Remember when you were a kid and all you wanted for Christmas was a remote control car, only to unwrap a mini matchbox, wooden train set, or some other sub-standard piece of automotive equipment? Originally we were offered a Subaru Impreza to test-drive, then told a Chevrolet Colorado would be supplied. Instead, we were gifted the 2015 Volvo V60 T6 R-Design in Passion Red, and if we’re honest, it beats any childhood RC fantasy we could conjure.
‘Polished’ and ‘refined’ aren’t words usually associated with wagons. Unfairly labelled as clunky, boxy and uncool, one look at the new V60 T6 R-Design and you’ll be forced to rethink everything you thought you knew about these sturdy vehicles. Move over obnoxious SUVs, the wagon is here to reclaim its former glory!
Based on the S60 sedan, the V60 comes in three trim levels and the R-Design is at the top of the food chain. With impressive exterior enhancements, its obvious this wagon was well thought out, and we must commend the curves it boasts. Smooth, subtle lines erase any preconceived notions of boring boxy-ness. Rear and lower front spoilers give way almost gracefully to the R-Design rear diffuser and polished tailpipes.
The sleek and solid body is elevated on reliable 18-inch alloy wheels and All-Season tires, and topped off with a black matte grill and LED daytime running lights, because as we’ll see, there’s no such thing as too many safety features where Volvo are concerned.
If the outside impressed us, then the interior had us salivating all over the R-Design leather sports seats. Sure, it’s not the flashiest fit-out, but the interior architecture is stylishly unassuming and truly something to behold.
Crazy comfortable R-Design leather sports seats, anyone? R-Design leather sport tilt and telescopic steering wheel and gearshift knob, perhaps? Or maybe a splash of unique aluminium inlay and a set of aluminium sports pedals are more up your alley.
Good news: you’ll get all this and so much more inside the whisper-quiet cabin, but to be frank, we can’t get past the seats. 8-way power front seats feature plush, supportive bolsters, driver position memory and adjustable lumber support. Even the rear seating proved comfy. Admittedly, a tad more legroom would be nice, although when wouldn’t it?
No friends or family? No worries. Touch a button to flip down the rear headrests, or fold the backseats down completely, replacing your crushing loneliness with an appreciation for Volvo’s spacious cargo capacity. Who needs a family when you have room to transport a herd of cattle?
Looking past the seating, the V60 T6 R-Design possesses dual dimming inside rear-view mirror and electronic parking brake, ignition and start/stop button. Adding to the sporty ambience is a generously sized blue adaptive digital TFT display and power glass moonroof.
In terms protection, 3-point safety belts with pretensioners keep drivers and passengers secure in the unibody high strength steel safety cage, while the whiplash protection system (WHIPS), side impact protection system (SIPS) and multiple airbags provide added assurance.
If that wasn’t enough, the city safety speed collision avoidance system will leave you feeling invincible.
Like a 1999 New Years Eve celebration, the Volvo V60 T6 R-Design is a pyrotechnic display bursting with technological features. An upgraded in-dash voice-activated infotainment system – known as Sensus – greets drivers with its 7-inch colour LCD monitor encompassing 3D connectivity and Sensus Navigation System.
Music aficionados will be pleased, as the 160W high performance, eight-speaker audio system showcases HR radio with USB and AUX inputs, hands-free Bluetooth with audio streaming (through Spotify) and in-dash single CD with WMA and MP3 capabilities. Expect clear, precise audio and bass rivalling the likes of Flea and Les Claypool.
The Volvo On-Call app is brilliant, and allows users to remotely lock/unlock, start the engine, initiate the car locator (so very handy for those who have a tendency to forget where they’ve parked), and even set the vehicle to your preferred temperature. You could probably send it a grocery list and the wagon would follow through. This car is more than smart; it’s the high achieving valedictorian of car technology. As well as the iPad, compatible devices include iPhone (iOS 6.0 or later), Android (2.3 or later) and selected Windows phones.
Despite all these tech-savvy features, we were disappointed a backup camera was omitted from the list of safety add-ons. This seems surprising in light of Volvo’s penchant for quality and considering how ubiquitous backup cameras have become in recent years.
The all-wheel-drive V60 doesn’t pretend to be a performance vehicle, but the set-up is more than satisfactory. Indeed, it provides a refreshingly smooth and notably quick ride.
A 3.0L twin-scroll turbocharged incline 6-cylinder engine (featuring CVVT and DOHC) supplies power to the wagon’s wheels via the automatic 6-speed transmission with quick shift paddle shifters. Capable of 325 horsepower and 354 lb.-ft. of torque, this is no pushover. The stats are nothing to sneeze at, with zero to 60 mph reached in around 5.5 seconds and a whopping 3300-pound towing ability.
A sports chassis proves beneficial to handling, and is supported by front MacPherson strut and rear multi-link suspension. Corner traction control through torque vectoring and power assist rack and pinion steering add stability and dependability to the driving experience.
Unfortunately, the ‘Sport Mode’ yields little perceptible difference. Nevertheless, the electrohydraulic steering wheel makes the large wagon feel like a compact around corners, where rear wheel power shines and the blind spot monitoring system keeps misadventures in check.
Needless to say, the braking components of the R-Design are second to none. Anti-lock braking system (ABS) with ready alert brakes and electronic brake distribution and assistance complete the ensemble.
The Dual Xenon headlights with active bending lights are a treat. In fact, I don’t know how I’ll go back to driving – especially nocturnal cornering – without them.
Volvo states fuel economy comes in at 19 mpg in the city and 28 mpg on the highway. During our one-week wagon sojourn an average of 22 mpg was observed. Considering the vehicle’s weightiness (3,790lb) and size, the R-Design is an affordable option.
Our test wagon was valued at $48,225, and keeping in mind the multiple safety features and R-Design components, this price seems reasonable.
Luckily for Volvo, Swedish design and styling are unbeatable. As such, the German-made Audi allroad and BMW 3 Series Sports Wagon – the R-Design’s most obvious competitors – constitute weak competition in the wagon market, with noticeably less power and higher price tags.
We can only hope the success of this vehicle will prove the impetus for a wagon-revival. The suave SUVs days may be numbered.
Photo Credit: Copyright 2015 Victor Mosqueda / Car Fanatics Blog