Which is the best Volvo V60 Estate for me?
There's such a wide range of models to choose from that you're likely to have little trouble in choosing a Volvo V60 that fits into your life. Bear in mind that as a 'lifestyle' estate, it's not exaclty huge in terms of its loadbay. Think of it as a quirky, left-field hatch and you'll not be far wide of the mark.
Volvo V60 D2 Business Edition
Tested: April 2013
On the face of it, the Volvo V60 D2 makes a pretty good case for itself as a company car. For a start, its 1.6-litre diesel engine is ultra-frugal, averaging a claimed 62mpg. With a 67-litre fuel tank, that gives the car an enormous theoretical range of 911 miles.
It also fares well on the emissions front: it kicks out 119g/km, which currently places the car in the 18% BIK band (taking into account the 3% surcharge for diesel cars). Thanks to its estate bodystyle it’s a spacious machine that will easily carry five people and their luggage, so it makes a useful car for weekend use too.
In terms of how it drives, Volvo’s 1.6-litre D2 engine generates 115hp and is combined with a six-speed manual gearbox (an automatic ‘Powershift’ version is available at extra cost). It’s capable of 0-60mph in 10.9 seconds and a top speed of 118mph, which is more than enough performance for most drivers’ needs.
Plenty of body-roll and rather remote steering means it’s not the most inspiring machine to drive, which isn’t a problem as that’s not what the V60’s about. What is a little more disappointing is that it’s not as comfortable as you might expect.
Tested: Volvo V60 D4 R DESIGN Nav Geartronic
12 March 2015
Despite being an estate, the V60 is arguably a very sexy looking car. Especially so when finished in Rebel Blue, and trimmed up as an R-Design model as with our test car.
It is something of a sheep in wolf’s clothing though, as while that bodykit and intense hue allow it to closely imitate the Polestar performance model, this example is fitted with Volvo’s D4 diesel engine.
Specifically over 65mpg and, with the eight-speed Geartronic automatic gearbox, 112g/km of CO2 emissions – choose the six-speed manual to take advantage of the promised 72mpg and 103g/km emissions. Of course you’ll not likely see such lofty figures in real life - we experienced a figure approaching 50mpg during our time with the car.
This 180hp 2.0-litre diesel engine, accompanied by 400Nm of torque, allows the V60 to accelerate from 0-62mph in 7.4 seconds. But there’s little incentive to drive it so hard, as despite this car’s R-Design trim and sporty outlook, it’s best enjoyed at a medium pace.
It’s not that the four-cylinder diesel is unrefined – in most instances it’s quiet and smooth, only making itself heard at higher rpm – but it rarely likes to be hurried. The eight-speed 'box swaps gears perfectly, and is leagues ahead of the previous generation’s six-speed.
Choose the Winter Pack with Active Bending Lights and you’ll enjoy the heated seats and heated screen during cold snaps and the headlights will keep your path illuminated on shorter days. We’d also recommend the upgraded Harmon Kardon stereo (£500), which sounds fantastic and for peace of mind the £150 spare wheel – even if that is more expensive than rival’s offerings.
Sleek looks, decent handling, quality cabin, low running costs and impressive real world ability make it particularly appealing. Sexy and sensible, the V60 R Design Nav D4 Geartronic is still something of a perfect compromise.
Tested: Volvo V60 D4 SE Nav Geartronic
8 October 2013
Welcome to Volvo’s new downsizing regime. A program that sees the firm swap from numerous Ford (who used to be the Swedish firm’s owners) supplied engines into just two of its own. Using an almost identical 2.0-litre four-cylinder block, Volvo has spun both a diesel and petrol unit out of the one design.
They only relate to an S60 saloon with manual gearbox though; drive the sleek but still practical V60, with the new eight-speed automatic gearbox, and the numbers suffer slightly. You can still expect CO2 emissions of only 111g/km and economy above 67mpg though, despite the 7.4 second 0-62mph time and its 400Nm of torque from 1,750rpm.
