This week was all about the 60s. Volvo Cars of North America is preparing to celebrate 60 years of bringing it’s Swedish-born vehicles to this continent. As part of the festivities the automaker is delivering some new 2016 models on the 60-series line–namely, the S60 Inscription sedan, the S60 Cross Country sedan, and the V60 Cross Country wagon.
Recently we were hosted by Volvo in Sausalito, California to get our first driving impressions of each of these new models along with some basic corporate information. Volvo Cars North America (VCNA) is set to deliver a total of 18 new models by 2018, and that product onslaught began recently with the latest XC90 and continues as we speak with these 60-series vehicles, including the new S60 Inscription that is the automaker’s first vehicle built in it’s all-new factory in China.
We spent a significant time behind the wheel of each of these new models in both congested Bay Area traffic along with zipping past the scenic vistas of Pacific Coast Highway. All three models share similar powertrain configurations as well as packaging and trim appointments, along with the latest safety technology from a company well versed in automotive safety.
I will begin with the model Volvo says will be the lion’s share of its sales next year. They expect the new S60 Inscription midsize luxury sedan to account for 50 percent of all S60 sales. The new model basically adds three inches of legroom to the rear seat area making it the roomiest back seat in the segment. Also added for 2016 is more soundproofing as well as sunscreens for the rear doors and a power sunshade for the rear window glass.
Inscription will be offered in front and all-wheel drive. FWD cars will see the T5 turbocharged 2.0-liter inline four-cylinder engine under the hood producing 240hp while AWD vehicles will be powered by the peppier T5 2.5-liter turbocharged five-cylinder engine generating 250 ponies. The Inscription models we drove in California were all FWD vehicles with the smaller T5 engine mated to smooth shifting eight-speed automatic Geartronic transmissions with sport and manual shift modes.
The S60 Inscription is nicely appointed, as any luxury sedan should be these days. The rear seat legroom is impressive and the ride is very comfortable and quiet. Power delivery is more than sufficient no matter the drive mode and the car handles quite well without being overly tight or sloppy – kind of like Goldilocks finding baby bear’s bed to be just right.
Pricing for the 2016 S60 Inscription will begin at $38,700 for Premium FWD models with the Platinum AWD starting at $43,200. The FWD Platinum testers we drove out west were priced at $45,925 final sticker with EPA fuel rating of 25 mpg city and 37 mpg highway. Of course, zipping up and down PCH will cause your mileage to vary.
S60 Cross Country
The next step up in the 60-series for Volvo will be the new S60 Cross Country. Volvo will begin to delete the XC designation for Cross Country models in favor of CC or Cross Country written out. Future XC usage will designate the model as being a crossover utility vehicle such as the XC60 or XC90.
The S60 Cross Country sedan is Volvo’s midsize luxo-cruiser elevated – literally. The new Cross Country sedan sees 7.9-inches of ground clearance – that’s 2.5-inches more than the base S60. All-wheel drive is standard and arrives with Volvo’s Instant Traction which is immediately felt in the tight twisties of Highway 1 north out of Marin County. While we never quite got to any white-knuckling we did experience some screeching of the tires in some corners, telling us this S60 Cross Country was thoroughly enjoying the drive.
Handling and speed sensitive steering worked extremely well and there was very little chassis roll. The S60 is a solid monocoque (unibody) passenger compartment with no squeaks or rattles, no matter what type of road surface or steering input we through at it. Being an AWD car it comes standard with the T5 2.5-liter five-cylinder with the same 250hp under the hood mated to a six-speed Geartronic automatic transmission with Sport and manual shift modes. Should you find yourself wishing to leave paved surfaces the S60 Cross Country is up to that challenge as well and includes front and rear skid plates along with Hill Descent Control for steeper terrain.
Volvo expects S60 Cross Country sales to only be about 500 units here in North America but I expect that take to be a little higher once folks in the snow belt states realize there is another foul weather luxury sedan in the segment. Pricing for the 2016 S60 Cross Country will begin at $43,500 and from launch they will feature Platinum packaging. Our testers were outfitted with Climate and Technology packages as well and the final sticker was $48,390 with EPA ratings of 20 mpg city and 28 mpg highway.
The Platinum package adds the likes of premium Harman/Kardon audio system, rear park assist camera, adaptive cruise control with Queue Assist stop-and-go automatic braking, collision warning with full brake assist, pedestrian and cyclist detection with full brake assist, lane departure warning, driver alert control, and distance alert. Our testers also featured optional 19-inch matte black alloy wheels with all-season tires.
V60 Cross Country
The new V60 Cross Country is basically a wagon version of the S60 sedan but it does not add a third row of seats. It arrives standard with AWD so it is configured with the T5 2.5-liter five-cylinder engine with the standard Instant Traction from Volvo.
Being a wagon body with sporty styling there is a slight offset in blind spot vision but when combined with blind spot detection and rear camera, maneuvering safely is no problem. The V60 rides and drives like its S60 Cross Country counterpart and features all of the safety and driver infotainment technology as the other models as well. Power and EPA ratings are identical and a base model can be had cheaper as the Premium trim level is offered on this model with the Platinum package optional. Window sticker information for the V60 Cross Country models we drove saw a base MSRP of 41 grand with final sticker prices of $49,775 thanks to all of the add-ons.
So which 2016 60-series model is right for you?
Location and income may dictate most of that but Volvo should definitely be included on your short list when shopping midsize luxury models. I keep hearing about just how great the ‘60s were and I gotta tell you, after spending a few days in California with Volvo I think the 60s are here to stay!