A Souped-Up Super-Wagon That Delivers On All Fronts
Getting folks to buy station wagons these days, or even add them to their shopping list, is getting incredibly hard. But, it helps if like Volvo, you're offering something a little extra.
If you’re interested in buying a wagon, chances are, practicality is near the top of your list of reasons why; tradition and car-like drivability may also be factors keeping you from going over to the SUV dark side. Well, the 2021 Volvo V60 T8 Polestar Engineered offers all of that; along with some serious performance, and it even flexes some efficiency muscles with an all-wheel drive, plug-in hybrid powertrain.
This 2nd-generation V60 arrived for 2019, with a design that was dramatically sleeker than any Volvo wagon before; much longer and lower than the previous gen. It still looks like a Volvo wagon, but one that’s driving out of the pages of a Neiman Marcus catalog after working out on one of those high-end virtual gyms.
Polestar may now be Volvo’s all-electric sister-brand, but it originated as Volvo’s racing arm; and they’ve worked their race-inspired magic all over this V60.
For starters, they upgraded the double-wishbone front and integral-link rear suspension with adjustable Ohlins dampers with Dual Flow Valve technology. Then they add a front strut tower brace to stiffen up the front end.
Brakes are upgraded with gold-finished Brembo 6-piston calipers for the front axle behind 19-inch forged alloys.
The PHEV power-train starts with their twice boosted 2.0-liter I4 engine that is both turbocharged and supercharged. It’s paired with a 34-kW electric motor and accompanied by a rear-mounted 64-kW electric motor for all-wheel drive. Total output is 415-horsepower and 494 lb-ft. of torque.
Using an electric motor for rear traction means no AWD driveshaft. So occupying that space is an 11.6-kWh battery pack, good for up to 22–miles of EV driving.
Performance wagons are a guilty pleasure of ours, so we could hardly wait to let this thing run free at the drag strip.
And the explosion of power off the line was everything we’d hoped for. No lag, no hesitation; just a big hit of torque funneled through both the front and rear wheels providing a leap to 60 of only 4.7-seconds.
From there, gear changes in the 8-speed automatic transmission happen with little to no interruption, with the T8 staying at peak power through the whole 13.2-second ¼-mile, finishing at 105 miles-per-hour.
Despite steering that was a bit light and vague; this V60 really hustled through our cone course. The long wheelbase gives it a very stable and predictable feel; while the responsive throttle allows for quickly finding both oversteer and understeer with a timely stab or lift.
Body roll was minimal, as this wagon felt nailed down and ready to rock.
The Brembo brakes are connected to a very stiff pedal; working together to bring the V60 to consistent stops from 60 in just 110-feet, with only a slight bit of wandering at the back end.
Say what you will about Volvo’s Chinese ownership, the Scandinavian influence and craftsmanship are well represented inside the V60, and gorgeously executed.
The seats hold you in that oh-so-perfect way that only Volvo seats can, there’s a crystal clear 12-inch digital drive display behind the steering wheel, and in the dash, Volvo’s 9-inch Sensus Connect touchscreen which responds more quickly to inputs than when it first arrived.
On the practicality front, 22.9 cubic-ft. of cargo space in back, expanding to 50.5 when rear seatbacks are folded.
Government Fuel Economy Ratings are 30-Combined; with 69-Combined for the MPGe; our average was 31.6 miles-per-gallon of Premium. That makes for a much better than average Energy Impact Score, responsible for just 5.7-barrels of oil use annually, accompanied by 2.6-tons of CO2 emissions.
Considering this is a high-performance wagon, with a very limited clientele; a starting price of $68,395 while lofty, seems appropriate.
The PHEV 2021 Volvo V60 T8 Polestar Engineered is a souped-up super-wagon that delivers on all fronts; powerful, practical, luxurious, and yes even quite stylish. All with a Swedish no-nonsense low-key attitude that’s more satisfying than showy. It’s a new breed of Volvo, and one that we’re big fans of!
Engine: 2.0L I4
Motor: 34 kW
Battery: 11.6 kWh
Torque: 494 lb-ft
0-60 mph: 4.7 seconds
1/4 Mile: 13.2 seconds at 105 mph
EV Range: 22 miles
EPA: 30 Combined (MPG) / 69 Combined (MPGe)