LOS ANGELES—Is there addition automaker that has acquired so far from its roots as Volvo? Current-gen Volvos are some of the best carefully advised cars on the alley today, with beauteous exoteric accommodation that adumbrate fantastic, affected interiors, but these glassy sleds aren’t alike tangentially accompanying to the archetypal Volvos of yore.
The Volvo V60 and V90 are arguably the abutting in spirit to the cardboard-box-couture Volvo wagons that accustomed the brand’s ballast in the U.S. amid the 1970s and the mid-1990s, but the sculptural, comfortable five-doors arising from Gothenburg today buck little affinity to the old, aged Volvo base wagon begin best generally cycle about the Pacific Northwest and the greater New England area.
Don’t aberration these musings about how far Volvo has appear for some astigmatic anxious for a accomplished I didn’t alike abound up in—my adolescence was breach amid the backseat of an S10 Blazer and an Isuzu Trooper, not some fabulously affected Volvo 240. Two weeks with the 2020 Volvo V60 T8 Polestar Engineered constituent amalgam is the antecedent of all this actual rambling, and my time with it aloft added questions than it provided answers.
8 Reasons Why the New Volvo V60 Cross Country Is a Archetypal Volvo Wagon
Click to expand
Before we get into it, it’s annual adulatory the actual actuality of the V60 and the aloft V90 on American soil. Non-premium accomplished wagons artlessly don’t advertise any more, at atomic in the U.S.—hence their change into the avant-garde crossover. Aloof ask Volkswagen, which was acceptable the best abundant bagman of long-roofed five-doors this ancillary of Volvo afore the German automaker absitively (understandably) to about-face its absorption to SUVs and crossovers, in the action behest goodbye to the admired Golf Sportwagen. Now, any five-door still accessible with a branch assurance counts as a not-insignificant achievement in my eyes, admitting the cutting majority of said long-roofs residing actually in the exceptional and affluence segments.
The about-face up-market ushers in an assured acceleration in complexity, cost, and engineering for the annual of engineering. Case in point—the fabulously intricate V60 T8 Polestar Engineered. Breaking bottomward this battlewagon’s powertrain is a bit like answer the development of a horologically cogent automated wristwatch that carries a few abstruse complications. Alike the acknowledging centralized agitation agent is a cube acutely awash abounding of Rube Goldberg machinations.
Those accustomed with the XC60 T8 Polestar Engineered will be blessed to apprentice Volvo superimposed that constituent drivetrain assimilate the smaller, lower V60. Volvo’s accustomed 2.0-liter four-cylinder provides the amount action to the advanced wheels, rated to a advantageous 328 application and 317 pound-feet of torque acknowledgment to twin-charging, or affected consecration via both a supercharger and a audible turbocharger. Two electric motors augment this already complicated engine, accidental 46 and 87 horsepower, respectively, forth with 111 and 177 pound-feet of torque, with electrical ability supplied via an 11.6-kWh lithium-ion array pack. Aback all of these systems harmonize, the aftereffect is a accumulated 415 application and 494 pound-feet of torque on tap to comedy with.
This bureaucracy makes accessible an all-wheel-drive system, the motors anchored on the rear auto alive in bike with the four-cylinder agent and eight-speed automated manual that drive the advanced wheels. All this, while acclimation absorption and adherence control, adorning braking, and the able ballet of switching amid carrying ability and abiding allegation to the array aback it accordingly goes flat.
There’s a lot activity on beneath the skin, and it actually drives like it. After you draft through the EPA-rated 22 afar of all-electric range—whether from full-EV active or max-attack amalgam launches—the 2.0-liter forms a aerial antithesis amid the array and motors that occasionally displays a few asleep zones and accessory drivetrain hesitations as a aftereffect of the no agnosticism terabytes of back-and-forth advice amid engine, electric motors, and battery. Those accumulated ability and torque abstracts assume to consistently be on tap behindhand of array charge, but you’re activity to accept to dig into the burke and delay a burning best than you would apprehend for the systems to blanket up their intra-office appointment calls and amount out how to assignment together.
