Tackles nightmare conditions, feels like a dream
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The Sell: The premium AWD sports wagon
The Test: Our first impression of Volvo’s new compact wagon ($37,250; 20 mpg city/29 hwy)? These are the most comfortable and supportive front seats we’ve ever sat on.
From there, the V60 only got better. Attacking a series of S turns in the Rocky Mountains above Denver, the chassis pulled off the schizoid feat of staying glued to the road while rolling softly over rutted and potholed tarmac. The 2.5-liter, five-cylinder turbo engine catapulted the V60 out of corners and up steep inclines, even in the thin air above 8,000 feet. Powering through gravel hairpins, the Instant Traction AWD system shepherded power to whichever tire had the best grip to hold the vehicle’s line. All the while, the whisper-quiet cabin and plush materials made us feel like we were piloting an interstate cruiser rather than a nimble canyon carver.
Big picture: The V60 makes difficult roads and driving conditions feel easy.
What’s Missing? We found the V60 has a cramped rear seat that skimps on legroom (the Honda Fit’s back seat feels luxurious by comparison) and dismal fuel economy—roughly 20 miles per gallon average on interstate and mountain roads. These days there are full-size pickups that do better. Still, it’s hard to dwell on gas mileage when punching past a conga line of grom-packed SUVs on the way to the ski hill on a powder day.
The Verdict: A luxe cross-country road-tripper disguised as a spritely sports wagon