Automotive journalists love station wagons. It’s in our DNA. There’s something about their lithe forms, their dorky reputation, and their functional interiors that elicits emotional sighs from anyone who covers the auto industry professionally. Also, they’re often fun to drive.
The Volvo V60 made its debut at the Geneva Motor Show, and I’m very excited about it for all of the above reasons. Also, it’s supposed to have an upgraded Pilot Assist driver assistance system for “improved cornering.” The system supports steering, braking, and accelerating inputs at speeds up to 80 mph. We haven’t tested it out yet, but Volvo is a brand that takes safety ratings very seriously. I’m very interested to see how it stacks up next to Cadillac’s Super Cruise and Tesla’s Autopilot.
Another thing about wagons is that they are an exceedingly rare sight in our current truck-and-SUV-clogged hellscape, at least in the US. (In Europe, the station wagon is a far more common vehicle of choice.) It takes exactly zero effort to buy a new SUV or truck. But if you’re in the market for a station wagon Stateside, you’ll have to do some real legwork to find one; there aren’t a lot out there. That makes them cool and special.
Wagon lovers would be advised to move to Stockholm, where the V60 debuted earlier this year and where wagons, in general, are a staple. (Also, they have socialized medicine, which I hear is great.) The V60, which was introduced to the US in 2014, remains a niche vehicle in North America, but it’s popular across Europe.
In the US, the V60 will launch both the front-wheel drive model that produces 250 horsepower, or the more snow-worthy all-wheel drive version that cranks out 316 horsepower (both powered by gasoline engines). In Europe and elsewhere, the V60 will also be offered as a 390-horsepower plug-in hybrid or a new plug-in hybrid variant with 340 horsepower.
Volvo has pledged to electrify its entire lineup by 2019, but the Swedish automaker says plans to bring hybrid versions of the V60 to the US haven’t been finalized yet. The fossil fuel-burning version goes on sale in 2019.