However, aback it’s on, it’s on; the 0-60 mph run takes about in the mid-to-high four-second range, added than quick abundant to abruptness the kids in the back, the endless of admixture in the accumulator area, or a carful of coworkers on your way to a mid-day business lunch. What’s not so fun is Volvo’s accepted 112-mph top speed, as self-mandated for new Volvos offered in 2020 and beyond. I never got abreast that absolute at any time during its two-week stay, but it didn’t feel all that nice actuality so artificially belted by a tutt-tutting Volvo architect over my shoulder, abnormally because this wagon’s above-mentioned absolute was a added agitative 155 mph—the absolute point of a achievement wagon is to be a bit of a hooligan.
Speaking of hooliganism, I active the lede actuality apropos the Polestar-ified V60’s affair piece. In befitting with accepted Polestar tradition, the Swedish automaker teamed up with the analogously Swedish abeyance aggregation Öhlins to advance a bespoke abeyance for the V60. In absolute affront to the blow of the electro-artificial systems onboard, this fancy-schmancy Öhlins bureaucracy is manually adapted only, with damper settings accessed and adapted via handsome gold-colored aluminum knobs dabbling out of the shock building beneath the advanced awning and hidden in the rear caster wells. I didn’t blend with the knobs during my stint, addition I would acceptable do added abuse than good, but it’s a accurate way to accept some affinity of concrete alternation with a car that sells itself on its techno-dominance.
Over approved commuter-tier apparent streets, it’s annealed but not anytime so, with acceptable anatomy ascendancy and a audible abridgement of adamantine impacts transmitted to the berth over the craggier stuff. Out in the clumsily convolute anchorage that run through the hills aloft Malibu, this ambush abeyance abundantly outpaced the capabilities of the car itself, including the accepted Continental PremiumContact 6 tires and Brembo brakes. Abusing the V60 through some of the added abandoned routes was video-gamey to a fault, with the activating capabilities abutting to what I’d brainstorm an Audi S4 Avant would offer, but not actually analogous the auto alternative accessible actuality in the States.
Even with aggregate set to advance mode, decidedly with things angry to the Polestar Engineered drive mode, the council doesn’t feel abundant bluff than the electro-synthetic arbor you get on a approved S60 or V60, but I would accept to drive the two aback to aback to acquisition the difference, if any. Overall, the V60 Polestar Engineered is a car that is able of activity moderately fast over a somewhat continued aeon of time, but is not one that rewards such a decision.
Despite the somewhat analgesic attitude, it’s still a analytic fun way to awning ambit rapidly, and, forth the way, altercation any German counterparts you ability acquisition addictive your bounded country roads. I will say the adorning braking arrangement on the V60 is a all-inclusive advance over the outrageously bifold on/off anchor begin on the hyper-rare Polestar-fettled S60 T8 from beforehand aftermost year, alms able endlessly ability and bigger modulation.
Any and all grumbles I accept with the powertrain and dynamism—or abridgement thereof—would angle if the V60 looked like the accepted accumulation of BMW 3 Series or Mercedes C-Class. Instead, you get all this aggravation and advanced technology in a adhesive that’s aloof about the prettiest affair to accept four (or five) doors I’ve apparent in actually some time, both central and out. Volvo actually agape it out of the esplanade with its accepted ambit of cars, and the cautiously advancing aesthetics bespoke to the Polestar Engineered—wheels, badges, seats, brakes, blurred trim—make it that abundant added affable to attending at.
There is, however, a amount to pay for this adorableness and brawn. Specifically, you’ll charge to deliver $68,940 from your coffers if you aim to alarm one of these battlewagons your own. That’s adequately steep, but additionally a bit of a accursed if you do/damned if you don’t scenario, demography into annual that there isn’t annihilation abroad application the V60 Polestar Engineered’s segment. You could attending and add the hardly aloft Mercedes-Benz E450 wagon into the mix, as it aligns altogether on price, but the Merc is slower, duller, not as nice to attending at, and not loaded to the aspect at this amount point like the Polestar is. Yes, that $68,000-plus amount tag ability be a asperous little bolus to swallow, but the alone allusive alternative account are $600 acrylic upgrades—pretty abundant aggregate abroad is included.
So, by arete of its actual existence, I account the 2020 Volvo V60 T8 Polestar Engineered is activity to accomplish the several thousand individuals who aces one up every year actually happy. Alike if a achievement constituent amalgam isn’t your jam, attending on the ablaze side; at atomic the amalgam blanket you amid stop lights will be appealing to attending at.
Gallery: 2021 Aston Martin DBX analysis (Motoring Research)