Still, compared with its rivals the Volvo is a refined package, and though the optional steering wheel-mounted gearshift paddles (£150) could be more positive and tactile in use, their optional inclusion is a welcome one. The new gearbox is a massive improvement over the previous generation Geartronic, with smooth and fast shifts barely perceptible under lighter throttle loads.
Neither the new engine or gearbox have turned the V60 into a dynamic masterpiece though, and there’s still some lean from the body when driving enthusiastically. Curiously, despite the slightly looser body control (than say a BMW 3 Series) the ride on our car with its 18-inch alloy wheels was really quite firm. Save your money, and CO2, and stick with the standard 17-inch rims instead.
The problem is its brilliance of its engine highlights the rest of the car’s slight shortcomings, and despite the low monthly costs we can’t help but think it would be better showcased in more complete packaging.
Tested: Volvo V60 D5 (163hp) Twin Eng SE Nav AWD 5d Geartronic
24 January 2017
In PHEV (that's Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle) form, the Volvo V60 is given the interesting 'Twin Engine' name, which refers to the five-cylinder diesel under the bonnet, and the electric motor beneath the boot floor.
The headline figures are interesting, too – Volvo says that it can travel up to 31 miles in 'Pure' electric mode, and if you've taken hours to charge up the battery pack, you're going to want to do just this. Although this test isn't exclusively about this car's PHEV-ness, we'll major on this, as it's because of this that most buyers will look in the direction of this car.
What's it like to drive?
In short, it's a tale of two Volvos: one is an appealing, silent, refined battery-powered car that allows you to enjoy what is a very nicely-styled interior. The other is a rorty and rather appealing diesel-powered estate that sounds (and responds) rather differently from your run-of-the-mill four-cylinder rival.
In mixed Hybrid mode, the V60 reverts to battery power as much as possible. And this does mean that unless you're an expert at managing your charge, it'll eat through through its battery life more quickly than you'd like – especially out of town. Luckily, when it does drop into diesel mode, it's not too intrusive.
Is it quick and economical?
The electric motor powers the rear axle with the 2.4-litre turbodiesel running the front wheels for a combined 231hp. Volvo claims its 0-62mph time is 6.7 seconds, when fully charged, and when 'Power' mode is selected, and although it doesn't feel that rapid in terms of out and out acceleration, it's effortless when joining motorways or overtaking.
The three modes work like this: Pure is electric-only; Hybrid is the default mode, mixing battery and diesel; Power gives it all – electric and diesel together all the time. Pure is where you want to be if you're after the best fuel economy.
In the official combined fuel consumption test, it delivers 148.7mpg – but unless you're constantly running in town in hybrid mode, our week's average of 53.6mpg is much more representative.
Should I buy one?
We like the Volvo V60 Twin Engine – it's an impressive car with an interesting drivetrain, and it works well as a plug-in hybrid. What counts against it are its middling handling and ride, and lack of room, despite its pretty dashboard and comfortable seats.
It works well for anyone whose lifestyle fits in with the PHEV system - urban dweller, access to plug-in point, and no need for doing many miles. Problem is that with cheaper alternatives out there, and the relatively stiff pricing of this car, it's hard to recommend on anything other than emotional grounds.
Tested: Volvo V60 SE Lux Nav T4 Automatic
25 November 2016
As an estate car with a consciously coupe-like design ethos, it’s like carbon-dating for the moment the Swedish carmaker really began to slide the scale away from practicality and much further towards style – but because it was originally launched in 2010, that moment is also now far enough in the past that the V60 feels out of touch with the latest Volvo models; namely the XC90, S90 and V90.
This is particularly the case for the SE Lux Nav T4 automatic variant we’ve got on test here. Since every other version of the V60 comes with a 'D' numbered engine designation these days, you’ve probably already worked out that the T4 is the sole remaining petrol engine in the regular line-up.
What is it like to drive?
Not only is the handling stodgy, the front-wheel drive layout struggles to deploy the engine’s 300Nm of torque if the road surface is even slightly damp, leading to scrabbling tyres when pulling away from junctions.
