And why you don't need a crossover or SUV.
Whenever an automaker reveals a new wagon model, we always brace ourselves for the announcement that it won't be coming to the US. Wagons make up just 1.4 percent of new car sales in the US and one model, the Subaru Outback, accounts for a whopping 85 percent of that meager volume. Customers here simply prefer crossovers and SUVs mainly because an entire generation was conditioned to hate wagons after being toted around in the back of something with fake wood paneling on the side.
We've got news for those people, wagons aren't "uncool" anymore. Shoppers will still say that wagons look like boring family vehicles but when every car in the neighborhood is a silver crossover, the wagon now stands out as the choice for automotive connoisseurs.
Volvo is one of the few automakers left that sells wagons in the US, four of them to be exact. CarBuzz was recently sent a 2020 Volvo V60 to review and after a week of driving it, we think that it's better than almost any sedan or crossover.
Volvo's current design language looks stunning no matter which car it appears on, so the V60 is already starting out well. The Thor's hammer LED headlights and small grille present a friendly Swedish appearance without looking polarizing like many other modern luxury cars. The same can be said of the S60 sedan, with which the V60 shares a platform, but things change when you come around the back.
Volvo's S60 is by no means an unattractive car but the V60's long roof allowed the designers to better stretch out those flowing European body lines. The company's signature vertical taillights have been beautifully integrated and help create what we think is the prettiest wagon on sale today. You can opt for a sportier V60 R-Design or Polestar Engineered model but the understated elegance of our T5 Momentum tester suited the car's personality perfectly. Even the subtle shade of Birch Light Metallic paint, which would be a boring color on its own, flows beautifully on the V60's body.
Our number one argument for wagons over crossovers is their driving manners. Because wagons sit low to the ground, like a sedan, they handle with poise and grace. The V60 isn't tuned to be sporty, at least not in the Momentum trim level, but it still corners with the sophistication you'd expect of a European car.
Crossovers are comparatively compromised by their higher ride heights. With the center of gravity high, crossovers tend to roll more through the corners. You also pay a penalty in fuel efficiency. The V60 achieves up to 34 mpg on the highway compared to the taller XC60 SUV, which can only achieve up to 29 mpg with the exact same engine.
The V60 may be a compact wagon but it still hauls a massive amount of stuff. Its rear cargo area houses 23.2 cubic feet of space compared to just 13.8 cu. ft. in the trunk of an S60 sedan. Fold those seats down, and the V60's massive storage area increases to 60.5 cu. ft. The supposedly more practical crossover, the XC60 is actually a bit smaller than the V60 with 21.6 cu. ft. behind the second row. With the seats folded, the XC60 does pull ahead with 63.3. cu. ft. but we'd easily sacrifice that extra space for the V60's driving manners, fuel economy, and styling.
Most luxury automakers fill their interior with generic leather, sometimes offering bright colors to break up the copycat monotony. But Volvo has dared to be different with the V60. Available only on the base T5 Momentum, a no-cost option called Blonde City Weave Textile Upholstery makes the already gorgeous interior design stand out even more. This plaid seat is not only fabulously comfortable, but it also acts as a conversation piece any time someone enters your car. It is also worth noting that while the V60 can be optioned with the eye-catching interior, the S60 sedan can not.