Volvo invited the automotive media up to Las Vegas, Nevada to show off their new Drive-E S60 sedan and the V60 wagon which returns to the US for 2015.
While they just received a styling update for 2014, Volvo is rolling out their 2015 V60 and S60 models with their all-new Drive-E power-trains right now across the US.
Our brief drives of the new Volvo Drive-E models and presentations of future product plans show that Volvo is ready to surprise the market in many ways.
The first major product move for 2015 is of course the return of the Volvo wagon to our shores. While it has been sold in other countries since it left us in 2010, the V60 was asked for strongly by the dealers who wanted more than SUV’s to fill this need.
The new V60 is sportier, more svelte, and certainly more sexy. It features all the functionality you would expect including a 20/40/20 split fold down rear seat. That beautiful roof line however isn’t as boxy as before, and thus gives you a bit less cargo area.
Volvo enthusiasts and buyers however will not likely mind, as the V60 is indeed an offering well needed in this segment.
For 2015, front-wheel drive V60 and S60 get all new Drive-E engines. The T5 model gets a 2.0 liter four-cylinder turbocharged engine good for 240 horsepower. Efficiency for the T5 is 25 mpg city, 37 mpg highway and 29 mpg combined.
The T6 gets a 2.0 liter four-cylinder engine also, but includes both a supercharger for low end boost and a turbocharger for high end power. It cranks out an impressive 302 horsepower. The 302 horsepower T6 engine is rated at 24 mpg city, 35 mpg highway, and 28 mpg combined.
Both engines bring high efficiency to the game for the 60 series cars using direct-injection and sharing a new 8-speed automatic transmission.
Our brief drive in the 2015 V60 T5 Drive-E Premier Plus took us through the back-roads of Nevada and the scenic Valley of Fire. The chassis proved to be solid and premium in feel with a supple tune and sharp steering response.
Power from the new 2.0 liter turbocharged four is delivered well throughout the rev range with minimal detectable turbo lag. The direct-injected engine is well mated to this eight-speed transmission and the two work together pleasantly in cruising as well as aggressive driving.
Those who may have liked the five cylinder engine’s thrum will not be too disappointed in the refinement of the new four, however it is noticeably a different power-plant despite putting out similar power.
Switching gears, we got some time behind the wheel of the 2015 S60 T6 Drive-E Platinum which once had a smooth inline turbocharged six between its shock towers. So it was the one I was most interested in to see how it would be with a hyper powered four.
The 302 horsepower version of the 2.0 liter engine is actually surprisingly smooth given it has a belt driven supercharger to go along with its turbo. Power is immediate as you would expect from launch, but it does overcome the steering a bit, exhibiting some degree of torque steer.
The eight-speed transmission again shows its prowess with this powerful engine, shifting with confidence and seemingly almost always at the right time. Flooring the throttle gets you strategic downshifts that stick, not sporadic hunting.
Both cars are available with a host of new driver assistance features for 2015 including a new pedestrian and cyclist detection system with auto brake. This adds to the suite of other features like lane keeping, collision warning, and adaptive cruise control all of which worked quite well in our drive.
The cabins are in true Volvo form with high quality materials, Scandinavian design principles, and excellent fit and finish. The infotainment screen could still use some simplification to learn on the go however.
The new 2015 60 series cars as well as the XC60 adopt the new naming scheme where by T5 and T6 no longer mean cylinder count, but rather power-range similar to how BMW has been doing it of late. This is for front-wheel drive models this year, but will be for all models soon.
We will bring you a more detailed drive review when we get the opportunity to test these models later this year.