- Tech & Gadgets
- BRW. lounge
Published 02 February 2012 05:16, Updated 02 February 2012 09:37
When I image a raunchy station wagon, I think of a Holden Kingswood with curtains and a thin, old foam mattress in the back.
Well I remember one parked outside my childhood home late at night bouncing up and down in time with the horizontal tango going on the back – that was raunchy.
And try as I might, I still have trouble with the image of a Volvo – mere mention of the word causes grown men to roll their eyes – station wagon being sexier than a pair of orthopedic shoes.
But the V60 T6 AWD R-Design comes close – try to imagine a flannelette bikini.
Driving it is a bit like watching Aunt Mary come a gutser on the dance floor at cousin Geoff’s wedding, you know you shouldn’t be enjoying it but, hell, how can you not.
Gone is the staid and sensible and in its place sits the V60, which starts at an attention-grabbing $61,000 drive away for the base model four-cylinder T5 and goes to nearly $80,000 for the T6 AWD R-Design, plus any bits and pieces you want to add.
The V60 is the wagon version of the very impressive S60 and the T6 AWD R-Design I drove has a 3 litre in-line six cylinder turbo-charged petrol engine that puts out a very respectable 224kW of power with 440Nm of torque and gets from zero to 100km/h in 6.2 seconds.
That’s the claimed figure in sports mode, which ramps up the power instantly and gives you a boot full of oomph when you want it.
The all-wheel drive is terrific and the handling is enhanced by the traction control which brakes the inner driven wheel and feeds extra power to the outer driven wheel. That means you can take corners far more sharply and with great control.
In fact, the steering is so direct, it takes some getting used to. You can almost flip it around like a computer mouse.
This version has sports suspension, 18 inch wheels and low-profile rubber, in keeping with its performance pretensions, but that all adds up to quite a harsh ride.
It has all the Scandinavian safety stuff we’ve come to expect from Volvo, plus a few more.
For example, it has a warning system that tells you when something is in the blind spot of your wing mirrors and a lane departure warning system that nags you when you change lanes without indicating.
The best is the city safety system that uses a laser behind the rear-view mirror to detect objects up to six metres in front of the vehicle. The car calculates the braking force necessary to avoid a collision and if it detects the driver isn’t going to react in time, it slaps on the anchors itself.
The V60 warns you before all this happens with a heads-up row of red lights that flash on the windscreen and a startlingly sharp buzzer.
The same system applies to the pedestrian detection system, which also uses a camera mounted next to the laser to determine the type of object that’s approaching.
All this protection happens at speeds under 35km/h.
If you’re comparing the T6 R-Design with something German, you’ll find that you get the leather power memory seats, sat-nav, good sound system, parking sensors, self-levelling headlights and dual-zone climate controls plus all the safety gear without having to stick your hand in your pocket again.
The V60 offers 430 litres of luggage space with the rear seats in place and 1241 litres with them folded. The back luggage curtain and the rear netting just pop out, so toss in a couple of pillows, a thin mattress, a doona and away you go.
The downside is it’s a bit thirsty. Around the city, the car was telling me I was averaging 12.8l/100km.