When we took possession of our 2015 Volvo V60 wagon last spring, we predicted that it would become a staff favorite for summer vacation road trips. Indeed it did, with at least three journeys to the northwestern portion of Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, some 250 miles from our editorial offices in Royal Oak; plus sojurns to Chicago and Nashville. We also wondered if, during those trips, we would manage to match—or at least come close to—the EPA highway rating of 37 mpg. After all, our V60 is equipped with a fuel-efficient, turbocharged 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine, not the optional turbo inline five-cylinder or the optional turbo inline six-cylinder. Neither of those engines manages to crack the 30-mpg barrier in the EPA’s highway fuel efficiency tests, but our car is rated at 25/37/29 mpg (city/highway/combined).
So, how did we do? Let’s have a look at this summer’s logbook.
2297 miles, Memorial Day Weekend, road test editor Chris Nelson: “I did not average 37 mpg in the V60. I averaged 29 mpg, which is exactly what the EPA says the combined figure should be. About three-fourths of my driving was on the highway, and the rest was in the suburbs of Chicago. I’m thinking it’ll take someone going 70 mph nonstop on a long stretch of road to get close to that highway number.”
3874 miles, June 19-22, associate web editor Joey Capparella: “I drove from Ann Arbor, Michigan, to my hometown of Nashville, Tennessee, where I grew up among a multitude of Volvo station wagons. I saw 32 mpg on the trip down, with the cruise control set between 75 and 80 mph. I tried Eco+ mode on the way back, which made it possible to get about 35 to 36 mpg at 75 mph, so the EPA rating of 37 mpg isn’t out of the ballpark. But it’s not easy to get there for prolonged periods of time. The start/stop function, which should help you eke out a bit better fuel economy, doesn’t work in hot weather, even if the A/C isn’t running. I averaged 31 mpg overall.” Not bad, Joey.
6440 miles, July 20-23, Joey Capparella again: “My parents and little brother came up to Michigan for a quick vacation to Traverse City, and we felt like a cool, hip European family piling into this stylish red 2015 Volvo V60. Our overall average mileage for the trip, which I would estimate at a 60/40-split highway/city, was around 32 mpg. That’s darn good for a wagon filled with four people and their stuff, and I was easily hitting above 35 mpg on the highway. The improvement over my road trip to Nashville, I think, is attributable to speed and temperature. This time I cruised at lower speeds—between 70 and 75 mph—and also ran the air conditioner a lot less. Northern Michigan is much nicer in the summer than Tennessee, to say the least.”
7924 miles, August 7-10, associate web editor Jake Holmes: “I took the Volvo camping in Interlochen, Michigan. Great powertrain, with all the oomph I ever need in a car like this. It's easy to pass people on northern Michigan’s many slow, two-lane roads, yet I averaged 30 mpg over 793 miles, which is pretty good for mixed, swift driving.”
We found plenty more to like about the 2015 Volvo V60 than its fuel economy this summer, of course. As we predicted, it’s a superb highway cruiser, and it garnered wide praise for its extremely comfortable front seats, a longtime Volvo strength, even if Holmes repeatedly warned that, come winter, we will regret not having heated front seats: “That leather is going to be cold in the winter.” Live for today, Jake!
As for the rear quarters, the Capparella clan was impressed: “The rear seat isn’t exactly expansive, but it’s well-contoured and has nice soft leather,” reported Joey Capparella. “My mom also liked the B-pillar-mounted air vents, which seem to provide airflow to the back much more effectively than traditional console-mounted rear vents.”
After our summer of travel, not one person has said they wish we had chosen either the five- or six-cylinder engine. No one is calling the 2015 Volvo V60 a sport wagon, but it has more happy times going on in its chassis than we expected. “The ride and handling mix is right where it should be,” said Holmes. “Not sporty, per se, but with that European feel of being in control yet still comfortable enough for passengers to nap in.”
Said another editor after making the 50-mile trek home from our new editorial offices in the Detroit suburb of Royal Oak: “I had one of my fastest drives home from Delemere Court last night: 45 minutes. This is such a great freeway car. It tracks beautifully, and it has enough body control to make it feel planted in those sections of the freeway where you might actually have a little fun: the 696 entrance ramp, the big sweeper from 696 to 275 southbound up and over the bridge, the long rightward curve from 275 to M-14, and the dramatic left from M-14 down into the Huron River Valley toward downtown Ann Arbor. There’s enough power for quick merging, although only if you know how to use your right foot.”
So, yes, we’ve had a good summer in our 2015 Volvo V60.
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