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Volvo V60 D4 Inscription Automatic

Date: 08 August 2018   |   Author: Pete Tullin

We've already driven Volvo's stylish estate on the smooth thoroughfares of Spain but how does it stack up on the rougher routes of the UK?
Standard equipment:
LED headlights, powered tailgate, dual-zone climate control, sat-nav, rear parking sensors
Engines:
Petrol: 2.0 250hp
Diesel: 2.0 150hp, 190hp
Trims:
Momentum, Inscription
Transmissions:
Six-speed manual,
eight-speed automatic

You'll forgive us if we forego the Volvo estate and antique dealers references. That hackneyed view of slab-sided Swedes hauling half the contents of Sotheby's warehouse down the Kings Road went west along with big shoulder pads and Duran Duran. 

These days, Volvos are as much about sleek exterior design and swish interior adornments as utilitarian practicalities.

It's also a fact that contemporary Volvos are strategically priced and specified to pick up conquest sales from people who fancy a change from the usual German suspects. 

With prices starting from £31,550, the V60 is a bang-on rival to the Audi A4, BMW 3 series and Mercedes C-Class wagons. 

Scandi style

For sure, the V60 looks every bit as classy inside as its Teutonic foes, albeit in its own inimitable Nordic fashion, and it feels every bit as well constructed. What's more, given the excellent support provided by the spine-cosseting seats, it's undoubtedly a very cosy place to be when pounding out the big miles.  

There's also plenty of eye candy on show, including lashings of dash and centre console veneers, outlined by slender contrasting trim and complemented by brushed aluminium air vents, door pulls and speaker grilles. 

Undoubtedly, the jewel in the crown is the Sensus 9in touchscreen. We're not usually big on touchscreens, as they can be rather tricky to operate when driving, but Volvo's screen is pin-sharp and features big, easy-to-hit icons, along with swiping, pinching and scrolling - just like an iPad - so it's easier and more intuitive to use than most screens. 

It's also pretty feature-rich, including standard sat-nav and an app that lets you operate certain functions from your smartphone, such as remotely preheating or cooling the interior, or sending an address to the sat-nav.

Muscular motor

The V60 is only available with four-cylinder engines, including a 150hp D3, and a 190hp D4 diesel, as well as a 250hp T5 petrol engine. Although the D3 is expected to be the bestseller, for reasons best known to Volvo it decided to showcase the stronger D4 engine. 

228898_New _Volvo _V60_D4_Inscription _Denim _Blue

To be fair, it's a pretty muscular device, producing sterling low and mid-range grunt, and although you will sense some vibrations tingling through the floor, it is generally smooth and refined, unless you get properly murderous with your right foot. 

Unfortunately, it is undermined by a rather apathetic automatic gearbox, and the majority of buyers will tick this option. Which isn't so much of a problem when you're just trundling along in traffic but if you take any pride in driving smoothly, it can be infuriatingly slow to select the right gear. This is especially frustrating after braking into a corner and trying to progressively feed in the power to give the car an even, balanced feel.

The suspension isn't particularly well resolved, either.  Things may be more settled with a load in the back, but when driving one or two-up, the rear end of the car often feels quite jittery, even when driving over relatively smooth surfaces. 

Carrying capacity

Speaking of load-lugging, at 529 litres the V60's boot is a fair bit bigger than the Bundesliga offerings, and its relatively flat sides and floor, and dense carpeting, mean you can carry large, delicate items without resorting to reams of bubble wrap. It also comes with a standard powered tailgate. 

As for keeping you and those around you from harm, Volvo's City Safety package comes as standard, which includes autonomous emergency braking with cyclist, pedestrian and large animal detection, and also engages autobraking to mitigate oncoming collisions. 

Although the V60's cause is undermined by a recalcitrant gearbox and a rather punchy ride quality, it is undoubtedly a spacious, stylish and eminently practical car. Additionally, it's well equipped, tastefully finished and delivers strong performance with good economy.

P11D: £37,600

Cost per mile: 78.0p

Fuel consumption: 61.4mpg

CO2 (BIK band): 122g/km (29%)  

BIK 20/40% a month: £182/£363

Boot space: 529 litres

Engine size/power: 1,969cc/190hp


Verdict


8/10
  • Comfortable seats
  • Stylish cabin
  • Big boot
  • Strong engine
  • Unsettled ride
  • Lazy automatic gearbox

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