2015 Volvo V60: Thinking outside the boxy

Written by on March 24, 2015 in Cars and Chicks, Perspectives, Trends - 15 Comments

Krystyna Lagowski 2015 Volvo V60Whatever happened to station wagons, anyway? Used to be, suburban streets were lousy with moms sporting Dorothy Hamill haircuts and driving kid ‘n’ cargo-friendly wagons. Some of those cars had seating for nine, or could accommodate a whole sheet of plywood!

For the most part, the trusty wagon has receded into memory, replaced by the SUV. And nowadays, they’re not even called station wagons. Aficionados call them “long roofs” or “shooting brakes,” because the more archaic, the more cool. Or, if you’re British, “estates.”

But some have never gone away. In fact, there are those that command a die-hard group of devotees, like the Volvo station wagon. Once the boxy domain of university professors and safety zealots, the Volvo wagon has evolved into a comely and spunky set of wheels. And wouldn’t you know, once I started thinking about it, I had to admit – I had a need for a Swede.

Brother Sven

It was hard not to be smitten by the V60’s good looks. The noble and patrician prow was all quiet curves and sloping shoulders. That long roof over the generous cabin, gracefully arched back to a neat rectangle of a back window. Dazzling in crystal white metallic under the late winter sun, I sped off in the V60, swaddled in buttery soft leather upholstery. Here, there were enough ergonomic adjustments to make my physio turn handsprings.

IMG_9513And of course, the Swedes understand winter. My Volvo came with Brother Sven, a little metallic man who lived in the centre stack – all I had to do was prod his anatomy to get heat directed at my corresponding body part. In fact, everything came heated – seats (front and back), steering wheel, windshield and washer nozzles – I was safe from the ravages of winter.

My first stop was lunch with a lovely, lanky colleague, who’d been the proud owner of a fully loaded 1999 Volvo V70 wagon. It had taken her family through thick and thin for many years, and she was suitably impressed with the V60. Oh, it was smaller, but offered so many more little comforts. We flipped up the tailgate, and cooed over the many configurations. There were false bottoms galore; a handy latch to hold up the shelf while you stowed your precious cargo underneath; and a set of nets, in case you wanted to drive around with, say, a furry companion or two. Flip down the back seats, and I could have stowed a year’s worth of kitty litter!

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Setting about my mundane tasks was an absolute pleasure in the V60. The Drive-E engine offered up 240 horsepower, which was superb on the highway. In fact, I made a point of picking up the week’s groceries at a Loblaws in the east end of the city, just so I could jump on the highway and tear past the kids testing the limits in their hot hatches.

Not only was I faster, I was a lot safer, too. The V60 was brimming with so many safety features that it would have taken weeks to try them all – collision warning, pedestrian and bicycle detection, blind spot monitoring, distance alert, driver alert control, lane change assist.

Of course, the real test came when I was racing to meet my cousin for tea uptown. The St. Patrick’s Day parade meant road closures. Grim-faced motorcycle police stood sentry at every major thoroughfare, but I was hardly going to let the gendarme come between me and tiers of scones! The V60 handily spun U-turns on the narrow uptown streets, and we outsmarted a cavalcade of moto-cops by a hair.

IMG_9505Finally, I streaked into a parkade, hastily backed into a spot and jumped out. I turned and looked at the V60, and thanked my lucky stars for its agility.

I clicked the remote to lock the doors, and the rear-view mirrors flashed and folded in.

It was as if the V60 was bowing and bidding me a fond farewell.

Pinkies up!

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15 Comments on "2015 Volvo V60: Thinking outside the boxy"

  1. Ken Dowell March 24, 2015 at 3:42 am · Reply

    Just mention the word station wagon and I envision something with wood panels on the sides. Seriously, there is really a fine line between station wagons and a lot of the crossover SUVs. Remember looking at Volvo and seeing the gas mileage was pretty bad. Is that still the case?

    • Krystyna Lagowski March 24, 2015 at 2:55 pm · Reply

      Haha, I suspect there are many folks who share your memories of the “woodies.” As for the distinctions between crossovers and wagons, I’ve only driven the V60, not the XC60, which I believe is what you’re referring to? So I can’t really say. As for mileage, I wasn’t monitoring it closely – but the V60 came with the stop/start, which automatically shuts down and restarts the engine to save on idling. Also I was driving in eco mode, so the reading was mostly between 8 and 9 l/100k, or about 27 mpg : ))

  2. Lenie March 24, 2015 at 2:56 pm · Reply

    Wow , what a cool car – love Brother Sven. I’m always cold and being able to direct heat where I want it sounds amazing. I also like all the safety features. I may have to pretend I’m in the market for a new car just so I can test drive one. This Volvo sounds like the best deal yet. Oh, How I envy you.

