Today’s automotive world is full of highly competitive vehicles trying to one up each other. In doing so, so many makes and models have lost their personality in trying to keep up with the Joneses, so to speak. The end result is a gelatinous mush of crossover and SUVs that all kind of look the same.
One automaker has done a great job through the years of maintaining its own persona and standing out. Volvo, even after all the years and a new ownership group, continues to make vehicles that break the mold and certainly can’t get lumped into the mix of the “Joneses.”
Case in point, this week’s tester is the 2021 Volvo V60 Cross Country. This is still a station wagon, or the closest thing to a station wagon that still exists. How refreshing is that? That in this area of compact crossovers and micro SUVs that Volvo continue to put out a station wagon.
From Volvo’s whimsical logo, which reminds me of a necklace Austin Powers might wear, to the distinctive Hammer of Thor headlights, the V60 is full of personality. But this doesn’t mean it’s a relic or stuck in yesteryear. Far from it, as the Volvo V60 is thoroughly modern with lots of elegant touches, bold looks that withstand the test of time and modern automotive technology.
In short, Volvo nails it with this station wagon. It shouldn’t be surprising as Volvo made a lot of money in previous decades making station wagons. It’s great they’re still doing so in 2021.
As for looks, the front end is anchored by the aforementioned Hammer of Thor headlights that perfectly balance the front end. Very few vehicles on the road walk the fine line between being too barren on the front end and being too garish.
Continuing the styling on the back end balances out the V60, as the taillights assume the familiar shape of the head lamps. Dual chrome exhaust tips show off the aggressive side of this vehicle.
If there’s one area that could use a little more it’s the engine. The base engine of the V60 is a turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder. The turbocharged 4-cylinder dominate the industry right now and I generally like many of them. This one felt a little too restrained. The 250 horsepower was adequate, but I wanted it to drive a little more special. As such, it lacked a lot of personality.
The 8-speed automatic transmission does a good job of keeping the turbo raging, but off the line this car is little a too refined. The overall power plant plays it a little too safe. Perhaps that’s the intent since it is after all a station wagon. But for me, I wanted refined aggression and didn’t get it with the V60.
However, that word refinement shows up in bunches inside as the V60 shows that it really isn’t a stodgy, throwback station wagon, but earns its luxury label with an interior that is comfortable, elegant and full of expensive touch points. The overall cabin is outstanding with high-quality materials and stunning touches.
For a station wagon the cargo room is a little lacking. There’s 23.2 cubic feet of space behind the second row. But since the V60 is long with wagon-like styling, I was left wondering where the wasted space went because it didn’t go to the cargo area.
While the organization of the digital cluster and its overall presentation are beautiful and modern, the overall technology of Volvo’s infotainment system lacks intuition. Some steps are unnecessarily cumbersome and have a high learning curve. Once you learn some of the nuances you grow to appreciate their intent, even if the execution is lacking.
The all-wheel drive V60 has an EPA rating of 22 mpg/city and 31 mpg/highway. I averaged nearly 25 mpg in a week’s worth of heavy footed driving.
The T5 trim which is what I drove has a starting price of $45,450. With packages like the Lounge Package and Advanced Package, my tester had a final price of $57,290. Certainly that’s more than station wagons of the past, but again, there’s nothing really throwback or outdated when it comes to the V60.
If you like station wagons and long for the days of the past, and also want a vehicle that has personality and confidence in what it is (and what it isn’t), then the 2021 Volvo V60 may be just what you’re looking for.