Octane
By Eric Yang
on 3.3.14
Photo by Eric Yang

Meet enough auto buffs and you’ll notice a pattern. They like wagons. Not the ones from the ’80s that Americans never escaped, but the lithe, sportwagons that Europeans and Architects quietly enjoy. To put it mathematically: if a gearhead owns more than three cars, there’s a 50 percent likelihood that one of them will be a wagon — probably a Subaru or Audi if he’s coastal — or lives in Colorado.

MORE WAGON LOVE: Our Favorite Wagons from the Silver Screen | Breakdown: Volvo Concept Estate | The Volvo 240 GLT Turbo Wagon, the Coolest Wagon Ever Made

Unfortunately, car nuts and pining journalists don’t translate to blockbuster sales, so here, today, we Americans are faced with a dearth of choices. There are the aforementioned Audi and Subaru options, the raucous Cadillac CTS-V, and, if your pockets are deep enough, the face-warping Mercedes AMG. Volvo has been notably absent in the mix of recent, and if you can’t tell from today’s homage, we like Volvo wagons.

Suddenly it’s 2014 and I’m hauling ass through Red Rock Canyon, a couple hours outside of Las Vegas, driving a Volvo that’s bodacious blue, turbo and five doors deep. It’s a blue streak here in the Nevada desert and I’m grinning. All that’s missing is a roof rack, a blonde companion and a snowy destination.

The Volvo is a turbo, five doors deep, a bodacious blue streak in the Nevada desert. I’m grinning.

Ah yes, the Volvo station wagon has returned, and it’s called the 2015 Volvo V60 Sportswagon ($35,300). We’ll skip the nine paragraphs on navigation systems and airbags and just say this: the V60 has everything you need — it’s a Volvo, for Chrissake. Though it may be new to us, the 2015 V60 is actually a heavily refreshed V60 that other parts of the globe have been enjoying for several years now. But this is more than just a new grille and wheels. In Volvo’s words, “We spent enough resources on refreshing the current 60 lineup that we could have built an entirely new car.”

But back to the road. The V60 isn’t a sports car. It doesn’t pretend to be. It’s a Sportswagon, and it’s all about work and play. Kids and a dog if you’ve got ‘em, handling and all-wheel-drive (optional) if you need ‘em. Even in its basic T5 form, the V60 has a hearty 240 horsepower 4-cylinder turbocharged engine; upgrade to the T6 AWD R-Design and you’ve got a 325-horsepower Swedish house party on your hands. The V60 devours cargo and sips gas (25 city/37 highway) and, as you can see above, cuts a handsome profile. Isn’t that exactly what a Sportswagon is supposed to do?

Carving a path on the windy roads of Red Rock Canyon, I can’t help but channel something else I miss from the ’80s: Airwolf. Yes, it was here in Red Rock Canyon that a young renegade pilot named Stringfellow Hawke worked with covert operations in his stealth black advanced battle helicopter. Only this time he’s writing for GP and getting way better gas mileage.

$35,300+

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