Volvo V60 Sport Wagon shows Family Haulers can be Cool

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Volvo's latest should make some moms and dads question why they're considering another compact SUV or crossover. It's gorgeous! And it will no doubt perform better than most top-heavy alternatives.

The V60 Sport Wagon is Volvo's first 60-series wagon, the current midsize wagon dubbed V70. To be clear, the V60 Sport Wagon does not replace the V70, the XC70 or the smaller V50, but is an entirely new model designed to fill the gap between the two. More so, like other 60-series Volvos it will be the performance leader in the overall wagon lineup.

"The figure '60' in our model range nowadays indicates our sportiest models," stated Volvo Cars President and CEO Stephen Odell. "The XC60 was the first step. We took the next step with the all-new S60 sedan - and now we're launching the V60 sports wagon."

Additionally the V60 Sport Wagon, like the new S60 sedan is for the brand's four-door models and XC60 crossover is for its crossover lineup will be the style leader in an already eye-friendly five-door Volvo lineup.

"From the design viewpoint the focus was on making the car as close to a coupe as possible, while retaining that handy extra space at the rear. Our sports wagon does not aim to compete with the traditional estate car. For the customer who wants a lot of load space, there is our V70 or XC70," said Örjan Sterner, head of exterior design for the new Volvo V60. "The dip in the middle of the double wave visually pushes the car down. This enhances the stance and makes the car look sleeker and lower. The sculpted bonnet and the short overhangs front and rear also emphasize the sports car feel."

Volvo also infers its new V60 Sport Wagon will be a driver's car.

"We've pushed the envelope to limits we've never previously approached," said Stefan Sällqvist, head of chassis development for the new V60. "You simply have to drive this car to appreciate how we've driven chassis development to its pinnacle. Take the car out on a narrow, winding country road where every bend brings a new challenge and the new V60 will demonstrate its agility with sparkling enthusiasm."

Part of the performance equation will be the V60 Sport Wagon's diverse powertrain lineup, eight-engines strong in Europe. While its Yamaha-designed and -built V8 will be reserved for the larger S80 and XC90 flagship models, the top-line V60 Sport Wagon T6 will likely arrive here sporting a new 3.0-litre turbocharged V6 dubbed capable of more than 300 horsepower and 324 lb-ft of torque in Euro-trim. An engine the automaker might want to consider is a more fuel-friendly 2.0-litre 2.0T GTDi (Gasoline Turbocharged Direct Injection) four-cylinder making 203 horsepower and 221 lb-ft of torque in European specification, and capable of 0 to100 km/h in 7.9 seconds with the manual gearbox and 8.4 seconds with automatic.

Volvo will also offer the V60 Sport Wagon in diesel form; an alternative that could appeal to current Volkswagen owners looking to step up to something with a little more luxury and style – Audi currently doesn't offer a diesel in its midsize wagon range. Likewise, a diesel-powered V60 Sport Wagon could be a less expensive alternative for Mercedes E-Class wagon fans looking to save a few dollars.

While the diesel might not be a performance powerhouse, its fully loaded T6 model will scoot to 100km/h in a mere 6.6 seconds via a standard six-speed automatic and standard all-wheel drivetrain. The T6 wagon's top speed is limited to 250 km/h (155 mph).

Inside, Volvo promises a thoroughly upscale experience to rival any premium rival, focusing on innovation and performance.

"The interior of the new V60 is all about innovative design in two areas: form and technology," stated Tomas Ahlborg, Project Director for the new V60. "The design is characterized by sporty freshness down to the smallest detail. The technological aspect includes all those smart solutions that contribute to a driving experience unlike that of any other Volvo - from collision avoidance safety and comfort systems to infotainment and audio excellence of absolute world class."

Of course, Volvo has built a name for safety and its new S60 Sport Wagon will be no different in highlighting such attributes despite its performance-oriented attitude.

"Volvo has always led the way w hen it comes to protecting the occupants in our cars," commented Thomas Broberg, Senior Safety Advisor at Volvo Cars. "In recent years we have adopted groundbreaking initiatives that help the driver avoid collisions with other vehicles. Now we are taking a giant stride forward with technology that can contribute to increased safety for unprotected road users as well."

The technology Broberg talks about is Pedestrian Detection, featuring full "auto brake" that can detect "if a pedestrian steps out into the road in front of the car…" and if "the driver does not respond in time, the car can automatically activate the brakes," says the company's press release.

Volvo's initial target for the new V60 Sport Wagon is 50,000 cars per year with at least 90-percent expected to be sold in Europe where wagons are very popular. The top five markets are Sweden, the UK, the Netherlands, Italy and Germany.

"The typical sports wagon customer is an S60 buyer who would like some extra space and flexibility, but without the slightest compromise on sporty design and exciting driving properties," added Odell. "The competition is razor-sharp and the customers in this segment know exactly what they want. That is why we have further boosted the interior's sense of exclusive quality and packed the car with safety- and comfort-related technical innovations. The result is a truly unique sports wagon, in total harmony with its sporty attitude."

The new V60 is to be built at Volvo Cars' Torslanda, Sweden assembly plant, with the first cars expected for European distribution this coming fall. A North American version should be available early next year.

©(Copyright Canadian Auto Press)

Topics: Wagon, Volvo, 2011, V60 Sport Wagon, $40,000 - $49,999,

Organizations: Volvo

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