|✓ Stylish, but not overstated||☓ Complicated powertrain|
|✓ Comfortable interior with character||☓ Not quite as dynamic as the German competition|
|✓ Decent fuel economy|
Northern California’s Napa Valley has been a perennial favorite and ultimate destination for wine connoisseurs and dedicated foodies. The idyllic region, which spreads across 788 square miles and is home to over 600 wineries and tasting rooms, also cultivated a culinary zone for world-class eats. For this trip, we tumbled into the fully redesigned 2019 Volvo V60 wagon and set course for our favorite stops in Southern Napa.
Along the way, we ventured up California Highway 29 and traversed to the Silverado Trail when traffic got too thick. Our meanderings took us through Yountville, Oakville, Rutherford, St. Helena, Calistoga and up to Geyserville. On the southbound leg, we drove south on Highway 101 and crossed back into the Sonoma Valley.
Here are our favorite stops in no particular order and our favorite aspects of the all-new Volvo V60 wagon. For this trip, we tested the mid-range $43,400 T6 Momentum with standard all-wheel drive.
CIA at Copia, Napa | Explore food, wine and art at one location
The CIA at Copia is a “foodie wonderland,” according to the New York Times, and lives up to expectations in spades. Copia was first built up as an ambitious food, wine and art center on the Napa River close to downtown. Featuring organic gardens, outdoor kitchens, tasting rooms, restaurants, cooking classes and exhibition galleries, the CIA at Copia is now owned and operated by the Culinary Institute of America. Stop in for unique wine tasting events, a 3D dining experience, hands-on instruction and interactive demonstrations.
If you prefer something less formal, packing the 2019 Volvo V60 for a picnic lunch is suitable for classic tailgating. With more than 23 cubic feet of cargo space behind the second row, the 2019 Volvo V60 wagon has lots of space to haul your delicious bounty.
Where style meets substance
Radiating ease and confidence, the 2019 Volvo V60 is perfect for exploring the Napa Valley. The ride quality puts you in the comfort zone and integrates an impressive suite of active and passive high-tech safety features. The cabin is world-class, punctuated by the large 12.3-inch, center-mounted Sensus infotainment system. A leather interior is available, but the best interior choice for the V60 is the plaid “City Weave” upholstery. It looks great and feels cooler to the touch when temperatures rise.
Restoration Hardware (RH) – Ma(i)sonry, Yountville
A unique combination of art, wine and design, Ma(i)sonry is a collective that partners with small-batch vintners since RH does not have a winery. Plan a private wine tasting in this 1904 historic building and take in the trendy exhibits onsite at the Aerena Gallery. The furnishings in this “living gallery” are art pieces, and available for purchase. If you can wrest away from the captivating art space, guests can gravitate to the fire pit outside or stroll through the sculpture gardens. A perfect spot to wind down after a day of traveling since the Wine Vault is open until 10 pm and reservations accepted online by visiting their website.
Drives better than a crossover
Admittedly, the V60 Estate Wagon isn’t as gratifying to drive as an Audi A4 Allroad. Its real strength favors refinement and the surprisingly unruffled way it passes the miles away. Strikingly, the absence of wind, road and engine noise adds to the wagon’s uncanny smooth demeanor.
The 2019 model comes configured as a T5 or T6 variant. The T5 has a 2.0-liter four-cylinder turbocharged mill that grinds out 250 horsepower to the front wheels. Our T6 powertrain employs both a turbocharger and supercharger to produce 316 horsepower distributed to all four wheels. After a long weekend exploring the Napa Valley wine country, our V60 netted 25 mpg.
Bella’s Vineyards and Wine Caves, Healdsburg
Wine caves and a vineyard on the Russian River mark Bella Vineyards, but the highlight is the Mix It Up class where you blend your own wine from select tasting barrels. Tour the winery and pick up hints about winemaking and blending, before undertaking it yourself. Each guest winemaker also gets exclusive access to barrels that they can taste.
Wine Road, Northern Sonoma County
Sonoma County is home to hundreds of renowned wineries, and one great adventure not-to-miss is exploring Wine Road. This stretch of road connects wineries across three valleys: Alexander Valley, Dry Creek Valley, and Russian River Valley. Even if you think you’ve seen it all in the Sonoma region, I wager you can find new, unexplored experiences.
The Volvo V60 plays well on its style
Stand back a few feet, and you will notice the svelte body is low slung, wide, and arguably the best-looking car in Volvo’s stable. Overall, the combined design language of Thor’s hammer LED lights, the Volvo grille and vertical taillights leading up to the roofline make it a successful implementation.
In comparison with the previous generation V60 Cross Country, the new model has a four-inch wider wheelbase and grew almost five inches in length. The one dimension that shrunk by two inches was the ride height. Think of ground clearance as an anti-crossover establishment that makes it tremendously easier getting in and out of the wagon.
Not as trendy as a crossover, but it’s likable in many ways
316 horsepower from the supercharged and turbocharged 2.0-liter engine won’t set your socks on fire, but the luxury wagon’s overall versatility, comfort and safety is a winning combination from where I sit. It’s the ideal road trip vehicle that has exceptionally comfortable seats and enough cargo utility for luggage and compulsive shoppers. A bonus is the V60’s panache that fits in smartly with the coterie of wine and cheese foodies.
Volvo V60: What’s new for 2020?
While we tested the 2019 V60, the 2020 model year will soon arrive at the dealerships. Below is a compilation of new features for 2020.
- Across all V60 models:
- For MY2020, the T6 AWD powertrain is no longer offered
- The Polestar Engineered trim has been added, which includes the T8 e-AWD (plug-in hybrid) powertrain
- With the available Pilot Assist Driver Assistance System, haptic feedback was added (e.g., if PA disengages, the steering wheel will vibrate and the car will switch to Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC)
- The available BLIS (Blindspot Information System) with Cross Traffic Alert, Autobrake is now a standard component of Cross Traffic Alert
- Steering Support is now a standard element of City Safety
- The Four-C Active Chassis option removed
- The power-folding rear backrests deleted
- Momentum trim:
- The 18-inch Momentum wheel replaces the 17-inch Momentum wheel
- R-Design trim:
- A tailored dashboard and high-level interior illumination
- The 4-Zone Electronic Climate Control
- The Slate Grey Nappa Leather with Open Grid Textile interior added (for R-Design)
- Highlights of the new V60 Polestar Engineered:
- The Polestar Engineered tuning includes 415-hp
- Adjustable Ohlins dampers
- Polestar Engineered front strut bar
- 19-inch Polestar Engineered wheels
- Brembo brakes with cold calipers
- Gold seatbelts
- Inclusion of the Bowers & Wilkins Premium Audio System
- Black Chrome integrated tailpipes with the Polestar Engineered logo
Watch Mike and Nathan also put the 2019 Volvo V60 T6 wagon through TFLcar’s gauntlet of real-world tests. They comprehensively cover a 0-60 test with three people onboard, test for road noise and ride quality, then deliver their honest opinion of Volvo’s AWD wagon.