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Drive with us: Take a test drive in the Volvo V60

In my head, if someone says the word ‘Volvo’, then my brain immediately conjures up images of the Volvo wagons of the 1980s; sturdy, safe and practical. The V60 is Volvo’s current day wagon, the little brother/sister of the V90 and really strong competition to the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate or BMW 3 Series Touring

It’s got a fresh, striking look and a lot of new tech, but can the Volvo V60 compete with the powerhouse wagons of the past? Let’s take a look… 

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What did we drive? 

2020 Volvo V60 

Colour: Pine Grey
Upholstery: Charcoal Nappa Leather
Transmission: 8-Speed Automatic
Model Line: *D3 R-Design Plus
Wheels: 18” 5 Double Spoke (Diamond Cut/Matt Black) Alloy Wheels with 235/45 Tyres
Engine: 2.0 Litre Diesel
0-62: 9.9 Seconds
Power: 150bhp
OTR Price from: £34,665
Price of Model Driven: £38,925

*Note: Since our test drive took place, Volvo have discontinued the D3 diesel engine in favour of the higher performing D4. The D4 is just as economical as the D3, and even faster so will make a great choice for those looking for a diesel variant - but we'll discuss this later on in the review. 

Find out more about the Volvo V60

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Engines

There’s a really nice mix of petrol and diesel engines, as well as the option to go for a manual or an automatic transmission depending on what model line you go for. Our car had a 1969cc litre diesel engine with an 8-speed automatic gearbox and accelerated from 0-60 in 9.6 seconds. The equivalent petrol variant would get you there in 7.6 seconds whilst the top of the range T8 Twin Engine Polestar Engineered model would get you there in just 4.4 seconds.

The V60 is now also available as a V60 Recharge, which is a petrol Plug-in hybrid, offering better efficiency and reduced running costs - although the starting price is a bit higher, with variants starting from about £45,000.

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The Drive

The V60 is a nice car to drive; it’s big and sturdy but in no way does the size overwhelm. The driving position is good, and all in all so is the visibility with no huge blindspots - great considering the chunky nature of the car. And, whilst the car is big and robust it’s not just built for the motorway - it manouvres really well around town and was really easy to navigate around the windy country roads near the Carparison office.

Unfortunately I’d like a bit more ‘oomph’ when I put my foot down in this one, and it’s also pretty loud - both in acceleration and just generally on the road - and especially in comparison to the serene Audi A4 Avant. The D3 only gets 150 horsepower, which for a big estate doesn't feel like much so if I had the choice I’d go for the more powerful D4 or T4; which is either a diesel or petrol and both benefit from an additional 40 horsepower and drivers will really notice it. As of publishing (June 2020) the D4 is the only diesel option available, making the decision a lot easier for new drivers! 

The V60 gets serious points when it comes to the ease and comfort of the drive. Whilst certainly not the fastest of Estates on the market, the V60 is more than apt for any journey; pulling well and cruising without a second thought on the motorway. The V60 is one of those satisfyingly heavy and practical cars; doing a great job of turning the practical wagon of the past into a premium, well thought out car of the present.

 

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Design and Technology

The V60 has undergone a few different makeovers over the years, and the newest model takes the boxy practicality of the older models and combines it with sleek styling (I mean look at those headlights) and new technologies to make what is now a classy and hugely desirable vehicle for many.

The car we drove was an R Design model, meaning that it has the sportier trim and features extras such as special alloys, sports contour seats, a lower sports suspension and high-gloss black trim details. For those looking for a bit of extra luxury there is the Inscription model, or for added ground clearance and off-roading capabilities there is the V60 Cross Country. 

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When it comes to the cabins, most of the Volvos share a near identical design (with the pricier XC90, V90 and S90s being the slight exceptions) and the V60 is no different. The dash is centred around a 9.7 inch portrait touchscreen that looks great but is a stickler for greasy fingerprints. The dash is minimalist and a welcome contrast for many to the flashier interiors of competing Mercedes or BMW counterparts like the C-Class Estate or 3-Series Touring. We did a poll on our Facebook page recently asking whether our followers preferred the Mercedes or Volvo interiors and surprisingly it was split almost 50/50 – a huge complement to the Volvo as the Merc interiors are always thought to be among the very best.

The 9.7 inch touch screen is simple and effective. From here you control various functions such as media, temperature or satellite navigation. There is also a 12.3 inch digital display in front of the driver which although is a big step up, is not quite as customisable as systems available in the Audi A4 Avant or Mercedes C-Class. All models also get 2-zone climate control as standard, with a feature that automatically shuts off air intakes when it detects a hazardous substance outside. The R-Design model also gets Keyless Drive (Keyless Entry and the Keyless Start) and depending on model lines or which options you go for there are the options of a 360* parking camera, panoramic sunroof, Harman Kardon surround sound, adaptive cruise control and wireless charging to name just a few.

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Space and Practicality 

Boot capacity is class leading at 529 litres, and thwarts that of even the A4 Avant or 3 Series Touring. There are hooks and really decent sized netted cubbies for more secure storage and the boot opening is low, making it notably easier for those with dogs or who regularly have to load and unload heavy bags or equipment. There’s also a small ski hatch for longer items and the rear seats fold in a 60:40 configuration to lay completely flat. The opening is wide and there aren’t any awkward features that jut out, and overall I think it’s incredibly practical load space. 

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For passengers, space in the back is ample, with comfortable seats and a good amount of head room even for those above 6ft. But for anyone sitting in the rear middle seat, the floor lip is pretty sizable where the transmission tunnel is. So, if you draw the short straw, you’re going to have to either raise your knees or put a foot on either side (potentially then encroaching further on the space of other passengers).

There are 2 Isofix points on the 2 rear outer seats and for those wanting to tow a caravan or trailer, the V60 will pull between 1600kg and 2000kg depending on which model line you go for. The Automatic D3 we were in would have pulled anything up to 1800kg and the D4 will tow up to 200kg. 

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Model Lines - What you'll get:

The entry-level ‘Momentum’ models do get quite a lot as standard. But here are just some of the features you can expect with each model line...

Momentum

  • 18” 5-Y Spoke Alloys
  • 12” Drivers display
  • Lane Keeping Aid
  • Dynamic Chassis
  • High Performance Audio System

R-Design

  • 18” 5-Double Spoke Alloys
  • Dual integrated tail pipes
  • Front LED Foglights with Cornering Function
  • Contour seats with cushion extensions and multi-directional lumbar support
  • Metal mesh inlays
  • High gloss black exterior features
  • Head-Up display
  • Sports seats, mats and pedals
  • Tinted rear windows
  • Lowered Sports Chassis

Inscription

  • 18” 10-Multi spoke alloys
  • Dual integrated tail pipes
  • Nappa perforated leather
  • Ambient lighting and puddle lights
  • Electric memory front seats with cushion extensions and multi-directional lumbar support
  • Driftwood inlays
  • Dynamic Chassis
  • High gloss black features

Polestar Engineered

  • 19” Y-Spoke Alloys
  • Contour seats with leather/textile upholstery
  • Metal mesh inlays
  • Polestar engineered exhaust
  • Polestar Engineered chassis
  • Harmon Kardon sound system
  • Heated steering wheel
  • Gold seatbelts
  • Front aluminium tread plates floating front brake discs
  • Heated Aquablades

Cross Country

  • 18” 5 Spoke Alloys
  • Leather-faced upholstery
  • 60mm additional ground clearance
  • Dual-Integrated tail pipes
  • Touring Chassis
  • Charcoal exterior features
  • Ambient lighting
  • Silver roof rails
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