    • Krystyna Lagowski March 24, 2015 at 11:53 pm · Reply

      Hey Lenie, I think every car should have a Brother Sven! There’s nothing worse than driving in a freezing cold car, but I sure didn’t have to wrry about that with the Volvo. Oh, go ahead and take one out for a spin – you’ll have a blast, and then … you never know!

  3. A.K.Andrew March 24, 2015 at 8:06 pm · Reply

    Yes where are all the station wagons? And I remember my parents referring to cars as shooting brakes when I was about 5, and someone had an American car. The volvo sounds great, but I think it’s a shame that the SUV has usurped the SW’s as one doesn’t nec. need all the bells and whistles – or low gas mileage. I think in the UK so-called -people carriers or minivans have taken over from ‘Mom’s wag’ ,but even here in the US it’s tough to find a car with decent storage cap. that’s not a 4×4.

    • Krystyna Lagowski March 24, 2015 at 11:50 pm · Reply

      Hey A.K., love that you remember a reference to “shooting brakes.” I wonder if the American car was a station wagon! Although my understanding was that in England, they’re known as “estates.” And I hear you, that the SUV has taken over for wagons, which current generations associated a bit too much with the soccer mom. Although, that’s now changing too. Who knows what’s next?!?

  4. Meredith @ The Palette Muse March 26, 2015 at 2:05 am · Reply

    I think I need a Brother Sven in my car! I’m adding this one to my list of potential cars when I get ready to trade in my Honda Accord for something that can accommodate my daughters’ friends. I’ve learned that the best way to know what’s on your kid’s mind is by listening to her talking to her friend in the backseat on the way to an event. 🙂

    • Krystyna Lagowski March 26, 2015 at 5:37 pm · Reply

      Glad you liked it, Meredith! Agreed that most cars could use a Brother Sven. That’s a great tip for knowing what’s going on with your daughter by eavesdropping on her convo in the back seat – I just may share that with my mom friends : ))

  5. Donna Janke March 26, 2015 at 5:04 pm · Reply

    The Volvo is one stylish-looking station wagon. I love Brother Sven.

    • Krystyna Lagowski March 26, 2015 at 5:38 pm · Reply

      Thanks, Donna! For sure, the V60 is a good looking wagon – seemed to turn a few heads as I was driving about. And yes, we need to get Brother Sven into more vehicles : ))

  6. Jeri March 27, 2015 at 7:32 pm · Reply

    If I was going to drive a station wagon, I think the Volvo V60 would get my vote 😉 I have a few friends who love their Subaru wagons to a fault. Growing up, my best fiend’s grandma drove an ancient station wagon. It was maroon and complete with wooden paneling details inside and out. The grandma was an airplane mechanic back in the day so she kept that car running for ages.

  7. Tim March 27, 2015 at 10:46 pm · Reply

    Love the fact that the rear view mirrors flashed and folded; that’s got to be a great car just for it’s politeness. I hadn’t really thought about the name “Station Wagon” going the way of the dinosaurs but now you’ve got me thinking. As kids that’s all we ever had and now if I had to describe one I would probably be more likely to call it a hatchback or low SUV. Either way, this Volvo is a far cry from those boxy ones you mentioned.

  8. Beth Niebuhr March 28, 2015 at 8:57 pm · Reply

    It sounds like a really fun car. Love the part about u-turns to avoid the law! Alearnd Brother Sven! What a hoot! After I sold my last (of 2) station wagon when the kids were grown, they came back for summers while in college and wanted us to go camping. I said I didn’t see how we could possibly do it with my Honda Accord. So they took me shopping and Iearned that camping gear too had shrunk. It worked fine and we had some great trips without a wagon.

  9. Cheryl March 29, 2015 at 9:19 pm · Reply

    Although I am not familiar with this car I am familiar with station wagons. When my husband and I decided to upgrade our vehicle we went with one that had some of those nice luxuries you describe.

  10. Arleen March 31, 2015 at 11:59 pm · Reply

    I really like the looks of the station wagon. I am seeing more of them on the East Coast. The advantage of the station wagon over a SUV is that you do not have to climb up to get into the vehicle and has the extra room you need. If I didn’t have an SUV I would consider a station wagon. It looks great in white

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