Volvo is counting on the V60 station wagon to provide a strong alternative to buyers who are looking for something other than the SUV body types that have accounted for roughly half of the Swedish brand’s global sales this year.
“This is still a very big segment, especially for Volvo,” CEO Hakan Samuelsson said about wagons, which make up one-third of the company’s worldwide volume. “There was never any doubt on whether we should develop a new V60.”
To stand out in Europe against rivals from Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz, Volvo will offer the V60 with a choice of two plug-in hybrid powertrains. The new T6 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid generates a combined 337 hp from its gasoline engine and electric motor. It will be sold alongside the 386-hp T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid. Last year, Volvo promised to offer some form of electrification on every all-new model it launches starting in 2019. U.S. customers will only be offered the T8 plug-in hybrid.
The plug-in hybrids represent a power upgrade for the V60 as the best performing base version of the current wagon is the T6 gasoline model that offers 302 hp. Volvo also offers a gasoline-powered Polestar variant of the previous-generation V60 that makes 362 hp.
Industry watchers say Volvo’s plug-in hybrids show that performance remains a crucial selling point in the premium midsize wagon sector. “They will want to show that the electric strategy doesn’t mean they are moving away from being sporty,” IHS Markit principal analyst Tim Urquhart said. Samuelsson expects plug-in hybrid variants to account for up to 25 percent of the V60’s sales.