposed against the staid Scandinavian architecture, the V60 looks positively lust-worthy.
Inside, you’ll find almost exactly the same kit from the XC60, with which this car shares most of its Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) construction, but it’s still executed elegantly. The Sensus infotainment screen dominates the center stack and is framed thoughtfully by optional open-pore wood trim and massive, fin-style vents with diamond-cut knobs. There’s a big increase in interior space too, with almost 100 more liters of cargo room out back and a big improvement in rear legroom over the outgoing car.
If Americans can’t get on board with a wagon that looks this good … maybe the wagon is a lost cause here after all.
As for power, the V60 is motivated by a range of turbocharged, twin-charged (turbo- and supercharged) and plug-in hybrid powertrains, from the roughly 250-horsepower T5 front-wheel-drive version all the way up to the 390-horsepower T8 hybrid. The best combination for usability and performance, though, is probably the twin-charged T6 engine, which can come paired with all-wheel-drive and packs a 316-horsepower punch in its platform mate the XC60.
The V60 comes with Volvo’s suite of active safety technology and can be bought through the Care by Volvo program, which combines the cost of a lease with monthly insurance, fully-integrated service, roadside assistance, app support, and more. It’s available on the new XC40 city SUV now, and soon will be across the Volvo range.
If Americans can’t get on board with a wagon that looks this good, offers this much tech and utility and even goes like stink with the ability for occasional all-electric driving, maybe the wagon is a lost cause here after all. But, thankfully, Volvo’s not content to throw in the towel just yet.