Everyone remembers their first car. Ask someone the make, model and year of the third car they owned and you may not get an answer, but most people fondly remember their first car right down to the color of the upholstery.
My first car was a bright blue 1977 Volvo 240 Wagon that I had affectionately named Elvis.
That Volvo, I mean Elvis, was a gift from my parents. He ran well, but needed a little transmission work. Much like Presley’s 1956 appearance on Milton Berle’s television show, Elvis the wagon was unpredictable and liked to randomly jump out of gear. That is not to say the car wasn’t dependable, on the contrary Elvis covered almost 300,000 relatively trouble free miles before he retired.
The all-new 2015 Volvo V60 T5 DRIVE-E is everything that my original 240 wagon was and more. The V60 silhouette evokes classic Volvo styling infused with a sleek, Scandinavian beauty. The Power Blue Metallic paint option ($550) may be one of the prettiest blues ever sprayed on a station wagon. I may be a bit bias, but the sculpted hood and aggressive front fascia, along with the optional lowered ride height, 19 inch BOR diamond cut wheels, silver roof rails, and side window brightwork, combine to make the V60 one of the most attractive Sportswagons on the road today.
Powering the all new 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Drive-E is a 2.0L turbo-charged direct injected alloy engine that produces 240 hp and 258 lbs-feet of torque at only 1,500 rpms. The V60 sends that power to the wheels with an 8-speed geartronic automatic transmission with gas saving stop/start technology. The V60 T5 Drive-E is incredibly efficient at 25 mpg city and 37 mpg highway.
At wide open pedal to the floor throttle, the T5 automatically goes into an overboost mode, increasing torque from 258 to 280 lb-ft. Utilizing the increased power, the 2015 V60 T5 Drive-E is able to reach 60 miles per hour in 6.1 seconds, an impressive feat for a 29 combined city/highway mpg, 3,527 pound station wagon. The extra boost is perfect for highway passing and evoking smiles from non-suspecting passengers.
The electronic power assisted rack and pinion steering is smooth, but provides enough resistance and feedback to keep things interesting. The feel of the brake pedal is equally impressive, firm and responsive but with enough travel that you don’t have to worry about putting the groceries through the windshield.
Volvo has always been a leader in safety and the all-new 2015 V60 T5 does not disappoint. The wagon is built around a unibody high strength steel safety cage and is loaded with more airbag, inflatable curtains, and safety restraints than I can list in a newspaper column. The T5 also includes a low speed collision avoidance system that helps the driver avoid accidents by automatically applying the brakes.
The vehicle I tested was equipped with the $900 Blind Spot Information (BLIS) Package. BLIS signals the driver when cars are driving just behind the operator on either side of the vehicle. The system also provides helpful visual and audible prompts that can make almost anyone a parallel parking champion, something I loathed doing in my 1977 wagon.
The V60 I reviewed was the Premier Plus model. This $2550 package includes leather seating surfaces, auto dimming rearview mirror, an adaptive digital TFT display, rear park assist camera, a garage door opener and a sleek rear partitioning grocery bag holder. Also included in the Premier Plus model is a keyless drive system with a personal car communicator that acts like most modern car key fobs, allowing the operator to lock/unlock the doors, set the alarm, unlock only the trunk and initiate panic mode.
Truth is, when I first received the car for review I questioned the value of the communicator. How hard is it to look out the window and make sure the doors are locked? Not difficult at all, unless of course, you are sitting on the sofa watching a movie with your family. Instead of pausing the film, turning on the lights, excusing myself and running outside, I was able to hit a couple buttons and know that everything was closed and locked.
Volvo’s car communicator also allows the operator to turn on approach lights and activate an informational communicator. Pressing the “i” button initiates a seven second scan of the V60’s security system and reports back to the operator using multi-colored LEDs. The lights quickly inform you if the doors are locked or if the alarm has been activated.
The 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Drive-E also came equipped with a value packed $1500 sport package that included a lowered sport chassis, 19 inch BOR diamond cut alloy wheels, steering wheel mounted paddle shifters, and some of the most incredible heated, power adjustable sports seats found in any vehicle.
The interior of the T5 takes an elegantly simplistic, purpose built approach. The leather and silk metal steering wheel compliments the eye catching aluminum inlay found throughout the interior. The configurable in dash digital gauge cluster offers the driver the ability to change from sport to fuel economy based information. The cargo space is excellent, it is a wagon, and the rear seating is generous enough that three adults could ride around comfortably until they got hungry.
I really can’t say enough about the all-new 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Drive-E. Even the infotainment system, featuring a crystal-clear 7-inch Sensus HMI screen, is incredibly intuitive and the eight speakers sound amazing.
Do I need to pull together the $35,300 ($42,225 as equipped) and name it Elvis II? I am tempted.