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Volvo V60 Reviews

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Volvo estates aren't what they used to be. Jonathan Crouch checks out the improved V60 Sports Wagon.

In case you hadn't heard, Volvo estates are curvier and sportier these days, as is ably demonstrated by the improved version of this V60. Despite its sleeker styling direction, the car isn't a clone of the German compact executive rivals, still majoring in Volvo virtues like safety, comfort and practicality. Also included though, is a rewarding driving experience and a fine set of petrol and diesel engines, including Volvo's latest 'Drive-E' 2.0-litre petrol and diesel units.

Estate cars. They used to be things you bought to carry around loads of kit. Not any more. These days, most people wanting to do that will buy an MPV or an SUV. Leaving estates to focus almost completely on style and driving dynamics. Which is why compact executive wagons like Audi's A4 Avant and BMW's 3 Series Touring can't actually carry much more than the saloons upon which they're based. Now you wouldn't expect Volvo, a solid, traditional brand that pioneered the kind of boxy estate car into which you could fit a fridge (or several), to want much to do with this kind of trendy form over function approach. And you'd be wrong. The Swedish brand actually invented this style-conscious market niche long before the German brands turned up, bringing us the classic P1800E model that Roger Moore drove as 'The Saint' way back in the Sixties. But it took them until 2010 to return to it with this car - the V60. This, apparently, isn't an 'estate' anyway. According to Volvo's publicity material, I'm to call it a 'sports wagon'. I'm not going to do that - but you've got the idea. The type of baggage that Gothenburg doesn't want this car to carry is the historical kind that might see this V60 associated with pipe-and-slippers-bound antique dealers for whom sheer driving pleasure is neither desirable or required. This was once a market Volvo was bound to, but the introduction of their BMW 3 Series-sized S60 saloon in mid-2010 changed all of that. Here was a car that really could reward at the wheel. Here was a car you could mention in the same breath as its German premium rivals. And here was a car ready and waiting for a sleek, low-slung, style-conscious estate variant. Exactly like this one. Let's check out the latest version.

Volvo has at last developed its own range of 'Drive-E' 2.0-litre engines after years of relying on Ford and PSA units. These powerplants will take some time to filter through though. The first 181bhp Drive-E diesel unit is fitted to the popular D4 model. In the rest of the diesel line-up though, the older engines still continue. So the baseline D2 carries on with its 115bhp 1.6-litre PSA unit, while the D3 and D5 variants continue with the five cylinder Ford engine in either 2.0-litre or 2.4-litres guises putting out either 136 or 215bhp. There's a Drive-E petrol unit too, but it's only fitted to the top of the range T6 where it comes with 306bhp. Since this engine can only work with 2WD, the older 306bhp 2.0-litre turbo also continues in a 4WD model but is nothing like as efficient. Most customers of petrol-powered V60 models though, will be looking at the 1.6-litre GTDi petrol engine that offers 150bhp in the T3. At the top of the line-up is the Plug-in Hybrid D6 version which mates the D5's 2.4-litre diesel engine with a 70bhp electric motor. All V60 models get a six speed manual gearbox as standard but with selected engines, there's the option of a Geartronic automatic or the clever Powershift dual clutch transmission. Interestingly, there are three chassis set-ups available to V60 buyers which govern how the car performs on the road. The Dynamic chassis is fitted as standard in the UK. Then there's a firmer, more sporting set-up offered with the R-Design Lowered Sport Chassis option. The final option is the Volvo FOUR-C (Continuously Controlled Chassis Concept), an active suspension that allows drivers to select their preferred settings when on the move.

Lots of people will have a clear picture in their head of what a Volvo estate looks like but the V60 is quite a departure from that. It employs what Volvo calls its 'racetrack' design with the lines of the car flowing organically into each other like the curves of a race circuit. Boxy it ain't. Changes to this latest version are subtle. A redesigned bonnet incorporate extra flowing creases, while the revised headlights incorporate a cornering function and an auto-dimming main beam. There's also a revised bumper with extra chrome trim - and daytime running lights. You'll find a sleeker rear bumper too. At the wheel, where you sit a bit lower than in most other Volvos, there are few changes apart from a redesigned auto gearbox shifter, the emphasis remaining on the kind of cool Scandinavian design that IKEA fans will like very much. The signature Volvo 'floating' centre console is present and correct, angled in this model more towards the driver for a more 'cockpit'-style feel. The boot is 430-litres, which is just under 100-litres up on the S60 saloon but less than you'll cram into compact executive estates like the BMW 3 Series Touring and Audi A4 Avant. Volvo points out that there's more to practicality than sheer load volume and it's got a point. The V60 load area has been designed with a wide aperture of 1,095mm and a uniform shape, so all of the available capacity can be used. The rear bench splits 40/20/40 and drops down flat to the floor, while the front passenger seat can do likewise to further increase luggage space.

