First Test 2019 Volvo V60 Thanks to a significant investment programme from parent company Geely, Volvo can’t seem to put a foot wrong. With its SUV range complete, and the renewal of its large car range finished, the Swedish firm has turned its attention to the V60 estate car. It’s a sector of the market that is hugely competitive, with strong rivalry from the Audi A4 Avant, BMW 3 Series Touring and Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate, as well as models like the Skoda Superb and VW Passat. I think it’s fair to say that Volvo has underperformed in the segment in recent years, but that’s all set to change with the launch of an all-new V60 underpinned by Volvo’s flexible SPA platform, that stands for Scalable Product Architecture.
It may look as though Volvo has pressed the minus five per cent button on the photocopier when creating the latest V60, but it could be said that it’s because Volvo’s designers got its larger estate so right. A smaller, cheaper carbon copy of the V90 could be just what Volvo dealers need to get the cash registers ringing, in a way that the car’s predecessor never did. For now, there’s a choice of two diesel engines, both 2.0-litre in size, with the D3 developing 148bhp and the more powerful D4 achieving 188bhp. Later there will be a pair of T6 and T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid models, as well as dynamic R-Design and rough and ready Cross Country versions.
But until they arrive, buyers have the option of Momentum or Inscription trim, and a choice of a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic transmission. Our test car came fitted with the more powerful of the two diesel engines, with a smooth-shifting eight-speed automatic transmission. With 188bhp on tap from the D4 unit, there’s sufficient punch to keep up with other traffic, and delivers plenty of overtaking muscle. In the default Comfort setting, or indeed Individual or Dynamic there’s decent pace, however, Eco mode blunts things considerably. The 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel unit is quiet, and you’ll only be aware of its presence if you’re getting busy with your right foot. Both road and tyre noise are neatly suppressed and there’s only a hint of wind flutter along the car’s flanks. The V60’s road manners are excellent, with nicely controlled body lean, fluid handling and generous grip.
The steering has a good weighting to it, feels involving and is accurate, while manoeuvring in tight spaces is easy. The suspension settings are masterful, with exceptional comfort around town over potholes and imperfections, as well as at a faster pace where long distances are completed with ease.
And if the exterior of the V60 suffers from Russian doll syndrome, it’s a similar story on the inside of the car, too. And that’s certainly no bad thing, as the layout is excellent, with a portrait-shaped touchscreen the dominant feature. Cabin quality is exceptional, with all of the materials feeling plush and upmarket, and a reassuring air of solidity that will mean that it stands up well to punishing family life. The controls are well placed for user friendliness, and touches like the twist action for the start button are pleasing. The driver’s seat is well stuffed and features lots of adjustment so that you can attain a comfortable position. All-round vision is excellent, with a decent over the shoulder view and rear parking sensors on all versions for extra peace of mind. There’s space to store oddments in the cupholders along the centre console, as well as extra space underneath the armrest, reasonable door pockets and a huge glovebox.
Even with the panoramic glass roof, there’s plenty of headroom up front and in the rear, and sufficient leg and foot room, providing the driver’s seat isn’t in its lowest setting, which squeezes the amount of space for rear occupant’s feet. And because of the transmission tunnel running through the centre of the car, a third passenger will need to splay their legs either side to get comfortable. Boot space is improved by almost 100 litres compared to its predecessor, to 529 litres with the seats up, making Labradors rejoice everywhere. Tumble the split and folding rear seats down flat, and this grows by 123 litres to 1,364 litres, which though improved compared to before, is still a little down on what you can expect to find in an Audi A4 Avant or Mercedes- Benz C-Class Estate. The loading height is appreciably low, and there’s extra storage underneath the boot floor, though disappointingly a space saver spare wheel costs an additional £150 and isn’t provided as standard. For a company that is so focused on safety, this is a serious omission in our opinion.
Another disappointment is that Volvo charges an extra £300 for Android Auto and Apple CarPlay, whereas Audi fits it as standard. Apart from that, equipment levels are pretty comprehensive, with a navigation system, LED headlights, electric rear tailgate, digital instruments, DAB radio, a ten-speaker audio system and a full suite of safety equipment included on all versions of the V60 range.
On sale Now In showrooms July 2018
Prices £31,810 to £40,110
Bodystyles 5-door estate
Engines 2.0 (148bhp), 2.0 (188bhp)
Trim levels Momentum, Momentum Pro, Inscription, Inscription Pro
Also consider Audi A4 Avant, Mercedes-Benz C-Class
Model tested Inscription Pro D4
Built in Ghent, Belgium
Bodystyle 5-door estate, 5-seats
Powerplant 1,969cc, 4-cylinder, 16-valve, turbo diesel
Transmission 8-speed automatic
Max power 188bhp @ 4,250rpm
Max torque 295lb ft @ 1,750-2,500rpm
Top speed 137mph
CO2 emissions 122g/km (Euro-6d-Temp)
Economy (urban/extra urban/combined) 52.3/67.3/61.4mpg
Fuel tank size 55 litres
Range 743 miles
Insurance group 35 BIK rate 29%
Size (length/width with mirrors) 4,761/2,040mm
Boot space (min/max) 529/1,364 litres
Kerb/max towing weight 1,669/2,000kg
Euro NCAP crash rating Not yet tested
Verdict Classy, comfortable and great to drive, it ticks all the boxes for a family buyer that is fed up with the default premium choices.