While most automakers have given up on the station wagon in the face of insatiable SUV demand, the Volvo V60 is proof that it's still a viable body style available in several guises, including the standard gasoline V60 and the plug-in Recharge. Only a few competitors remain in the USA, and even those aren't direct rivals, including the likes of the Audi A4 allroad; but that hasn't stopped the Swedish wagon from pulling out all the stops to impress us. And impressed we are, even if the base T5 engine isn't all that powerful. Luckily, the T8 on the hybrid more than makes up for it with 415 horsepower and 494 lb-ft of torque. Both are frugal drivers with loads of passenger and cargo space. Of course, like any car from Volvo, the cabin is immaculately crafted and outfitted with all the tech you could ever want.
The V60 has received a number of small changes across the board for the new year. Like basically every other Volvo, each model is now outfitted with LED headlights, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross-traffic alert, auto-dimming side mirrors, and additional USB charging ports as standard. More specifically, the Momentum has updated the styling of its 18-inch wheels, while the R-Design now sports glossy black exterior accents. The plug-in hybrid has been rebranded the Recharge, but not much else has changed about it. When you go to build your V60, you will see that some of the old packages have been deleted and their features spread among the new options, while some features can now only be unlocked by upgrading to a higher trim level.
The old blocky wagons of yore may still hold a place in the hearts of purist fans, but the shapely curves of the V60 station wagon are far more seductive in our opinion. The front fascia is dominated more by the Thor's Hammer LED headlights than the grille, which is reserved in comparison. It still features the trademark diagonal bar, though, which plays host to the Volvo logo. Spin it around and large, L-shaped taillights ride up the sides, while the dual tailpipes embed themselves within the rear bumper. As standard, the wagon rides on 18-inch alloy wheels, though larger 19-inch variants are available, which the Recharge receives in a different style. The R-Design and V60 Recharge also differ in that they get a unique front bumper and grille, while the latter also receives blacked-out tailpipes. At every level, a power liftgate and panoramic sunroof are standard fare.
The V60 and V60 Recharge are essentially the same vehicle, with the same platform, so most of their dimensions match. From nose to tail, the wagon measures 187.4 inches in length, with a 113.1-inch wheelbase separating the wheels and creating a large, cozy cabin. Width is standard, too, at 75.4 inches with the mirror folded in, while each model stands 50.9 inches tall. Weight is where they invariably differ, though. The regular V60 ranges from 3,813 - 3,854 pounds, while the Recharge tips the scales at a hefty 4,528 lbs, thanks to its heavier powertrain and AWD setup.
Across the V60 range, a palette of nine colors is available for buyers to customize their ride. However, the only standard option is Black Stone. All the rest are metallic paints and require an additional investment of $645; these include Pebble Grey, Osmium Grey, Pine Grey, Denim Blue, Crystal White, Birch Light, and Fusion Red. The Recharge PHEV has a more limited palette that comprises the same standard Black Stone as well as the extra-cost Osmium Grey and Crystal White, but it also gets exclusive access to Bright Silver Metallic, which conjures the kind of futuristic images that electrification is all about. The R-Design from the non-hybrid range also has an exclusive color option to tout, Bursting Blue Metallic, although it costs no more than the other premium paints.
In its base configuration, the Volvo V60 wagon is no performance machine. In fact, it actually feels a little underpowered. Since the T6 is no longer available, you only get access to the T5, which takes a more lethargic 6.4 seconds to pull the weighty wagon from 0 to 60 mph. To top it all off, the motor drones rather unpleasantly when pushed to perform and there is no option of an all-wheel drivetrain. This means that camping trips are off the menu, unless the dirt roads are well-traveled, and those living in areas prone to heavy storms or snow may need to look elsewhere for better grip.
The T8 found in the hybrid is a much better performer, with the electrical assistance doing just as much to improve power outputs as fuel efficiency. Thanks to this, the Recharge dispatches the 0-60 benchmark in a brisk 4.3 seconds, and it can climb to a top speed that's electronically limited to 112 mph. Since it comes standard with an all-wheel drivetrain, it's more capable off-road or on slippery surfaces, but since the electric motors are in charge of powering the rear axle, you need to ensure the battery has some charge. Regardless of which powertrain you end up with, the V60 is only rated with a maximum towing capacity of 2,000 lbs.
