Is the new Volvo V60 the coolest family estate on sale?
What do you call an SUV cut off at the knees? The answer of course is an estate and one firm not about to give up on that is Volvo, as its new model to have its world debut at the Geneva Motor Show on 6 March shows.
Volvo first came up with the idea of a big wagon with the Duett in 1953, and even though SUVs have been dominating the headlines Volvo’s faith in the layout has remained – as unshakable as its estate cars have been capacious.
Besides, in these days of scaleable product architecture one platform really can do it all, from saloon to estate to the addition of 250mm or so of height to make an SUV. And few of those are more handsome and able than the latest XC60.
It follows that if you replace XC (for cross country) with V (for versatility) you get a Volvo 60-series that is just as handsome and able and that pretty much is what the new V60, shown here for the first time, delivers.
There’s not too much detail so far but what is clear from the pictures is that the new mid-size estate has the proportions, body sculpting, Scandi minimalist interior and signature design flourishes that have made the laid-back cool of the latest generation of Volvos so popular.
This is only the second-generation V60 but its heritage goes way back: to the 850, which begat the V70 which then split between compact V60 and ginormous V90, each mirroring equivalent saloons and SUVs.
In the new V60’s case, such close family ties will ensure that not just the looks and platform but also likely model range, engine line-up, connectivity, driver aids and of course safety are all carried over to the estate from the latest XC60.
That means a big engine range: petrol and diesel units between 148bhp (the D3 diesel entry engine from the S60) and 247bhp, with a pair of plug-in hybrid models at the top, the T6 with 335hp and the T8 with 385hp, both with all-wheel drive.
That latter figure is more than the outgoing V60 Polestar performance version offered, but there’s no word yet on whether the reinvented Polestar brand – committed to high performance via electrification – is going to feature in the new range.
Safety and driver assist technologies come from the XC60 and the 90-series cars, says Volvo, and include City Safety with Autobrake which is the only such system to recognise and react to pedestrians, cyclists and large animals. There’s a 4G connection and intuitive tablet-style touchscreen.
And you can sign up for a V60 for one monthly flat-fee subscription in Volvo’s new ownership scheme. This gives you the option to chop and change Volvo models – so yes, estate owners could switch to an XC60 when they needed to. Sometimes, after all, a higher-riding SUV just can’t be beat.