Volvo V60 and Jaguar F-Type

| July 1, 2015


By Kelly Foss

Volvo V60 | Starting price: $36,800

A Stately Euro Wagon

Perhaps the one thing European manufacturers do exceptionally well is make station wagons. And perhaps no Euro carmaker does station wagons better than Volvo. Safety, style, performance, design — you name it — it’s all there in the V60.

As wagons go, Volvo’s V60 is low-slung and sleek, but also practical. Its swooping roof-line and long nose bespeak stately European design. And the fact that it is a true wagon, as opposed to being a crossover, makes it a refreshing choice in the world of practical family cars. That’s because it is a car, and not simply a car-like vehicle.

If you need a little more from the V60, consider the Cross Country version, which has more of a rugged, outdoor adventure look with its differentiated body moldings and trim. You get an extra 2.6 inches of ground clearance with the Cross Country as well as the capability of going off road, thanks to Volvo’s Haldex all-wheel
drive system. The system monitors wheel slippage and can send up to 50 percent of engine torque to the rear axle before you can even notice the front wheels are slipping. It truly does shine when venturing off the pavement, though this vehicle is not meant for serious off-roading. It will however, get itself out of a jam quite effortlessly.

The V60’s interior is a study in elegance. Leather contour seats are some of the most comfortable in the automotive world, and they look good too. The cabin possesses a cockpit-like feel as it wraps itself around its occupants. Creature comforts also abound, including a touch-screen interface that gives you all the information about the vehicle you could imagine.

Behind all of this luxury seating you’ll find voluminous cargo space…that’s why you want a wagon in the first place, right? The cavernous rear quarters of this wagon will accommodate 43.1 cubic feet of whatever you want to put in it.

This wagon is powered by a choice of engines. The Cross Country is outfitted with the 250-horsepower, turbo charged, in-line 5-cylinder. The front-drive model comes with a 240-horsepower, turbo 4-cylinder engine. Both are mated to a 6-speed automatic transmission with steering wheel-mounted paddle shifters. The smaller engine gets an impressive 29 combined mpg, while the larger engine is only slightly less than that.

In either case, the ride is velvet-like smooth and power is ample. Closing the doors gives you that satisfying thunk of a well-built, safe-feeling vehicle. The cabin feels solid, as has always been the case where Volvo is concerned, and remains quiet even when approaching high speeds. The V60 maneuvers with grace and finesse and looks darn good doing it. The V60 definitely has an upscale, European air about it, and it comes with equally sophisticated technology, to boot.

Safety, of course, is Volvo’s hallmark. Its Intellisafe System blends a host of safety features working together to keep occupants, pedestrians, and cyclists safe. Notable safety features include Active Bending Lights, Pre-Collision Monitor, and Blind Spot Warning. Computers continually monitor and adjust as necessary.



Jaguar F-Type | Starting price: $65,000

Beauty, Brawn and Brains

The 2015 Jaguar F-Type is an enthusiast’s car. A slick-as-silk aluminum body, supercharged engines that offer plenty of torque-riddled power and technology to deliver the best performance possible? That’s the F-Type. Porsche finally has a serious competitor.

While James Bond typically drives an Aston Martin, he would be wise to consider another British automobile as his main mode of transportation. That’s because the Jaguar F-Type is the complete package rolled up into one beautiful piece of driving machinery. Everything about this vehicle screams performance.

It begins with iconic styling, harkening back to the old E-type of the 1960s. It has the classic long nose and short rear deck. Swept-back headlights look like the eyes of a feral cat on the prowl. LED running lights add a distinctive flair. The F-type is thoroughly modern, however, with its all-aluminum body. The F-Type looks equally irresistible in either hardtop or convertible body style. It has a deployable rear spoiler that automatically rises at higher speeds and the door handles go flush for uninterrupted airflow along its sides. This vehicle is a work of art and looks beautiful on display; but the better news is, this beauty was also designed to be driven.

The F-Type comes with three engine choices: a supercharged 3.0-liter V6 that gets either 340 horsepower or 380 horsepower, or a 5.0-liter V8 that unleashes 550 horses. An 8-speed automatic transmission is the standard offering, but for the pure driving enthusiast, there’s the 6-speed manual gearbox. No matter what setup you choose, you’re going to gain access to high levels of supercharged linear power in the form of torque. So with just a little pressure on the throttle, you’ll find yourself at 60 mph in about 4.6 seconds — that’s with the 380-hp V6.

The F-Type handles with laser-like precision. The hydraulic steering feels good and offers a tactile driving experience. Even when the adjustable suspension is set to its firmest setting, the ride is sophisticated and not abusive. This Jaguar utilizes Adaptive Dynamics, which monitors body motion and pitch rates 100 times per second, then continually makes adjustments. This translates to superior control, handling and agility. In other words, this car is really fun to drive.

That is due in part to the fact that the cockpit-like interior is all about one thing: the driver. The dash, center stack and steering wheel-mounted controls are all clean, simple and user friendly. The start/stop button is red, no doubt screaming what is most important here. The analog speedometer and tach feel sporty while the touch screen feels refined. Navigation and Sirius XM radio are both standard, as is a 770-watt, 12-speaker Meridian sound system. The Jaguar F-Type is nicely priced at $65,995. That’s a lot of car for the buck.

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Category: New Automobiles

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