The standard V60 and the plug-in Recharge each get their own powertrain. The turbocharged T5 engine on the gas-fed wagon displaces 2.0 liters to develop 250 horsepower and 258 lb-ft of torque. These outputs are subpar for the racy wagons we have come to love, such as the Audi A4 allroad or the Jaguar XF Sportbrake. Still, it's enough to move the V60's sizable rump around town. An eight-speed automatic gearbox directs the power to the front wheels only, with no option to upgrade to an all-wheel drivetrain.
The PHEV receives a T8 powertrain instead. The engine itself is a twin-charged four-cylinder similar to the one found in the regular wagon. However, the additional electrical components give it a power-up that increases outputs to 415 hp and 494 lb-ft. Thanks to this galvanic upgrade, the Recharge feels like a true sports wagon, and the same smooth eight-speed automatic does duty rowing the gears. Since it has a lot more power to work with, the hybrid V60 gets an all-wheel drivetrain as standard.
Not every luxury automobile is concerned with being perceived as a sporty status symbol. Sometimes, just being an unequivocally comfortable cruiser is enough, and this is the philosophy behind the V60. Ride comfort is where it earns most of its points, thanks to a perfectly crafted suspension that absorbs imperfections with ease. Even mid-corner bumps don't do much to disrupt the wagon, though you probably shouldn't be taking turns at high speeds.
On the plus side, the steering is accurate, if a little too light to be fun. The steering does a pretty good job of letting you know what the wheels are doing. If you're confident in your skills, you can safely throw the hefty wagon into a corner and know that it will come out on the other side exactly where you expect it to. Those inclined to this sort of activity might enjoy the sporty aesthetic of the R-Design, which gets a slightly more athletic chassis. But no matter how hard you try, the Volvo will never be as fun to drive as some of its European rivals.
Since it gets access to a lot more power, the T8 Recharge does a much better job of satisfying the speed demon within. Thanks to some Polestar modifications, the PHEV is able to control its outputs to deliver a much more engaging driving experience. But if you want to cool things down a little, just switch from Pure to Comfort, and all that power is brought to heel, prioritizing smooth sailing over straight-line performance. And, if you need to deal with slippery roads, Constant ensures that the all-wheel drivetrain gets the right distribution of power to maintain its grip and poise.
Regardless of which of the two configurations you opt for, the V60 wagon is actually quite a frugal driver. The standard setup is restricted to front-wheel-drive, too, which helps it stay really competitive in terms of fuel economy. Based on the EPA tests, the V60 returns 23/34/27 mpg across the city/highway/combined cycles, which looks good when compared to the 24/30/26 mpg from Audi's A4 allroad. Ignoring the hybrid components, the T8 engine on the V60 Recharge only returns 21/31/25 mpg, but its overall mileage figures look better when you take into account its 69 MPGe with the assistance of electric power.
The gasoline-only variant receives a 14.5-gallon tank, while the hybrid actually gets a larger 15.9-gallon tank. This gives them a maximum range of 390 and 477 miles, respectively, when driving in mixed conditions. The PHEV has an all-electric range of 22 miles and will take between three and five hours to fully recharge the battery.
There may very well be no such thing as a Volvo with an unappealing interior, and the V60 won't be the first. Regardless of trim, the cabin is spacious and stylishly appointed, with genuine leather offered even on the base model. Similarly, the entry-point Momentum receives a plethora of tech features covering comfort, convenience, and safety. Considering how much you get, it's quite the feat that the Swedish engineers were able to lay it all out in such an efficient manner. Accessing everything through a single screen may take a bit of learning, but you'll appreciate the lack of clutter once you get used to it. Naturally, as you move up the scale, more features are added and the level of luxury improves.
