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Driven: 2018 Volvo V60

PA Motoring logoPA Motoring 17/05/2018 Tom Wiltshire
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What is it?

Volvo’s renaissance began back in 2014 with the XC90 SUV. Since then, it’s had hit after hit, with sensible Scandinavian style and class-leading safety becoming standard fare across the model ranges. Now, one of the last of the old line of Volvos is being replaced – the V60.

The new model is more premium than ever, with bang up-to-date hybrid powertrains plus exterior and interior styling inspired by the larger V90. It’s also the second model that will be available to purchase through the brand’s ‘Care by Volvo’ subscription service.

What’s new?

a car parked in front of a body of water © Provided by The Press Association

This is an all-new car, and as such ditches the old platform for Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture – the same chassis tech that underpins the XC90, XC60, S90 and V90.

Exterior design is all new, and though the overall shape isn’t far off the old car the detailing ensures you’ll never get the two mixed up. The interior is a rather more radical change, and apes its larger siblings with a portrait-mounted touchscreen.

New for the V60 is a lower-powered hybrid drivetrain, named T6 Twin Engine. This has a lower output than the T8 and will be a more cost-effective option.

What’s under the bonnet?

a car parked on the side of a road © Provided by The Press Association

Our car was fitted with the more powerful of the two diesel engines that will be coming to the UK. Badged D4, it has 188bhp, which mated to an eight-speed automatic and front-wheel-drive is good for a 0-60mph sprint of 7.7 seconds.

It never really feels that fast, though, with the gearbox seemingly tuned for economy over performance. The engine is a bit gruff at idle, but soon smooths out into inaudibility at a cruise.

When the V60’s saloon sibling comes along, Volvo will not offer a single diesel engine option, but the brand’s chosen to keep diesel on for this V60, with load-lugging capability important to target buyers. Eventually, potential customers will have the choice of two hybrid drivetrains, badged T6 and T8 Twin Engine.

What’s it like to drive?

Now, one of the last of the old line of Volvos is being replaced – the V60.: Driven: 2018 Volvo V60 © Press Association Driven: 2018 Volvo V60

Volvo says the V60 is its most dynamic car yet, but anyone expecting a sporting drive on the same wavelength as the BMW 3 Series will be disappointed. The V60’s best enjoyed as a relaxing cruiser, with a ride more comfortable than its competitors and excellent refinement regardless of engine.

Hustle it a bit and the car corners tidily, though the steering is a little remote – and the brakes feel oddly interfering, as though the car thinks it knows better than you how much force to apply.

Adjustable driving modes do make a genuine difference to the way the car drives, with Dynamic sharpening the steering and firming up the ride. However, enjoyment is kerbed somewhat by the lack of gearshift paddles for the otherwise slightly lacklustre eight-speed automatic gearbox.

How does it look?

Don’t look too closely and the V60 might just be a V90 situated a little further away. Of course, there’s a little more to it than that.

The muscular front end sees Volvo’s upright grille flanked by updated ‘Thor’s Hammer’ headlights, while around the back there’s a nod to the practical estates of old with a more upright rear tailgate than its larger sibling, contributing to greater boot space.

There’s more glass area all round, and a bold accent line sits above the rear wheelarch. It’s a great-looking car which will certainly stand out among the fleets of German executives in the company car park.

What’s it like inside?

Unsurprisingly for a modern Volvo, the interior is a lovely place to be. Slide into the supremely comfortable driver’s seat (14-way adjustable, heated and ventilated on our test car) and you’re met by Volvo’s usual combination of digital dials and a portrait-oriented nine-inch touchscreen infotainment system.

The overall ambience is dependent on spec – we favour light leather and wood trim, though we suspect plenty will opt for dark leather and metal – but what you get regardless is space, and lots of it.

The V60 is the longest car in its class and boasts better boot space and rear leg room than all of its rivals. Four six-foot adults and their luggage could comfortably go away for a weekend in this car.

We do have a few quality gripes – certain areas, such as the shuttered cupholder cover, don’t feel quite as solid as we’d like – and relegating functions to the touchscreen can lead you to take your eyes off the road for long spells.

What’s the spec like?

a car parked on the side of a road © Provided by The Press Association

Every V60 comes with a large suite of City Safety tech, though you’ll pay extra for radar-guided cruise control, blind spot assist or the semi-autonomous Pilot Assist. Our Inscription model came heavily laden, though, with everything from heated and cooled massaging front seats to a truly epic Bowers and Wilkins stereo.

Base Momentum trim is still well equipped, but it’s worth stepping up to the ‘Pro’ pack to gain active LED headlights and a heads-up display. Expect a sporty R-Design trim to follow later in the year, too.

Verdict

The V60 soundly thrashes its German rivals on space, interior ambience and looks. The case is less clear-cut after driving, though, with the Volvo’s comfort-biased set-up bound to put some drivers off.

It’s still a good car to drive, though, and the allure of Scandinavian style and safety is hard to resist. Make no mistake, the V60 is seriously worth thinking twice about, even over rivals such as the Audi A4 Avant.

FACTS AT A GLANCE

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Model as tested: Volvo V60 D4

Price: £37,610

Engine: 2.0-litre, four-cylinder diesel

Power (bhp): 188

Torque (Nm): 400

Max speed (mph): 137

0-60mph: 7.9 seconds

MPG (combined): 67.2

Emissions (g/km): 122

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