Taking the V60 at speed around the twisties along the Sea to Sky Highway demonstrated its excellent road holding and handling capabilities…

The words performance and Volvo rarely appear in the same sentence but the new 2015 V60 Sportswagon R-Design should change the perception that the Swedish manufacturer is only capable of producing reliable and safety conscious products to the exclusion of excitement.

This performance oriented T6 AWD version pumps out 325 horsepower, topping the base T6 by 25 horses and a massive 75 more than the four-cylinder and fuel efficient base T5.

A week aboard this wagon showed it to be a very sporty machine on the highway and at its utilitarian best in the city.

Combine some paddle shift action with the auto transmission in Sport mode and you can push the car from zero to 100 klicks in about six seconds. Taking the V60 at speed around the twisties along the Sea to Sky Highway demonstrated its excellent road holding and handling capabilities, courtesy of corner traction control. Ergonomic seats ensure the driver is also firmly gripped in those corners. Gee, I forgot I was in a Volvo.

But before we run away with the idea that Volvo has abandoned what it is best known for; it should be mentioned that there is an option to add the world’s first Cyclist Detection and auto brake technology to the line! – That most certainly makes it a Vancouver car, given that city’s love for all-thing-cycling.

This coupe-like wagon looks good too. A wide grille greets you and the classic Volvo-V shaped sculpted hood is still there but cleaner contemporary styled lines that flow back towards the traditional taillights support it.

Inside the designers drew cues from contemporary Scandinavian furniture, featuring wood and leather. The rear seats fold down in three 40/20/40 segments so adding still more space to the already generous 430 litres to the rear of the seats. Parents of young children will like the two-stage pop up integrated booster cushions.

Volvo has 60 years of experience producing wagons and that shows in this line. The inclusion of the fun factor in the R-Design version is a smart move for a company trying to win new friends among affluent car buyers. Make no mistake these are prestige vehicles with a fitting price tag.

The base four-cylinder models start at around $42,000 and the R-Design driven by your truly topped $51,000.

I’ve also driven – if briefly – other Volvos equipped with the new Drive-E four-cylinder engines, mated to 8-speed auto transmissions, and they are remarkable. They offer a performance more akin to a typical 6.

So, give the base models a shot if you are not looking for a pulsating ride in a Volvo.

Did I just say that?

Contact: keith [dot] morgan [at] drivewaybc [dot] ca

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