Wagons are designed to haul whole families around with ease, and the Volvo V60 is no exception. There is loads of room on offer, no matter where you are seated. However, there may not be quite enough shoulder room in the back to seat three adults side-by-side. You could conceivably squeeze in three children, though. Of course, passengers get spoiled up front with room to stretch their legs, but those in the back will have a hard time finding anything to complain about. Both front seats are power-adjustable with lumbar support, and the driver's seat offers memory settings for multiple drivers. Heating can be added via the available packages, although the Recharge has this function as standard, along with extra lumbar support and passenger seat memory. The upper trim levels of the V60 add ventilation and massage functions, though. Getting in and out of the wagon is a simple affair, but the length of the vehicle can hinder visibility at times. Luckily, all the driver-aids needed to overcome this come standard.
Trying to find a piece of cheap plastic inside the Volvo is a futile endeavor. Every surface is coated in only the best, and the seats offer leather upholstery right from the get-go. Your color options at this level include Blond, Maroon Brown, and Charcoal with Linear Lime wood inlays or Blond City Weave with Iron Ore inlays. The R-Design steps it up a notch with Nappa leather and Open Grid textile upholstery in a choice of Charcoal and Slate, paired with Metal Mesh inlays. The V60 Recharge gets the same interior but in Charcoal only. At the top of the standard range, the Inscription reverts to plain leather, but it pairs this with Driftwood inlays, instead.
With the advent of the hyper practical SUV, wagons are no longer considered the kings of cargo. However, they still supply loads more trunk space than your run-of-the-mill sedan. That said, the V60 is not topping the segment in this regard. Behind the rear seats, it presents buyers with 23.2 cubic feet of cargo capacity, a full cube less than the A4 allroad offers. The hybrid doesn't sacrifice any of this to make room for its battery, and the maximum capacity with the seats down is 50.9 cubic feet. However, it does get storage pockets beneath the floor, which more than make up for this. In either case, you get a set of grocery hooks and elastic straps to tie down any loose items.
Around the cabin, there are a variety of storage solutions for smaller items. The glove compartment and center console are the most spacious, but the door pockets are deep and wide enough for water bottles or the like. Each row of seats also receives a pair of cupholders.
While not all that much is new, the Volvo V60 is still one of the most well-equipped vehicles on the road, even in its most basic guise. Leather upholstery comes standard, along with a panoramic sunroof and dual-zone climate control. Both front seats are power-adjustable with lumbar support, but only the driver's seat has memory as standard. Once you upgrade to the R-Design, extra lumbar support and quad-zone climate control, while the Inscription wraps the shifter in leather, too. Naturally, you get a variety of conveniences such as keyless entry and push-button start, but it's the safety suite that makes the wagon so great for families. Blind-spot monitoring and rear cross-traffic alert are new additions to the entry-level offering, bolstering the rear park assist, lane keep assist, forward collision avoidance, and cruise control. The gas-fed V60 can add a surround-view camera, a head-up display, and Pilot Assist to this, along with rear park assist, but the Recharge gets all of this gratis. It also gets the optional heated steering wheel and heated seats, along with a 12-volt cargo area power outlet.
Made for the family, the Volvo comes equipped with all the comforts you need to make a long drive more enjoyable. The base model receives a nine-inch touchscreen programmed with Bluetooth functions, Apple CarPlay, Android Auto, and FM/Satellite radio, which is paired with a high-quality ten-speaker sound system. The upper trims are a modest step up with Sensus Navigation Pro and a 14-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. If that still isn't enough to whet your appetite, a 15-speaker Bowers and Wilkins sound system is available to the R-Design and Inscription. As you'd expect from the ultra-opulent Recharge, it gets the best of the best included with the $20k extra you have to pay just to buy it. Interacting with the suite can take a little practice, since everything is done via a single touchscreen and you need to learn the menus. Once that's done, though, it becomes second nature to flit between applications without taking your eyes off the road for more than a split second.
Although the V60 has not been subject to many recalls over the years, it doesn't score very well in reliability reviews. For 2021, J.D. Power only gave it a rating of 73 out of 100, which is quite low for a premium brand. Part of the reason for this could be due to the mass recall of all Volvo vehicles in 2019-2020 for failure to provide a GPS location in the event of a crash. However, there were also some reports of the automatic emergency braking not engaging when needed.
Despite this, the automaker's warranty is rather average for the segment. It comprises four years/50,000 miles of bumper-to-bumper and powertrain coverage, while roadside assistance is available for four years with unlimited mileage. The Recharge also receives an eight-years/100,000-miles of hybrid battery warranty plan.
