February 3, 2014 1:15 PM | By John LeBlanc for MSN Autos

2015 Volvo V60 Sportswagon first drive

Volvo brings back the (sports)wagon

2015 Volvo V60 T5 FWD (© Photo: Volvo)

Las Vegas, Nevada – If the idea of a Volvo showroom without a wagon disturbs you, fear no more. With the 2015 Volvo V60 Sportswagon already in Canadian dealerships, according to the Swedish automaker, “The wagon is back!”

In truth, the Volvo V60 Sportswagon — a wagon variant of the brand’s S60 four-door sedan — has been on-sale in other markets for four years. But after Volvo recently canned its compact V50 and midsize V70 wagons from North America, the new V60 Sportswagon represents the return of the practical body style the automaker has offered since the Second World War.

The “new Volvo” starts now

2015 Volvo V60 T5 FWD (© Photo: John LeBlanc)

In the transition from being owned by Ford to its current Chinese parents at Geely Automotive, Volvo has been working on an all-new family of engines dubbed Drive-E and an equally-new Scalable Product Architecture vehicle platform. We’ll have to wait until this fall to see the first result of the new SPA-based Volvos in the form of the next XC90 crossover, but the 2015 versions of the V60 Sportswagon, S60 and XC60 crossover, full-size XC70 wagon/crossover and S80 sedan will the first Volvos to offer the new Drive-E powertrains.

Just to be clear: the 2015 V60 Sportswagon (and S60 and XC60) is still a Ford-based product, residing on a platform that has also spawned various former Ford vehicles such as the Land Rover LR2. For 2014, all three midsize Volvo models received a thorough refresh that included all-new exterior styling from the A-pillars forward and upgraded interior components. But the arrival of the new, all-Volvo Drive-E powertrains for 2015 is the next step in the revival of the new Volvo.

Instead of a variety of engines with multiple cylinder counts, Volvo’s Drive-E family of gas, diesel and eventually hybrid engines revolve around a single, 2.0-litre four-cylinder architecture. While the idea of a small, four-banger powering the large XC90 crossover seems like a risky move, Volvo says its new Drive-E powertrains will be able to match the performance of larger five-, six- and even eight- cylinder engines with the addition of technologies like direct-injection, turbocharging, supercharging and electrification.

V60 Sportswagon offers plenty of power choices

2015 Volvo V60 T5 FWD (© Photo: John LeBlanc)

For now, only a pair of four-cylinder Drive-E gasoline engines will initially be offered in Canada. The Drive-E T5 (not to be confused with Volvo’s current turbocharged T5 five-cylinder) is turbocharged, and makes 240 horsepower and 258 lb.-ft. of torque version, while the turbocharged and supercharged Drive-E T6 makes 302 hp and 295 lb-ft. 
The four-model range starts with the $39,800 (all prices are starting MSRPs) front-wheel-drive V60 T5, powered by the new Drive-E T5 mill and also-new eight-speed automatic transmission. The three remaining V60 Sportswagon models all use existing engines, six-speed automatic transmissions and Haldex all-wheel-drive systems, as in the $41,800 V60 T5 AWD (with its 250-hp version of the existing turbocharged five-cylinder engine), the $46,050 V60 T6 AWD (sporting a 300-hp turbo six-cylinder) and the 325-hp $50,950 V60 R-Design AWD. A fifth V60 model — the limited edition, high-performance Polestar — will be priced later this year.

In a market still mad for crossovers, the five-passenger Volvo wagon’s rivals are few, but they are exemplary; namely the all-wheel-drive $46,500 Audi A4 Allroad 2.0 TFSI, all-wheel-drive $47,850 BMW 328i xDrive Touring (and $49,350 328d diesel) and rear- and all-wheel-drive $48,065 Cadillac CTS Wagon.

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