2015 Volvo V60 T5 Drive-E First Test
I'm a newlywed who plans on starting a family in the near future, but I don't fancy crossovers or SUVs, and I wouldn't be caught dead hauling my kiddies around in a minivan. Because I'm usually lugging camping gear, snow gear, skimboards, skateboards, etc., larger sedans won’t do, and I don't prefer trucks because I love feeling like I'm in my very own Mach 5. That leaves me with wagons. So far, the 2015 Volvo V60 seems like a pretty sweet deal.
That's exactly what it was upon first entry. There's something incredibly refreshing about the interior of a Volvo. The leather is always so supple and silky soft, and the V60's cabin isn’t any different. Slipping into our Premium Plus tester's black leather seats is like the sensation of diving into the softest Egyptian cotton sheets. The seats look absolutely beautiful with the contrasting white stitching, while brushed aluminum elements give the interior a touch of class. Although it's simply elegant inside, some might consider it little too simple. For an all-new car, it's a little disappointing to find the same center stack layout (Volvo will debut a highly touted one in future models), though the instrument cluster is a completely new design with a configurable digital gauge cluster. The gauge features an efficiency indicator with a simple mark that makes it easy to read. If you’re below it, you aren’t at your most efficient. Go above it and you're doing just great. There’s no need to decipher a glowing color-coded display. It’s straightforward and simple, like the V60's design language.
The V60 has been EPA-rated at 25/37 mpg city/highway, and although we weren't able to get Real MPG numbers, the wagon appeared to sip fuel even after a mixture of mountain, city, and highway driving. This is all thanks to Volvo's new family of Drive-E engines, which in the V60 T5 is a 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4 making a healthy 240-hp and 258 lb-ft of torque. There's also a turbocharged and supercharged 2.0-liter making 302 hp and 295 lb-ft, but that engine hasn't found its way underneath the hood just yet. Unfortunately, the Drive-E engine isn't available on T5 AWD models yet either, so it wouldn't be fair to compare fuel economy figures to those of the Audi Allroad and the BMW’s 328i Xdrive Sports Wagon.
Start/stop technology is part of the Drive-E package, and although it doesn't shake the car as much as BMW's tech does, it's not nearly as smooth as Mercedes-Benz's version. Either way, power delivery is smooth and surprisingly quick, and turbo lag is nonexistent. Accelerating from 0-60 mph took just 6.3 seconds, while getting to the quarter-mile took 14.9 seconds at 92.4 mph. For comparison, the 211-hp Allroad was a hair slower, completing the 0-60-mph-sprint in 6.5 seconds and the quarter-mile in 15.0 seconds at the same trap speed as the V60. Do keep an eye on the speedometer, though, because the hearty engine and the wagon's quiet cabin can be a dangerous combination -- 82 mph feels like 65 mph.
Our Sport package-equipped tester exhibited a bit more sportiness than expected on the jaunt up to Big Bear Lake. "The 19-inch wheels and lowered ride height, along with stiffer spring, dampers and anti-roll bars, add up to ride and handling equivalent to a sports sedan’s," we previously said of the V60. The wagon effortlessly hugged every kink in the road with very little lean. On our figure-eight course, the V60 managed a 26.5-second time averaging 0.66 g. The Allroad does the same lap in 27.1 seconds at an average of 0.64 g, but the V60 really shows the Allroad up in the braking test. The V60 needed 103 feet to stop from 60 mph versus the Allroad's 120 feet, but that's probably partially because the Allroad is 156 pounds heavier than the 3721-pound Swede. The Sport package also adds sport seats that feel like they mold around you, plus paddle shifters for the eight-speed automatic that shuffles quickly through gears. I couldn't agree more with associate editor Mike Febbo on the V60's steering: "The steering is smooth, with on-center resistance that builds as soon as you add input."
Impressive performance, but will it fulfill the needs of those with families and for those that haul around lots of stuff? The V60's cabin felt spacious both up front and in the back. The V60 boasts the same 37.4 inches of headroom for rear passengers as the Audi. Shoulder room is greater all around in the Volvo, as is front legroom (41.9 inches versus 41.3). Rear passengers will appreciate more legroom in the Audi (35.2 inches versus 33.5). All dimensions are comparable, but because the Audi is a bit longer, it wins by a margin when it comes to cargo capacity, with 50.5 cubic feet of space compared to the V60's 43.1 cubic feet. Boiling it down to cost, the base price of a 2015 V60 will run you $36,225, while the base price of an Audi Allroad is $41,595. How you option your wagon is at your discretion. Our tester with the $2500 Premier Plus package and a $900 blind-spot monitoring system run the cost up to $42,225.
The 2015 V60 proved to be an honest and simple package. What you see is what you get, and that seems like a pretty sweet deal. While Febbo will take his in Chrystal White, I'll wait until the Drive-E engine is available with all-wheel drive before I take mine in Flamenco Red Metallic.
|2015 Volvo V60 T5 Drive-E|
|PRICE AS TESTED||$42,225|
|VEHICLE LAYOUT||Front-engine, FWD, 5-pass, 4-door wagon|
|ENGINE||2.0L/240-hp/258-lb-ft turbo DOHC 16-valve I-4|
|CURB WEIGHT (F/R DIST)||3721 lb (60/40%)|
|LENGTH x WIDTH x HEIGHT||182.5 x 73.4 x 58.4 in|
|0-60 MPH||6.3 sec|
|QUARTER MILE||14.9 sec @ 92.4 mph|
|BRAKING, 60-0 MPH||103 ft|
|LATERAL ACCELERATION||0.89 g (avg)|
|MT FIGURE EIGHT||26.5 sec @ 0.66 g (avg)|
|EPA CITY/HWY/COMB FUEL ECON||25/37/29 mpg|
|ENERGY CONS., CITY/HWY||135/91 kW-hrs/100 miles|
|CO2 EMISSIONS||0.66 lb/mile|