Volvo V60: car review

Posted on August 20th, 2014 by James Luckhurst

Volvo’s versatile four-cylinder Sportswagon

Volvo V60: car review

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What is it?

The sporty version of Volvo’s V60 estate fitted with their new four-cylinder D4 engine and aimed at delivering a dynamic driving experience while offering the versatility of an estate.

How safe is it?

One of the main reasons people consider a Volvo is because of their safety record and the knowledge that they set the standard in the industry. The car is packed with safety features.

Who should buy one?

Those who are looking for an upmarket estate that offers the fun of something sporty but the practicality of having the extra space. Don’t skip this on the way to the BMW, Audi or Mercedes dealers.

DRIVING AND PERFORMANCE
Volvo V60: car review

The V60 R-Design certainly looks the part, especially in the fantastic albeit attention grabbing Rebel Blue paint (a £330 optional extra) that we had. The special R-Design rear diffuser that incorporates twin exhaust tailpipes and a redesigned front valance look wonderful, and combined with a 15mm lowered chassis, give it a genuinely sporting presence on the road.
The R-Design features carry on in the cabin, and front seat occupants get some of the most comfortable and brilliantly designed sport seats available in any car we’ve driven. Volvo has added a new seat cushion and this deserves a mention because it makes even the longest journey supremely comfortable. The floating console features the controls the access media, navigation and climate controls, but they are fiddly and don’t feel intuitive and you may find yourself glancing down more than you would like.
The V60 features the new four-cylinder two-litre D4 engine that is extremely well suited to this car. It does what Volvo claims and gives just the right balance of power while remaining relatively frugal and low on emissions. There’s a decent amount of power bearing in mind it’s a four-cylinder in a relatively big and heavy car, but the stiff suspension and precise, light steering make it feel quicker than it actually is. Combine this with the looks and you get the illusion of a much sportier car than it actually is. This makes it a good all-rounder; safe for the family, frugal for the environment and fun for the driver. It’s an impressive car and closing in on the BMW 3-Series.

SPACE AND PRACTICALITY
Volvo V60: car review

Although interior space is well designed and quite roomy for driver and passengers, it does, on paper at least, stumble on interior space. This is subjective though because if you look at it as a Sportswagon – then it would get five out of five, but look at it as you would a typical Volvo estate, and you lose a couple of points. The boot offers 430 litres, compared to 490 litres in the A4 Avant and 495 litres in the BMW 3 Series Touring. The rear seat splits 40/20/40 which is always very handy, and each of these folds perfectly flat. There is also a lot of headroom giving it a sense of being a larger car than it really is. This makes it pleasant for all occupants, including those times when you may have adults it back seats. Another item worth mentioning is the 67.5 litres (14.8 gallons) fuel tank that can get you almost 1,000 miles if you calculate this using the claimed combined fuel economy of 65.7mpg.

SAFETY
Volvo V60: car review

It’s easy to wax lyrical about Volvo’s safety record but you have to admire their ‘Vision 2020’ statement with an aim that nobody shall be seriously injured or killed in a new Volvo by 2020. With driver behaviour contributing to over 90% of all accidents, this is a big ask, but the V60 is making steps towards this with standard safety equipment like its City Safe system that detects objects in front of the car and applies brakes to prevent lower speed impacts. There are also six airbags, radar-based blind-spot detection that assists when reversing out of a parking space and road sign information that displays road signs in the instrument panel to help remind you what the speed limits are.

EQUIPMENT
Volvo V60: car review

Standard equipment includes electronic climate control, cruise control, a nicely positioned 5” colour screen that acts as an interface to the information centre and infotainment systems, and steering wheel controls. The R-Design also adds very smart five-spoke 18” alloy wheels, plus an R-Design steering wheel, gear selector, sports pedals and floor mats.
It’s easy to add those expensive options quickly. In our test car, the 8-speed Geartronic transmission will set you back £1,550 and the driver support pack adding lane-change alerts, blind sport warning, pedestrian detection and autobrake is another £1,900. If you do shell out for the Geartronic transmission then we recommend the very well made gear shift paddles at £150. The heated steering wheel (£200) is a nice touch too.

COSTS
Volvo V60: car review

Starting with running costs, the R-Design puts out 112 g/km of CO2 with the automatic or 103 g/km if you opt for the manual. The cost is free for first year car tax and then £30 for the auto or £20 for the manual. You also get a claimed 65.7mpg combined, although in our real-world test we were only able to hit the low 50’s. That is still very good all things considered.
The V60 also comes with a 36 month/60k warranty and free breakdown and recovery across Europe during this time. What you should look out for is the additional optional extras that can add up really quickly.

WE SAY

One of the best Volvo’s yet.

AT A GLANCE:
Price: £32,095 (£40,455 as tested)
Performance: 0-60mph in 7.2 seconds
Economy: 68.7mpg combined
Insurance: Group 28
Tax: Band C £30