Parkers overall rating: 4.4 out of 5 4.4
  • Petrol, diesel and hybrid options available
  • Front-wheel drive with either manual or automatic gearboxes
  • D4 diesel could be a little more refined

There is just one diesel and three mild-hybrid petrol versions available. Two plug-in hybrids top the range, appealing to performance car drivers and those looking to make low benefit-in-kind payments.

There's a 190hp D4 diesel with front-wheel drive and a choice of manual or automatic for each. Petrol powered models are available in 250hp B5, 197hp B4 and the 163hp B3 forms. The old Twin Engine models have been replaced by the V60 Recharge which packs 340hp. Want more, then go for the the 400hp Polestar Engineered model.

Volvo V60 diesel engines

The 190hp, 400Nm diesel D4 is agreeably quick with a 0-62mph of 7.9 seconds – whether the car changes gear for you or not – with the top speed now limited to 112mph. Fuel consumption is similar to the now-superseded D3 model, ranging from 60.1mpg to 64.0mpg depending upon gearbox and alloy wheel size.

Volvo V60 petrol engines

Such is the pace of change in this market, where you could once only buy a single petrol model, there are three mild-hybrids to choose from. The quickest of the bunch is the B5. Put your foot down and it can manage the 0-62mph sprint in a spritely 6.7 seconds, with top speed limited to 112mph. Torque comes in at 350Nm.

Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid versions

The Recharge plug-in hybrid accelerates to 62mph in a brisk 5.7 seconds, reaching up to a limited 112mph, courtesy of its 340hp and 590Nm of torque. The more powerful Recharge Polestar Engineered, however, rockets to 62mph in just 5.1 seconds and is capable of hitting 112mph thanks to a total of 400hp and 640Nm of torque from its petrol-electric powertrain.

Claimed fuel economy and electric-only range for T6 and T8 models are identical, with 128.4 to 113.0mpg possible, depending upon the wheels fitted and up to 28 miles electric running.

What is the Volvo V60 D4 like to drive?

The190hp D4 is the only diesel available. Kitted out with this diesel engine and the automatic gearbox, it's relaxing to drive. The D4 engine isn’t as smooth as the likes of the Mazda 6's excellent 2.2-litre diesel, but it’s not too far behind the units in the BMW 3 Series and Mercedes C-Class and it’s mostly quiet and reasonably punchy. As a result, the V60 should effortlessly soak up long motorway trips.

The 190hp diesel engine available in the Audi A4 Avant does feel more muscular – despite an identical 7.9-second 0-62mph time – so we’d wager that V60 performance in manual form may be more responsive. Distinct driving modes are available, but unlike with other models, owners can select the weight of the brake pedal, depending upon whether they prefer a firmer pedal or lighter weight.

What is the Volvo V60 Polestar Engineered like to drive?

It's fast and effortless – a car that can ruffle feathers of some much-fancied performance cars, but do it in a very low-key way. Although its 0-62mph time of 5.1 seconds is very impressive, because of the smooth and progressive way its power is delivered, it never really feels that exciting. And if you're looking for BMW M-Car levels of audible stimulation, then look elsewhere – its four-cylinder engine sounds quite gruff when worked hard, and never becomes interesting.

Despite that, the thrust is quite addictive, and proves very effective when it comes to overtaking safely and swiftly on A-roads and pulling out of side-roads into fast-moving traffic. Our main criticism is the poor brake pedal feel. It's spongy and hard to moderate, and sometimes it's a struggle for the driver to stop smoothly.

It's worth noting that the V60 always defaults into hybrid mode when you start it up, with the option to run it on pure electric being selected manually. If you have a short commute, driving on electric is recommended, and it's more than fast enough to stay with traffic in this mode, the engine only kicking in when you demand really punchy acceleration.

Handling

  • Weighty steering provides good sense of confidence
  • Adjustable driving modes available
  • Not sporty, but reasonable around corners

Volvo may be gunning for Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz drivers with the V60, but you get a sense the company is hoping to win people over with comfort and luxury rather than BMW-beating roadholding. With precise steering and not much bodyroll around corners, the V60 is competent on twisty roads, though it’s safe rather than exciting and you can feel the car’s weight if you take corners at speed.

Keen drivers will find more satisfaction behind the wheel of the BMW 3 Series Touring and probably the Audi A4 Avant, too, but drive it like a family car and the V60 has no particular vices.

The Polestar Engineered plug-in hybrid adds a level of firmness to its ride that's lacking elsewhere across the V60 range. It's not uncomfortable by any means, just what you'd expect from a performance flagship model.

Around town, the V60 is pleasant to drive, though as with many new cars, it’s substantially larger than the previous model – to the tune of 13cm – and wider, too, so finding a sufficiently large parking space is trickier than it could be. As for towing, the diesel V60s offer reasonably strong towing ability, with the D4 versions able to tow 2,000kg – equivalent to a large caravan. That’s more than its Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz rivals can muster…