Volvo knows a thing or two about making comfortable, spacious estate cars and this – the Volvo V60 – is its latest offering. The smallest load-lugger in the range, it’s aiming to equal the reputation set by the larger – and incredibly popular – V90. Can it manage this? Let’s find out.
The exterior of the V60 exhbits all of the design cues we’ve come to expect of current-generation Volvos. There’s the recognisable Thor’s Hammer headlight design, while the styling of the rear is essentially just scaled-down V90. It’s an elegant design, that’s for sure, and one that looks even classier in the metal.
The interior of the V60 is just as you’d expect from a Volvo product – solid, comfortable and effortlessly minimalist. It’s dominated by this large central touchscreen, which controls pretty much all of the major functions of the car’s cabin. However, you still get traditional analogue controls for the volume – and that’s a real plus.
Volvos need to be, first and foremost, very practical. Thankfully the V60 delivers in this area, offering up 539 ltires of boot space with the rear seats in place, and this rises to 1,441 litres with them folded flat. Importantly, that trumps both the BMW 3 Series Touring and the Audi A4 Avant. An added bonus is the ability the lower the rear seats via the touch of a button – ideal if you’re carrying heavier items.
Underneath the bonnet of this V60 is a 2.0-litre turbocharged diesel engine sending power to the front wheels via a six-speed manual gearbox. This D4 model produces 188bhp, and performance is decent – the sprint to 60mph takes just 7.7 seconds. It’s also available with an automatic gearbox, which is a better choice if you’re planning on doing longer distances.
It’ll return 64mpg and emit 117g/km CO2, which is pretty good considering the relatively brisk performance available.
When the larger V90 came out, it was famed for having a nice composed ride which wasn’t too wishy washy in the corners either. It’s nice to be able to report that it’s a similar story in the V60. The suspension setup is a nice compromise between soft enough so that it’s comfortable over long distances, but firm enough so that it isn’t too wallowy in the corners.
The 2.0-litre engine underneath the bonnet of the engine produces just shy of 190bhp, and it’s sent to the road through a six-speed manual in this car. If it were our car we’d probably go for the automatic as it suits the car a little bit better. Having that amount of power makes it pretty accomplished at overtaking, and means it’s very settled at motorway speeds.
The V60, in a similar vein to the rest of the Volvo range, features a drive mode controller. In reality, you’re going to keep it in comfort – it’s the best average mode, and you don’t really need the added throttle response in a car like this, you want to be whisking along at moderate speed rather than driving like your hair’s on fire.
Though some may have argued about Volvo’s ability to transfer the success of its larger V90 into the smaller V60, there really was no need to worry. This car is very, very good indeed. It’s practical – more practical than rivals in fact – and it’s efficient too. In short, if you’re after small, well designed and well-made compact estate car, then you really should be considering the Volvo V60.