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2015 Volvo V60 T5 Drive-E First Drive

We drive the new 2015 Volvo V60 with the new Drive-E platform.

Volvo’s 2015 V60 T5 with the new Drive-E platform
Volvo’s new wagon targeted towards performance and fuel efficiency.
Performance wagon with fuel efficiency as a priority
Performance and fuel efficiency come together in quite a package.
Interior needs refresh
The interior still needs some attention and design.
Great wagon with an all new platform
The new Volvo V60 has an all-new platform dedicated to performance and fuel efficiency.


A Few Photos of this Vehicle

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Volvo has high aspirations for the coming years with its all-new Drive-E engine architecture, scheduled to be bolted into the S60, V60, and XC60 for the 2015 model year. With Volvo leaving behind five-, six-, and eight-cylinder engines, the four-cylinder platform is what will power Volvo models from here on out. And with Volvo looking to power everything from this new engine, it better be a good four-banger.

With an $11 billion multi-year investment to usher Volvo into the future, the Drive-E powertrains are a sign of Volvo’s commitment to efficient low-emission engines to drive its products forward. Customers will have two different engine options, the T5 and T6. The T5 is equipped with a turbocharger and pushes out 240 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque, while the T6 comes in at 302 horsepower and 295 pound-feet of torque, all thanks to an added supercharger to work in conjunction with the turbocharger. The V60 we drove came with the T5 platform starting at $35,300, and driving it all through the outskirts of Las Vegas left us with some good impressions and a bright outlook on Volvo’s future.

Walkaround

Who doesn’t love a good wagon? It’s definitely not something that will knock your socks off, but the car as a whole is solid and will do well in the U.S. The design reflects a little taste of what’s under the hood--power. The overall conservative design is interrupted here and there with some sporty ques. The headlight and foglight housing come together in a swept angular look, giving the feeling of an aggressive forward stance. while the backend is all Volvo. Headlights that reach up to touch the roof line and sporty exhaust tips help to give the wagon that performance feel that owners are looking for. 19-inch wheels round off the package that’s just too enticing not to pass up.

A Few Photos of this Vehicle

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Sitting Down

The interior is where Volvo starts to lose me. The simplistic and somewhat elegant design at first looks nice and easy on the eyes, but as you sit there and think for a minute, you're hit with this feeling of incongruity. The clear plastic shift knob ties in with nothing else in the car. You don’t find that material or the color illuminating it anywhere else in the car. The display screen is begging for an update and more resolution, and at the heart of it all is the center stack. I get Volvo’s commitment to people and making their lives simpler and easier, but the execution just isn’t there. I don’t understand the number pad and why it needs to take up prime real-estate right in the middle. The rest of the needed buttons, like climate controls, just uninspiringly circle the dated number pad. Volvo says a new look is in the works, and we hope it’s a significant change in the dash department. The good part though, is that everything behind the shifter fits in with this sporty wagon. The sport seats are great, holding you tight when you’ve decided to leave the kids behind and hit the canyons for a joy ride.

Driving

After taking in the car visually, it was time to take it out and see if the outer styling matched what I would feel behind the wheel. I can say with confidence that it did not disappoint. With the new Drive-E powertrains, my first concern would be with any turbo lag on the T5 platform, which did not have the low end help the supercharger gives with the T6 platform. It had no lag at all! It’s hard to tell it’s carrying a turbo at all throughout the drive. The engine is seamless and quiet, making overtaking also effortless, and well, quiet. Accompanied with the new powerplant is an eight-speed automatic transmission with paddle shifters. The marriage between engine and transmission is what makes this car what it is: a smooth-accelerating nimble wagon that is expected to get a fuel economy of 25/37 mpg city/highway. A sporty wagon with great fuel economy that isn't bad on the eyes is definitely worth consideration.

A Few Photos of this Vehicle

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Summary

All in all, I’m looking forward to Volvo’s near future. The new Drive-E Platforms are a joy to drive and the vehicles they’re in are a pleasure to look at. All of this combines to make a complete package that focuses its attention on great fuel economy without sacrificing performance. The V60, with its new heart, is planning on doing well here in the U.S., and with Volvo sales on the rise and an ever-growing love for wagons, I’m sure it will.

Basic Specs

T5: 2.0-liter turbo, 8-speed automatic transmission, FWD, 240-hp, $35,300, 25 mpg city/37 mpg hwy

T6: 2.0-liter turbo/supercharger, 8-speed automatic transmission, FWD, 302-hp, $38,150, 24 mpg city/35 mpg hwy

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