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Auto review: Volvo's V60 wagon bursts out of the box

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Nuts and bolts of T5

Vehicle type: Four-door midsize premium station wagon

Base price: $36,225

Price as tested: $42,225

Powertrain: 2.0-liter, turbocharged inline four-cylinder engine; front-wheel-drive

Transmission: eight-speed automatic

Horsepower: 240

Torque: 258 pound-feet

Zero-to-60 mph: 6.4 seconds

EPA fuel economy rating: 25 mpg city, 37 highway

Sources: Volvo; Edmunds.com

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Traveling by Jeep, boat and foot, Tribune-Review investigative reporter Carl Prine and photojournalist Justin Merriman covered nearly 2,000 miles over two months along the border with Mexico to report on coyotes — the human traffickers who bring illegal immigrants into the United States. Most are Americans working for money and/or drugs. This series reports how their operations have a major impact on life for residents and the environment along the border — and beyond.

By The Los Angeles Times
Saturday, Aug. 9, 2014, 12:01 a.m.
 

Consider Volvo's 2015 V60 station wagon penance for all the boxy cars the company threw at us in the 1980s and '90s.

No longer refrigerator-shaped, the style of this all-new car leaves its forefathers in the dust. The sleek silhouette puts form ahead of function for a wagon that's just as good for a play date as it is on a real date.

But pack light. The V60 can't haul like the old Volvo wagons used to.

Volvo — a brand that's Swedish by heritage but Chinese by ownership — fitted the car with a new, more efficient engine and transmission. The V60 manages to pack in the European panache of rival wagons like the BMW 328i or Audi Allroad, and for less money, starting at $36,225.

Though wagons get only a morsel of the domestic market — 1.3 percent in 2013 — the few buyers willing to consider one should put the V60 high on their list.

As the name may indicate, the V60 is the wagon derivative of Volvo's S60 mid-size sedan. That car has been around in its current form since 2010, though Volvo gave it a mild aesthetic update in 2014.

One year later, our wagon joins the lineup for the first time and brings with it an excellent new drivetrain.

An in-line, 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine makes 240 horsepower and 258 pound-feet of torque. It's hooked up to an eight-speed automatic transmission that pushes power to the front wheels. All-wheel drive is a $1,500 option that our test car didn't have.

The drivetrain is rated by the EPA at 25 mpg in the city and 37 on the highway.

Our $42,225 test car had a $1,500 sport package. This adds a retuned suspension that lowers the car, paddle shifters for the transmission, sports seats and larger, 19-inch alloy wheels. We appreciated the extra chutzpah in turns, but found the ride quality a bit too harsh as a result.

The snug shape, sloping roofline and small side windows behind the rear passengers are nice on the outside, but they cut into the V60's usable space inside. Like the exterior, the dashboard layout is nice to look at and touch. But the buttons are scattered.

Otherwise, we enjoyed this wagon. The drivetrain is a hoot, and it's as good as anything Germany is bolting together right now.

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