V60 D5 R-Design Premium
has acceded to the lifestyle
imperative and produced an estate
that delivers a convincing premium
SOMEONE PASS THE CAMOMILE TEA I'M IN SHOCK. My
world has been rocked, and disturbingly, it's been rocked by a Volvo.
I'm recovering from the shock of Sweden's newest estate car, which
is… not shaped like a shoebox.
After 60 years of employing stylists from Kleenex, Volvo has discovered that
21st Century designers now have the technology to use curves in estate car designs.
This is a remarkable first for Volvo a surprise of the same magnitude
as, say, getting an invitation to Dale Winton's wedding to Jordan.
Okay, maybe not quite that shocking. And Volvo doesn't want to appear too
outrageous, so the new V60 has none of the angularity of an Audi or the boldness
of a BMW. The V60's designer, Orjan Sterner, claims it has coupe styling cues
but let's be honest here; that's going just a step too far. The shape is clean
but it's inoffensively un-flashy. It's reassuringly Volvoid bland.
absolutely love the V60's cabin. It has all those elements of Swedish design
that we've come to love simplicity, elegance and harmony, without
any unnecessary flourishes.
this is beginning to sound like an advert for high-end furniture, that's not
too far from the truth. Sitting in the V60 is like living in a BoConcept catalogue.
And there's one of the clunkiness that solid Scandinavian styling can sometimes
absolutely love the
It has all those
elements of Swedish
weve come to love
and harmony, without
If Volvo has made a leap in design terms, it's also getting on the case in the
chassis department. Not so very long ago, Volvo's chassis performance was so
compromised that it felt forced to fit a four-button system on the console to
allow you to toggle between chassis settings, each more ineffective than the
You'll be pleased to hear that, on the evidence of the V60, those days are gone;
Volvo has at last employed some decent suspension engineers. Although you can
still opt for Volvo's 'Four C' chassis system, you'd be daft to do so because
the V60 is so good it really doesn't need it.
The V60's front-wheel drive set-up feels rather like an Audi. The handling is
safe, fluid and unfussed. The steering has a chunky feel to it. It's all most
un-Volvo-like. Apply too much power through a bend and there's the inevitable
understeer, accompanied by just a little more body roll than you'd expect from
a Beemer, but the V60 delivers a convincing premium experience.
Ride quality is even very decent. Major mid-corner bumps don't affect the car
too much, although you can certainly feel the activity in the suspension. Apparently
the V60 has been tested on UK roads notoriously the most challenging
in Europe so it feels as at home in the ancient market town of
Builth Wells as it does in Buckingham.
UK buyers are almost all going to opt for a diesel, which as ever with Volvo
is a five-cylinder unit (either 2.0 litres in D3 guise or 2.4 in D5 form). The
D3 engine is actually the better of the two. Despite its relative lack of power
(160bhp versus 202bhp), it's remarkably close on peak torque (295lb ft against
309lb ft) and that peak is actually developed lower down the rev range.
in real-world driving terms, the D3 is the virtual equal of the D5. Although
both engines return the same fuel economy with a manual gearbox (a pretty remarkable
53.3mpg), the D3 is more economical if you want automatic transmission (47.9mpg).
That said, the D5 does have more oomph and an easier cruising gait.
Britain, the V60 is not
Volvo has acceded to
the lifestyle imperative
and that swoopy
Now, what about practicality? Antique dealers of Britain, the V60 is not for
you. Volvo has acceded to the lifestyle imperative and that swoopy roofline
does compromise luggage space.
There's a mere 430 litres of boot space (up to the window line) and even when
all the seats are lowered, the maximum you can fit is 1,241 litres. To put that
in perspective, the bigger V70 can take 1,600 litres. Boosting adaptability
a little, the V60's rear seat has a 40:20:40 split and the front passenger seat
can fold down too.
Volvo's usual complement of safety gear is further boosted by the arrival of
'Pedestrian Detection' that automatically brakes the car if it detects jay walkers.
The only downside is that the system uses curious black boxes that look like
warts on the front grille.
V60 prices start at £24,960, which seems very competitive indeed. The star of
the range is the D3 R-Design Premium (£28,760) but we wouldn't blame you for
shelling out an extra £2,155 to get the D5 version. Chris
Volvo V60 D5 R-Design Premium | £30,915
Maximum speed: 143mph | 0-62mph: 7.9 seconds | Overall MPG: 53.3mpg
Power: 202bhp | Torque: 309lb ft | CO2 142g/km