The V60 is a comfortable car, however, helped by sensibly sized wheels (17-inch alloys in this instance) and high-quality seats. But these are assets you’d find in any diesel version as well.
Topping off the sense that this turbo petrol is something of a niche choice is the optional automatic gearbox. Diesel V60s get modern eight-speed autos. The T4 petrol, however, is fitted with an older six-speed unit.
This means higher revs at cruising speeds, and a slight lack of both smoothness and intelligence when it comes to picking its moments to change gear.
Automatic silver lining
On the plus side, the very fact that it’s an auto means you don’t often have to deal with the poor gearlever ergonomics that plague manual V60s. And fair play to Volvo, the on-paper fuel economy claims for the T4 auto match the manual at a reasonable-sounding 48.7mpg.
The 136g/km CO2 rating is just 1g/km worse, too, and the resulting £130 annual VED car tax seems negligible for a car that can do 0-62mph in 7.3sec and reach a top speed of 140mph.
Whether the auto or the manual will be more efficient in the real world may come down to your driving style; either way you’ll struggle to top 40mpg in our experience.
Should I buy one?
This is comfortable car that remains attractive from the outside. But the petrol-auto combination is disappointing to drive, the V60’s interior seems increasingly out of date and it simply doesn’t cut it as useful estate car. Nor is it especially competitively priced, even accounting for the generous standard kit.
If you really love the design and can live with the necessary compromises we’d suggest you pick a more frugal diesel alternative. But there are certainly better load-lugging options on the market – take a look at the Skoda Fabia or Octavia Estates as a starting point instead.
Tested: Volvo V60 Polestar (2013-2016)
28 October 2015
A mere 125 of these Polestars came to the UK, and buyers needed to be enthusiastic indeed – with a list price of £49,785, rivals are many, varied and extremely accomplished. Sure, a cheque that big won’t get you into the realms of the Mercedes-AMG C63 or BMW M3, and the Audi RS4 Avant is far more expensive too, but it’s within reach of the Audi S4 Avant and one heck of a well-equipped BMW 3 Series Touring.
So what does the Volvo offer the keen driver? Rather a lot, as it happens. It’s powered by a 350hp straight-six turbocharged petrol engine that sounds fantastic and provides huge shove, its 500Nm belting you in the back when you reach 3,000rpm.
The six-speed Geartronic automatic gearbox can be a little recalcitrant when really pressing on, hesitating a maddening fraction of a second too long on down-changes when using the somewhat cheap-feeling paddles behind the steering wheel. A twin-clutch ‘box would have been a better fit, but the older type here somehow seems to fit with the 90s-style bruiser nature of the Polestar.
Thanks to the all-wheel drive system it bites into the tarmac surprisingly well, shooting from 0-62mph in five seconds if you use the built-in launch control system. It stops quickly too thanks to high-performance Brembo brakes; these have the added advantage of providing great pedal feel and modulation for spirited driving – not something we’re used to on a Volvo.
Show it a corner and it’s equally impressive. The suspension comes from specialists Ohlins, and they’re manually adjustable to suit your requirements. That’s the only issue we found, actually, because our test car was far too firm for the UK’s rubbish roads. Its unforgiving nature could be dialled back if we had a toolbox and trolley jack, or even a friendly suspension specialist, but those things aren’t part of the Parkers road-testing kit.
And anyway, in its relatively extreme configuration there’s no denying it handles well. Thanks to those beautiful 20-inch alloys shod in high-performance tyres, grip is prodigious and the steering is feelsome, though we preferred it set to its default setting rather than the sport or comfort modes available.
Should I buy one?
The Volvo V60 Polestar was far cheaper than outright performance cars of a similar size, so when you think about it this could be a bit of a bargain fast estate, especially since its limited-run nature will protect resale values.
Objectively, it wasn’t as approachable as its softer direct rivals from Audi and BMW, but we reckon that’s missing the point. It appeals to a different swathe of buyers; those who aren’t afraid of getting oily and tweaking their own suspension. More importantly, though, those buyers will have to adore Volvos to sign on the dotted line and become one of the lucky 125.