Although the IIHS has not evaluated the wagon since 2018, the NHTSA review of the Volvo V60 returned excellent results for the new year. The near-unanimous five-star ratings were marred only by a four-star rating in the front passenger-side test. Both the 2018 variant and the 2020 S60, which is closely related to the V60, received a Top Safety Pick award from the IIHS.
The 2021 Volvo V60 is safer than ever before thanks to some of the more advanced driver aids filtering down to be included in the base offering. Every model now comes equipped with a rearview camera, rear parking sensors, hill start assist, blind-spot monitoring, rear cross traffic alert, lane keep assist, and forward collision mitigation. This can be expanded with the available packages or by upgrading to the pricer V60 Recharge. Additional features include front park assist, adaptive cruise control, a 360-degree camera, distance alert, and Pilot Assist semi-autonomous driving. There is also Park Assist, which is just the parking variant of the self-driving system. Naturally, each vehicle also includes ABS, EBD, stability and traction control, as well as seven airbags: dual front, driver knee, front side, and side curtain.
As one of the few remaining wagons available for sale, the Volvo V60 already has our attention. But keeping it takes a lot more effort, and the Swedish automaker has definitely put in the work. The wagon shares the same DNA as every other vehicle from the brand, so common traits like exceptional quality, refined comfort, and peerless safety are all part and parcel. But adding all this to a station wagon body results in a luxurious family cruiser that is practical and more enjoyable to drive than a top-heavy crossover.
Unfortunately, you do have to fork out a lot more cash to get an all-wheel drivetrain, since this is reserved for the hybrid Recharge only, but if you live in a warm climate with well-maintained roads, this shouldn't deter you from the more affordable FWD models. Alternatively, you could consider the V60 Cross Country, reviewed separately. Similarly, the PHEV gets the better engine option, since the T5 on the standard V60 can feel a little underwhelming.
Nevertheless, these minor shortcomings do little to curb our enthusiasm for this delightful European wagon, especially when we compare it to local competitors like the Buick Regal TourX. There aren't many better ways to transport your family around in such luxury, unless you're willing to spend a whole lot more, and the Volvo V60 does it all while feeling like a lot more car than the asking price would suggest.
While it may be a premium brand, Volvo doesn't ask for the world to own one of its luxurious wagons. The price of the Volvo V60 in its base-model Momentum trim is only $40,950, while the R-Design and Inscription both share the same $46,400 tag. However, you will need to consider the benefits of the Recharge plug-in hybrid before pulling the trigger on the purchase, since the upgrade to electrified performance will cost you a hefty $67,300. Keep in mind that these prices are MSRP and do not include tax, registration, licensing, or destination fees. Volvo charges $995 for the latter.
There are a total of four models bearing the V60 badge to choose from: the Momentum, R-Design, Inscription, and Recharge. The first three all rely on the T5 turbo 2.0L four-cylinder engine mated to an eight-speed automatic gearbox and front-wheel drivetrain. The Recharge receives the much livelier T8 engine, which pairs a higher-output twin-charged four-pot with a set of electric motors. It shares the same eight-speed auto, but comes standard with an all-wheel drivetrain instead.
Standard features of the Momentum include 18-inch alloy wheels, LED head- and taillights, a power liftgate, and a panoramic sunroof. The cabin is upholstered in leather, with power front seats, driver-seat memory, dual-zone climate control, keyless entry, and push-button start. The infotainment centers around a nine-inch touchscreen programmed with Bluetooth, Apple CarPlay, and Android Auto, paired with a ten-speaker sound system that can also play back FM Radio or SiriusXM. There is a 12.3-inch driver-information display, and standard safety tech includes blind-spot monitoring, lane keep assist, rear cross-traffic alert, forward collision avoidance, and cruise control.
The R-Design and Inscription are essentially identical, but where the latter keeps the exterior styling of the Momentum, minus a few stylish tweaks, the former opts for a more aggressive, black-trimmed aesthetic. On both, quad-zone climate control, front-seat cushion extensions, and passenger seat memory are added, along with additional lumbar support, navigation functions, and a 14-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. The R-Design dresses the interior in Nappa leather, while the Inscription sticks with the standard fare and wraps the shifter in leather. The safety suite is bolstered with front park assist, too.
