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2014 Volvo V60 Test Drive and Review written by Bob Plunkett

2014 Volvo V60 Road Test Review

By Bob Plunkett

Taking Route 168, a sand-swept strip of asphalt which streaks across the stark Nevada desert east of Las Vegas, a sleek and stylish V60 T5 5-door sport wagon by Volvo of Sweden flexes its new direct-injected and turbocharged Drive-E engine to fly down the traffic-free road on handsome 10-spoke Pandora alloy wheels.

The V60, derived from a new generation of Volvo's mid-size S60 notchback sedan, marks the return of a sport wagon to the line after some absence. Squatting low and seemingly poised for action, the V60 is organized around a basic wedge-shaped shell with a high tail and low tapering nose capped by a chrome-finned grille. It closely resembles the S60 sedan, save for that stretched roof and cascading tail door -- so consider it more like a 5-door hatchback then a traditionally boxy 5-door station wagon.

Base model V60 T5 FWD (front-wheel-drive) carries Volvo's new and efficient Drive-E engine coupled to an electronic start-stop system to conserve on fuel. The 2.0-liter in-line-4 with direct injection and turbo charging generates 240 hp at 5600 rpm with the torque hitting 258 lb-ft at 1500-4800 rpm. Additionally, Volvo installs three driver-select drive modes -- Normal, Sport, Eco+.

To control the engine's output of torque, Volvo adds an electronic automatic transmission with eight forward gears and Geartronic sequential shifter. Shift-it-yourself maneuvers are made by throwing the console-mounted shift lever to the right through a gate, then pushing it forward to bump up a gear or pulling it back to drop down one gear at a time. Steering wheel paddle shifters are optional.

EPA-estimated fuel economy figures for the 2.0-liter Drive-E engine climb to 25-mpg city and 37-mpg highway.

The V60 T5 AWD (all-wheel-drive) model combines Volvo's 2.5-liter in-line 5-cylinder turbocharged and intercooled engine with a 6-speed Geartronic automatic transmission and an active-on-demand AWD system by Haldex, a Swedish pioneer in AWD mechanisms. The 2.5-liter I-5 plant produces 250 hp at 5400 rpm with 266 lb-ft of torque running between 1800 and 4200 rpm.

Top model V60 T6 AWD R-Design goes even further with styling, equipment and power numbers.

It stocks the Haldex AWD equipment with 6-speed Geartronic automatic transmission and a 3.0-liter in-line-6 turbocharged and intercooled plant which achieves high torque at relatively low engine speed and without a typical turbo's acceleration lag. The 3.0 Six delivers 325 hp at 5600 rpm and 354 lb-ft of torque between 2100 and 4200 rpm.

The R-Design sport chassis is lowered by 15 mm with a sport-tuned suspension using anti-roll bars, stiffer suspension springs and monotube rear dampers.

We note that all V60 T5 and T6 models provide many intelligent electronic safety controls.

Among the alphabetical soup of acronyms for standard safety gear is an anti-lock brake system (ABS) with hydraulic brake assist (HBA), traction control (TRACS) plus corner traction control (CTC), advanced stability control (ASC) and the dynamic stability and traction control (DSTC) system which employs an on-board computer and various lateral plus linear motion sensors tied to ABS, TRACS and the engine's throttle.

In addition to DSTC yaw control, Volvo adds the driver support system dubbed City Safety, a laser-based low-speed collision-avoidance vehicle control system capable of detecting an immovable object in the path of the sedan. If this equipment determines that the driver is not going to stop the vehicle, then it will activate brakes on its own to prevent or at least lessen a low-speed collision.

Optional electronic safety gear includes a radar-based Blind Sport Information System, Cross Traffic Alert, Lane Keeping Aid, Road Sign Information and Park Assist Pilot.

V60's cabin is airy inside with ample room for heads and legs to stretch, and there are comfort touches to make life easy when you're aboard plus two extremely comfortable front bucket seats. Rear seats split 60/40 into sections. A new instrument panel installs a TFT (thin-film-transistor) digital display with three modes (Elegance, Sport, Eco) adding color themes and cool graphics.

Base model V60 T5 FWD provides standard features like electronic climate system, power controls for front seats, a leather-bound steering wheel and power glass moonroof.

Volvo's MSRP list begins at $35,300 for the V60 T5 FWD and $36,800 for AWD. Top trim V60 T6 AWD R-Design goes to $44,300.

For more information on Volvo vehicles, click here.

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