Volvo V60 Estate model history
- October 2010 – Not directly replacing any model, the V60 is an estate version of the S60 saloon, but is billed as a ‘sports wagon’ rather than a traditional Volvo estate. ES, SE, SE Lux and the sportier R-Design. Petrol engines comprise of T3 (150hp), T4 (180hp), T5 (240hp) and T6 with all-wheel drive (304hp). The diesel line-up consists of D3 (163hp) and D5 (205hp).
- February 2011 – DRIVe with manual gearbox available to order ahead of April deliveries. Efficiency is at the heart of its offer, with CO2 emissions quoted at 119g/km. Power is quoted at 115hp.
- December 2011 – Economy-focused DRIVe version now available with an automatic transmission.
- August 2012 – Business Edition specification introduced to replace the previous ES grade. Changes include Bluetooth connectivity, an high-spec audio system and rear parking sensors.
- February 2013 – Lux versions of the SE and R-Design available with enhanced equipment, while Nav editions of each trim level also available. D2 title replaces previous DRIVe, with the rest of the diesel range being rejigged: D3 has 136hp, D4 produces 163hp, while D5 is uprated to 215hp.
- May 2013 – Facelifted range available to order ahead of deliveries in July. Most obvious is the new nose design, achieved without any sheetmetal changes. There are further tweaks to the rear, as well as an improved interior, complete with the availability of electronic instruments. Tweaks have been made to the set-up of R-Design models to make them feel sportier to drive. All models feature DAB radio as standard. Trim structure and engine range continue.
- August 2013 – D6 Plug-in Hybrid deliveries commence.
- October 2013 – Revised engine range with new 181hp 2.0-litre D4 and 306hp 2.0-litre T6 petrol engines, the latter sitting at the top of the range in performance terms.
- April 2014 – D6 Plug-in Hybrid now available in R-Design specification.
- April 2015 – Overhauled engine range ushered in. T3 with manual gearbox features a new 152hp 2.0-litre engine, while the T3 automatic has a 1.5-litre petrol producing the same amount of power. D2 and D3 models now have a 2.0-litre diesel with 120hp and 150hp, respectively, while the D4’s power output is ramped up from 181hp to 190hp. The model previously known as the D6 Plug-in Hybrid is renamed D6 Twin Engine with its power nudged up to 220hp. New alloy designs and colours also debut. High-performance Polestar with a 350hp edition of the T6 engine introduced as a limited availability model.
- February 2016 – Minor updates across the range include new wheel designs and a fresh suite of paint colours.
- April 2016 – D5 Twin Engine introduced in SE form, with a lower price point for the plug-in hybrid version.
- August 2016 – High-performance Polestar model reintroduced with a new 367hp 2.0-litre turbocharged engine, resulting in a 4.8-second 0-62mph time.
- May 2017 – Business Edition Lux trim introduced complete with 17-inch alloys, a reversing camera, leather upholstery, piano black dashboard inlays and an active information display within the instrument binnacle. Engines choices are the diesel-powered D2, D3 and D4 as well as the petrol T4.
- Premium pricing is a little over the top for this car
- D3 and D4 are the big sellers, and worth seeking a discount
- Avoid going over the top with options, they'll be hard to recoup
We think that you will be able to get a discount or two on this car – the V60 is due for replacement in the UK in 2018, and Volvo has plenty to sell. The best deals will be available through brokers, and you'll still get the excellent dealer service when you return it for a service.
- Volvo Selekt used cars have great back-up
- They are costly, though – look elsewhere if on a budget
- Lots of examples due to long production run
The majority of V60s will be used by fleets but you could bag a bargain when the car hits three years old/60,000 miles.
Selling your Volvo V60 Estate
Aim for the 1.6-litre DRIVe because this will be the easiest model to sell. Low CO2 emissions and good fuel economy should prove to be key when you decide to sell the vehicle.