In my leafy suburb, the vegans and Democrats — all 11 of them — drive dusky old Volvo wagons shaped like cargo containers.
Square and steely as Richard Nixon, these Swedish boxes on skinny wheels could probably survive an airdrop.
But the car’s parka-and-rubber-boots image began to radically change a few years ago with the introduction of the svelte S60 sedan, a Volvo that people actually park in garages.
And now comes the striking V60, a wagon guaranteed to alter our view of Volvos as vehicles for people who grow vegetable gardens in their front yards.
As a libertarian on the edge of town, I’ll miss those all-weather warriors.
But just take a look at the V60 I had recently, a wagon so dramatically styled that it could almost pass for a concept car lounging atop flashy 19-inch wheels.
Did we get hit by a meteor or something?
Ford owned Volvo for years — the current Taurus sedan is still on a Volvo-derived platform — but it sold the company to Geely Group Holdings in China in 2009.
Since then, Volvo — Latin for “I roll” — has mostly struggled in the U.S., its sales down 10 percent last year and another 9.8 percent through May.
Maybe consumers just haven’t adjusted to Volvos in tight-cut, 21st-century suits.
New this year to the U.S., the silver-blue V60 wagon I had recently wore a version of Volvo’s traditional big grille, now a more aerodynamic, four-bar model flanked by highly contemporary headlamps.
A long, sloping hood sort of blurred the fact that the V60 was front-wheel drive. Moreover, the hood was raised, with chiseled lines on its perimeters.
A well-placed character line swept off the back side of the headlamps, tying the front of the car to its distinctive, extremely vertical bat-wing taillamps.
Even odder for a Volvo, the V60’s sleek body clung tightly to good-looking 10-spoke wheels and 235/40 tires. (Volvos of the past had all the stance and grace of a John Deere tractor.)
Still, the single most appealing line on the V60 — and one you would least expect on a station wagon — was its top.
Relatively low even at the windshield, the top slid alluringly down to angled rear pillars, looking absolutely New Age California beach bum.
Rad, dudes and dude-ettes, and who could have predicted rakish in a Volvo?
Under the hood