This compact estate is ageing gracefully
- Far better looking than saloon
- Flexible loading arrangements
- A wide range of engines
- Excellent safety equipment
- One of the smallest boots in the sector
- Vague steering and average dynaamics
- Build quality lacks ultimate ruggedness
- Most rivals simply do it better
This small five-door estate is in an interesting market position, as it's not commodious, like a traditional family wagon. It's not really a standard hatchback, either – more of a vaguely premium halfway house between the two.
The Swedish alternative to German posh
So, the Volvo V60 is stylish, well sized and highly appealing for anyone that doesn't want to go down the mainstream German road. Due to its age, you'll see the quirks inside – maybe you'll like them, maybe you won't – such as the multi-button dashboard and dated infortainment.
Still, you can't say it doesn't look good. And Volvo is great at choosing the right trim materials and colours, lending this car a classy look. The instruments are a little on the baffling side, looking cluttered and cheaply styled – a shame, given the rest looks so premium.
The Volvo S60 saloon forms the basis of the V60 but the sports wagon is a better looking car. But it's appeal isn't merely cosmetic – there's the added advantage of a tailgate at the rear, even if it opens into a boot that's more hatchback than estate sized.
The engine choices
Like its German rivals, you can't argue at the V60's sheer range of power units. The petrol choice is a tad limited in its scope, starting with the 2.0-litre turbocharged petrol, boasting 150hp (T3). You can also get that same engine in T4 (180hp), T5 (240hp) and T6 (310hp) forms. Threre's also the Polestar, which we'll come to later.
Diesel buyers get the choice of a 2.0-litre, offered in 115hp (D2), 150hp (D3), 180hp (D4) and 210hp (D5) – all of which are reasonably refined. It goes without saying that the D5 is the most appealing thanks to its prodigious performance.
You can also buy your V60 in Twin Engine hybrid form – and there are two options here. These cars are based on the charismatic old 2.4-litre five-cylinder diesel, which ends up making them far more enjoyable to drive than they have any right to be. These are expensive to buy outright, but monthly deals are numerous. You get a choice of 163 and 220hp versions.
Not forgetting the Polestar
The V60 Polestar is now in its second iteration. The first one was a charismatic six-cylinder offering, which was as flawed as it was fun. This was replaced in 2016 by a downsized 2.0-litre version.
Don't think for a moment that it's downsized in performance. The Twin Engine Polestar packs a turbocharger and supercharger, with hybrid assistance to pack an impressive 370hp. It's a low-key looking Q-car, which will appeal to those who want BMW M3-style performance without attracting the attention.
The 2016 version came with new eight-speed automatic transmission, 20-inch alloys, a recalibrated four-wheel-drive system, and revised steering. But sheer brute acceleration is what this car is all about – 0-62mph is dispatched in 4.4 seconds.
Handling is similarly upgraded, thanks to Ohlins dampers, and some careful fine-tuning of the four-wheel drive system. In practice it's a point and shoot kind of car – and very different to the front-wheel drive cars it's based on.
The Parkers Verdict
The Volvo V60 is getting on in years, and in most measurable ways, is woefully off the pace. And yet, we can't help but like it – thanks to its cool, Swedish interior and quirky choice of unashamedly punchy engines.
Would we recommend one? Difficult if you're a keen driver because it's dynamically off the pace. And yet, you can buy some hilariously rapid versions, which continues Volvo's great heritage for making rapid estate cars. undoubtedly a better buy used rather than new.
Read on for the full review of the Volvo V60 estate
What owners say about this car
Performance and economy are very good, averages mid 40's mpg. Also somehow only £30 annual road tax for the 6... Read owner review
I really enjoy driving the car due to the power and its stability at least compared to my previous toyota... Read owner review
the only good point about this car is the engine & fuel consumption. The suspension is poor & you feel... Read owner review