The Recharge includes everything Volvo has to offer, such as heated front seats, a heated steering wheel, an extra 12-volt power outlet, a surround-view camera, Pilot Assist autonomous driving, a head-up display, and a 15-speaker Bowers and Wilkins sound system.
Since it already comes outfitted with all the top specs, the V60 Recharge offers no optional packages. However, all the remaining models allow you to tweak your purchase in one way or another. The Climate Package ($750) is available to all three trims, adding a heated steering wheel, heated windscreen washers, and heated front seats. The Advanced Package is another standard offering, but its price differs between the trim levels. Since the R-Design and Inscription already receive some of the tech in the base package, they only require an extra investment of $1,900, while the more basic Momentum adds another $200. In its entirety, the package comprises a wireless smartphone charger, a 12-volt power outlet in the luggage area, a surround-view camera, a head-up display, high-level interior illumination, and Volvo's Pilot Assist with adaptive cruise control. If, for some reason, you'd rather not upgrade to one of the upper trims, the Momentum can be equipped with some of the upper-trim features via the Premium Package ($1,700). This adds power-folding rear head restraints, front parking assist, Sensus Navigation Pro, a rearview mirror compass, and a HomeLink remote. The Momentum can upgrade to a 14-speaker Harman Kardon sound system for $800, while the R-Design and Inscription can instead choose a 15-speaker Bowers and Wilkins setup for $3,200.
If you're happy with the T5 engine and front-wheel drivetrain, we'd suggest going for the top-tier Inscription trim. It doesn't cost all that much more than the base-level Momentum, and the upgrades to the features list are definitely worth the extra investment. These include extra lumbar support, a larger infotainment interface, navigation, and a superior 14-speaker Harman Kardon sound system. Of course, there are some tantalizing add-ons available, too. The Advanced Package fills in some of the tech gaps to bring the V60 up to the same level as more expensive rivals by adding a head-up display and a 360-degree camera, and the $3,200 Bower and Wilkins sound system is a noticeable improvement over the Harman Kardon setup on the R-Design and Inscription. However, if you find yourself ticking every box in the packages and options sections, you may want to consider the Recharge. Aside from getting every single feature available to the V60 as standard, it also boasts a much more thrilling T8 engine and all-wheel-drive. However, it's super pricey at just under $70k. But, to be honest, the base-level Momentum isn't a bad deal at the price, especially now that more safety features have been made standard.
Essentially, the V90 is just a slightly larger version of the V60, adding ten inches in length and a few hundred pounds of extra weight. This doesn't make as much of an impact on interior dimensions as you may expect, though. Passenger space remains almost exactly the same, and the trunk is only slightly larger at 25.5 cubic feet. The larger wagon also gets the same base engine as the V60, which is even less impressive with more car to pull around. However, it also offers the T6 that used to be available to the smaller vehicle. This upgrade to 316 hp and 295 lb-ft of torque makes quite a big difference, and that's not even mentioning the all-wheel drivetrain that comes included. Naturally, the larger car has a slightly more premium interior. Overall, the V90 is just a slightly better V60, but it costs quite a bit more, especially if you want the T6 powertrain. If you're going to spend that much, you may be better off with the V60 Recharge, since the larger Volvo doesn't have a T8 hybrid option.
Where Volvo aims to deliver a luxurious family station wagon (and succeeds), Subaru has instead targeted the more budget consumer market with the Outback. Starting at well below $30k, the Japanese wagon allows for a choice of two engine options and all-wheel-drive. However, the strongest powertrain is only marginally more capable than the Volvo's and the handling dynamics of the Outback can't match what the V60 offers. But, yet again, this isn't a fight Subaru tries to pick. Instead, it focuses on off-road prowess, which is hardly a surprise given the name. But this definitely isn't enough to sway the vote in its favor, since the Volvo also includes an unbeatable safety suite, and better mileage figures to go along with its premium interior and comfortable ride quality. If you can afford even the base Momentum, you'd be better off than with the top-tier Outback.