Volvo V60: Daddy Racer

  • Diesel engine offers plenty of punch for easy overtaking
  • Automatic gearbox is well suited to the pulling power
  • Paddle shifters seem a step too far in diesel Volvo estate

If there's something that  has impressed about the Volvo V60 from the moment it turned up on the Parkers test fleet, it's the mix of pace and frugality.

In a world of compromises, the V60 with its 2.0-litre diesel engine has delivered a perfect balance between outright go without gargling diesel like it’s a dentist's most loyal customer. 

Volvo V60

Delivers quick and easy overtakes

When I chat to car buyers most of them want a car ‘that goes when I put my foot down’. Not exactly the most scientific of requirements but for most it boils down to that moment on a single carriageway where you are stuck behind a lorry doing 50mph and you want to get past safely.

It's about spending as little time as possible on the wrong side of the road and being able to take advantage and as the person behind the wheel you want confidence the car can deliver when you put your foot down.

The Volvo V60 has it - at least in this guise - with its 181bhp blended with a strong mix of pulling power throughout the rev range. It doesn’t take much of a throttle prod to get the car surging forward.

Volvo V60

New automatic gearbox really helps

The main reason for this is that V60 now comes with a new eight-speed automatic, which replaces the old six-speed. Gone is the slow, lurching changes between gears and it is now quicker and more seamless with its shifts.

I have yet to catch the gearbox in the wrong gear so I always have plenty of confidence when going for a safe overtake. The only time it's not on best form is when going for a gap at a roundabout when I decide to go for it, then hesitate, then go for it. The on, off, on attitude to the throttle confuses it and it's slow to get its act together. Mind you, maybe I should make up my mind as to what I am doing!

Volvo V60

Sports mode and paddle shifters

In standard auto mode the V60 covers most driving situations with ease, but if I need to get a bit of a shift on then hitting sports mode sharpens up the throttle response and generally selects a gear lower for better response.

Again, the auto sorts out all the gear changes and I just concentrate on getting past slower vehicles as quickly and safely as possible. In fact, the sport mode is so good I am left wondering when I would use the manual gear changes, particularly utilising the paddle shifts mounted behind the steering wheel.

They are lovely bits of kit, made from aluminium and feel great to the touch, but they don’t really deliver anything more than the sport mode. I suspect in a much more performance focused version (such as the seriously rapid Polestar V60) they would deliver a very engaging experience. So I wouldn’t chose them as an option (currently £150).

Volvo V60 fuel consumption

Fuel consumption staying steady

So with all this talk of performance how well behaved is the V60 when it comes to supping diesel? Not bad is the answer. The V60 is returning an indicated 44mpg, which gets better on a longer cruise, and tends to dip a bit on the short, back road commute which makes up a fair bit of my driving.

That translates to tank range getting close to 600 miles and a cost of around the £80 mark, so for decent-sized family transport it ticks the box on affordable running. Also means a little spirited driving at times is not going to break the bank.

Miles: 6,947                  Economy: 44.7