Volvo V60 - V for victory in brand's transformation
PUBLISHED: 17:26 24 July 2018 | UPDATED: 17:26 24 July 2018
Volvo's winning formula and success story gets new momentum with the second-generation V60 estate. Motoring editor Andy Russell enjoys an early drive and says the trio of German giants has a serious new rival.
It’s odd to start a first-drive review about the new Volvo V60 estate talking about the Audi A4 Avant, BMW 3 Series Touring and Mercedes-Benz C-Class but the Volvo PR team is happy to do so.
It feels the brand is on another winner with the latest model in the transformation of the range with 21 major awards already this year including UK, European and World Car of the Year.
The German trio has dominated the premium mid-size estate sector but now the Swedish brand has a weapon in the V60 to take on these big guns.
Expected to be one of its big sellers, the V60 will help take UK registrations from 46,000 last year to the goal of 60,000 in 2020.
Looks and image
This new family car is far removed from Volvo’s first estate, the 1953 Duett, and boxy cargo-carriers that followed. It builds on the new brand image with a distinctive, desirable design to create a most elegant estate.
A scaled-down large V90 from the front, I prefer the V60’s tail with a less steeply-raked rear screen… I’m sure Mabel our dog would too!
Under the bonnet
The 2.0-litre turbo launch engines are 150 and 190hp diesel D3 and D4 – six-speed manual and eight-speed automatic – and auto-only 250hp petrol T5, all front-wheel drive. T4 petrol and T6 and T8 Twin Engine petrol plug-in hybrids, the latter all-wheel drive, arrive next year.
While D3 will take 60pc of registrations, the D4 test cars have slightly more punch but the D3 will share its smooth surge of low-down pull, civilised cruising and free-revving performance, when it gets noisy but not coarse.
The manual has a precise positive shift but I prefer the automatic with its seamless, low-speed shifts and responsive kickdown.
How it drives
Sharing its platform with the XC90 and 60 SUVs and S90 saloon and V90, the V60 is the most dynamic drive without sacrificing comfort.
Momentum’s standard suspension – adaptive damping is optional on sporty R-Design and range-topping Inscription – soothes pretty rough roads surfaces to cosset passengers without numbing all feedback for the driver. Nor is it fazed or floaty over undulating dips and crests with body movement quickly controlled.
The V60 is relaxed hacking along motorways but equally at home on twisty, cross-country routes with good poise, balance and well-weighted steering.
Space and comfort
It’s hard to believe Volvo makes a bigger estate car in the V90.
With large adults luxuriating up front, there’s abundant legroom in the back and, with shapely, low-set rear seats set low, no shortage of headroom room, although you feel enclosed.
It also boasts a class-leading 529-litre boot which is long, flat-sided and has no load lip. Rear seat backs split 60/40 and fold flat for a 1,441-litre load deck. Go for the £500 convenience pack and the seat backs release at the press of a button and it includes a load protection net and boot divider to protect small loads.
Lots of cabin storage boxes and cubbyholes will also suite family life.
At the wheel
Interiors and fascias don’t come much classier than modern Volvos with their Scandinavian simplicity.
All V60s get a 12.3in active instrument console with virtual dials and central display which can be customised to show different information including sat-nav.
The excellent nine-inch tablet-style Sensus infotainment touchscreen to control functions and selectable safety and collision avoidance systems does away with traditional buttons and voice control can select cabin temperature and radio stations.
Connectivity includes a WiFi hotspot and cloud-based apps and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay compatibility.
Volvo doesn’t skimp with entry Momentum including Sensus, LED headlights, power tailgate, sat-nav, dual-zone climate control, 10-speaker sound system and selectable drive mode settings.
Best-selling R-Design has a sportier feel, Inscription is more luxurious. All are available in Pro form which adds head-up display, keyless entry, hands-free tailgate operation, active bending headlights, heated steering wheel and leather seats on Momentum, ventilated on Inscription.
Volvo’s model range just gets better and more desirable. You don’t wonder if the latest model will be good – it’s a question of how good it will be. Watch out Germans.
SPEC AND TECH
Price: £31,810 to £40,860
Engine: D4, 1969cc, 190hp, four-cylinder turbo diesel
Performance: 0-62mph 7.9 seconds; top speed
Combined MPG: Six-speed manual 61.8 to 64 (eight-speed automatic 60.1 to 62.9)
CO2 emissions: 117 to 122g/km (119 to 125g/km)
Benefit-in-kind tax rate: 28 to 29pc (28 to 30pc)
Warranty: Three years or 60,000 miles
Will it fit in the garage? L 4,761mm; W (including door mirrors) 2,040mm; H 1,433mm