Prices sit mainly in the £23,000 to £35,000 bracket, though you'll need a hefty £45,000 budget if you're to stretch to the diesel/electric Plug-in hybrid version. That means a premium of around £1,600 over equivalent S60 saloon models. Even entry-level models get alloy wheels, cruise control, powered heated mirrors, climate control, a quality 6-speaker stereo with controls on the leather-covered steering wheel and a 5-inch colour display screen. One area where the V60 sticks very much to Volvo tradition is safety. The excellent City Safety technology that can automatically warn the driver and, ultimately, apply the brakes if it detects an imminent collision, is standard. There's also an optional Pedestrian Detection function that keeps an eye out for people stepping in front of the vehicle. Seatbelt pretensioners are fitted to all seats and a full array of airbags is standard. Technology features available on the V60 include the ACC Adaptive Cruise Control system that can maintain a set gap to the vehicle in front, a parking assist camera with front and rear sensors and a further camera on the front grille to help the driver see out of bind junctions. The specially developed infotainment system brings the various functions together on a five or seven inch screen mounted high on the dashboard.

The launch of the 'Drive-E' Volvo diesel unit in the V60 D4 creates a little confusion here. After all, the 99g/km CO2 figure of this 181bhp unit is better than the 108g/km reading returned by the 115bhp entry-level D2 diesel model. So much for technology. The combined cycle fuel returns for both variants are pretty similar: for reference, the D2 manages 68.9mpg while the D4 manages 74.3mpg. The D5 diesel engine can return 61.4mpg on the combined cycle and 120g/km, which isn't bad considering the performance it offers. It means that the V60 can't match the best of the BMW diesel engine range for efficiency but has equivalent Audi and Mercedes models in its sights. The T3 petrol manages 47.1mpg and 139g/km. And the Plug-in hybrid diesel/electric variant? Well, Volvo claims a purely electric range of up to 31 miles for his car, which means this model can deliver zero-emissions motoring for the 75 per cent of Europeans who drive less than this distance on a daily basis. Range anxiety isn't an issue because when the batteries are largely depleted, you just move onto diesel power while reserving enough energy for another 12 miles on battery power. Emissions are rated at 48g/km and overall economy at 155.2mpg on the largely nugatory NEDC cycle measure. In 'normal' real world driving you should get around 60mpg.

Volvo estates aren't what they used to be - and in this case, that's a very good thing. This improved V60 will, I think, find it easier than its S60 saloon stablemate to conquest sales from German rivals: indeed, many Volvo customers who started out looking at that four-door will find this car mighty difficult to resist. This is then, a tale of the unexpected, both in style and speed. True, there have been practical compromises made to achieve it, but the result is a car that many buyers new to the brand will find hard to resist. If you're just about to sign for a premium 3 Series or A4-sized estate, then you might want to try one of these before you do. Swede dreams are made of this.

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Overview

This Swedish sports car estate that is the Volvo V60 offers everything you could dream of wrapped up into three S's! Speed, space and style!

Key Volvo V60 Points 

The Volvo V60 is only four years old with it being released in 2010, and each year the Swedish makers keep it up to date looking ultra-sleek and modern, as well as being big enough to fit all of your junk in! The Volvo V6 trim types available are from lowest to highest, ES, SE, SE Premium, Lux, Lux Premium, R-Design and R-Design Premium. So lots of choice with this car! Engine sizes are available as diesel fuel type D2, D3, D4 D5 manual and automatic, and petrol is also available as T3 manual and automatic and finally the Polestar automatic. Volvo V60 trim types come with a standard kit of climate control and cruise control, making the interior comfortable and the driving experience smooth, alloy wheels and all windows are electric making it an affordable and reliable car right from the off!

Why Lease a Volvo V60

The Volvo V60 is the perfect estate car catering for all of your needs; it gives loads of space inside making it comfortable for you and your passengers. It also offers a five star safety kit as all Volvo cars are known for, and this is at no extra cost, all trim types offer safety first! Leasing the Volvo V60 won’t disappoint as it offers the smooth drive of a sports car coupled with the space of a family estate car. The Volvo V60 is fuel efficient and offers petrol and diesel choices to suit your travelling needs. The car can handle long, drives and ranks very high in areas of reliability and strength.

Five reasons to lease a Volvo V60

  • Sports car drive
  • Spacious
  • Comfortable
  • Cheaper than its competitors
  • Classy and expensive looking

Conclusion

Overall, the Volvo V60 is a stylish, estate car with a sports car type feel to driving, but without the hefty prices of your ideal, cramped up sports car. Lease the Volvo V60 to put some “va-va-voom” into your driving!