Volvo V60: new face of practical estates

  • Volvo V60 meets its older but bigger sibling, the V70
  • V70 estate is more capacious and practical
  • V60 shines through for running costs and modern feel

One of the reasons Volvos are loved by their owners are their sheer practicality.

Of the current V70, Volvo’s engineers were proud to claim that with the back seats down you could fit a new washing machine in the back including its packaging – a feat matched by very few cars.

But the desire for more appealing designs has meant a shift to more swoopy lines and the now much used ‘Coupe’ tag to describe a car’s sporty looks.

The V60 is the first estate car following Volvo’s new design ethos and it's a much more sporty design, especially from the side, and it stands in stark contrast to the V70’s more conventional boxy shape.

Volvo V60

Practicality

Yes, of course the Volvo V70 offers much more boot and passenger space because it is a bigger car, but its footprint isn’t that much bigger than the V60. The V70 is 4823mm long while the V60 measures up at 4623mm, but width wise they are near identical.

Boot space is a whopping 815 litres for the V70 and a not inconsiderate 557 litres for the V60. That’s the effect of a longer car and more boxy shape for you.

Volvo V60

Driving experience

The V60 is a newer car compared to the V70 so no surprise the V60 has the more engaging driving experience. The steering feels more agile, if lacking in feel, and the whole car delivers a more sporty drive.

The ride is a different matter though. The compromise with a more sporty drive is a firmer ride and while the V60 certainly feels great to drive on smooth roads, that firmer suspension can really pump some bangs into the cabin when hitting potholes.

The V70 provides a more compliant ride and that shows on lumpy back roads but the driving experience overall is more lacklustre. It’s fine for motorway cruising and pootling about on back roads, but it is too wallowy for driving with gusto.

Volvo V60 cabin

Interior quality

Perhaps the biggest difference between the two cars is that the V60 feels like a harmonious whole and the V70 feels like a car that's had various tech elements added over the years. 

The infotainment system is distinctly modern and feels fresh every time I use it. The sat nav is up there with the best systems and hooking in a MP3 player via USB cable enables the screen to show album covers as you would see on an iPod or iPhone.

The V70 simple lacks these touches that mark out the truly modern from the ones that are trying to keep up. It’s not that the V70 is bad or it’s screen is unusable but more that it is really showing its age.

Volvo V60

Overall

I had my doubts when I first viewed the V60 that it could prove to be a full-on family set of wheels, but so far it has delivered in terms of practicality.

Ok, it did require a roof box to enable a family of five to carry all it required for a two-week holiday but it is proving to be engaging to drive and has taken care of every other practical task thrown at it so far.

Shame it can’t swallow a washing machine though – packaging or no packaging.

Miles: 4,298                  Economy: 45.4 (actual)