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Safety, Comfort, & Technology: the 2015 Volvo V60 T5 drive-E

2015 Volvo V60 T5 Drive-E
2015 Volvo V60 T5 Drive-E
- photo by GELL

Known best for superior safety, Volvo is also a luxury vehicle with the best in comfort, convenience and technology. More than just a pleasure to drive, it includes the peace of mind that comes with a 5-star safety rating from NHTSA and a Top Safety Pick from IIHS. Not only are the driver and occupants protected with the most advanced safety features, but the area surrounding the vehicle is monitored as well.

Categorized as a small station wagon, my V60 T5 drive-E test drive didn’t seem so small to me. With abundant space in the rear and easy access through a lift gate, I could imagine loading up lots of plants, pots, soil and tools for my gardening hobby. But it would easily hold golf bags or other sports gear, camping equipment, crafting or hobby supplies, or luggage for a road trip. After you’ve loaded all that, there is plenty of comfortable room for five adults!

Very noticeable is that the comfort is all around you in the cabin of the V60. Power adjustable front seats with adjustable lumbar support, tilt and telescopic steering wheel, dual zone electronic climate control, and front McPherson strut and rear multi-link suspension are all in place for a smooth ride. My test drive Volvo V60 also had sport seats and heated front seats, a feature I noted but did not utilize in Texas in July! I am a firm believer in the value of comfort as a safety feature. This is not the soft, cushy, put-me-to-sleep comfort, but adjustments that allow for easy access to the instrument panel and mirrors that give me excellent view without twisting and turning and craning my neck. If I can concentrate on driving instead of a tired leg or arm or shoulder, then I am a safer driver.

Included on all Volvos are the expected airbags, safety belts, child safety features, and electronic brake distribution. Low-speed collision avoidance system, named City Safety, is standard; while Pedestrian Detection is an optional feature first introduced in 2011.

There is more than safety and comfort to the V60. The 2.0-liter turbo-charged direct injected alloy engine delivers 240 horsepower and is paired to an 8-speed automatic transmission. It has the start/stop engine technology that stops the engine when the vehicle is at a stand still and starts it automatically when the accelerator is pressed. This improves fuel economy and reduces emissions, but does not interfere with the power and handling of the car. Nimble and responsive, the V60 did not feel like a family wagon unless you want it to. The optional ($1500) sport package on my test drive model gave it a sport-chassis and paddle shifters that offered the driver a choice of sportier handling.

The styling of the Volvo V60 has changed over the past few years, and it is more streamlined and less boxy than the older version. This took a while to adjust to, but I find the modern, smoother look more appealing now. My test model vehicle had a deep sky blue metallic paint that was eye-catching without being too bright---it was easy to find on the parking lot! The estimated fuel economy is 29 miles per gallon for combined city/highway driving. I averaged about 29.7 for the week-long test-drive. The suggested MSRP plus options had a list price of $35,300.

The Volvo V60 T5 Drive-E is the right combination of practicality, versatility, safety, comfort, and fun. I would highly recommend it to anyone shopping for a new car.