Volvo V60: Goodbye

  • Sun sets on life with Volvo’s mid-size estate after nearly eight months
  • Impressed with its balance between performance and fuel economy
  • Some neat touches and great looks, but practicality is compromised

There aren’t many cars that get under your skin when you least expect them too.

However, after nearly eight months being the main custodian of the Volvo V60, I am going to miss it.

Not because it's perfect – it’s not. All cars offer compromises but the ones the Volvo V60 comes with I can more than live with. More importantly, its strengths are many and varied.

Here’s my summary of the ownership experience:

Volvo V60 driving

Performance

The V60 D4 is the higher-tuned version of the 2-litre turbo diesel so packs 178bhp with 400Nm of torque. It’s no race car but delivers strong, usable power that makes a quick overtake of a 50mph lorry on an open single carriageway road easy. Only downer is a slight hesitancy when on-off-on the throttle – it can happen when trying to grab a space at a busy roundabout.

It’s no track weapon (so the optional £150 gear shift paddles are not worth the cash) but it does provide the driver with real confidence to handle any real world driving challenges.

The R Design version also has lowered suspension that makes for crisper handling, though it’s still not best in class. Given I am often carrying people this is a compromise I can happily live with – my passengers don’t appreciate being thrown around the car as I hare round country lanes.

Volvo V60 R Design Sport seats

Comfort

Volvo seats are known for their comfort and the V60 is no exception. The front seats are not only very comfortably-yet-firm but the fit is snug and supportive. The R Design trim secures sports seats with additional side bolstering that helps here.

Rear seat passengers seem to get a good deal too – three teenagers never complained once about comfort on a nine-hour journey over to France.

Volvo V60 central colour screen

Clear info graphics

The central colour screen provides clean, crisp info that is particular useful for sat-nav instructions or seeing which album is playing (it shows the album cover art work).

The sat-nav instructions help make it very clear which turning to take by replicating the road signs and manages this feat not only in the UK but in France too.

When the washer fluid ran low not only did the central screen warn me but the graphic showed exactly where the washer fluid bottle was located under the bonnet.

Safety

Volvo’s ambition is for no-one to be seriously hurt or killed in a new Volvo by 2020, so safety is key priority for the Swedish firm.

So no surprise that the V60 comes with a lot of safety kit including the city safety system that can automatically brake the car if it detects an impending collision and the driver is not responding. There are plenty of airbags as well as other active safety systems such as the stability and traction control.  

Volvo V60 R Design Rebel Blue optional paint scheme

Looks

The combination of the sporty-looking R-Design trim and the optional Rebel Blue paint gets my vote. As to whether the strong colour will be popular in a few years’ time remains to be seen but judging by the number of people who came up and asked about the Volvo, however, it seems a fair few of you like the hue too.

Volvo V60 boot space

There have been downsides though. Boot space is not the biggest in the world and for some V70 owners the V60 doesn’t offer enough practicality to enable them to downsize.

The driving modes (Eco, Elegance and Sport) at first were engaging, but, unlike systems on rival cars, don’t change the engine or gearbox characteristics. They simply highlight the info most relevant to the driving mode (so in Sport mode the rev counter dominates for example). Fun to start with but the driving themes quickly became irrelevant.

Overall, the V60 has proved itself to be more than a capable set of family wheels. It looks great – no boxy estate here but a swoopy, stylish one that provides very comfortable transport for a family, with enough go to keep an enthusiastic driver entertained but doesn’t make you pay for it at the diesel pump.

Okay it doesn’t have the world’s biggest boot but it was large enough most of the time. Come holiday time a roof box provided the extra storage required. Like I said, every car offers a compromise and it just so happens the V60 offered one I could happily live with. That’s why I am sad to see it go.

Mileage: 14,544 miles     Economy: 42.5mpg (calculated)