From £21,720
Stylish estate feels refreshingly different from the norm, but lacks dynamic finesse

Our Verdict

Volvo V60
The V60’s shape, proportions and detailing are likely to win the estate many fans

Stylish new estate is Sweden's answer to the BMW 3-series Touring

12 February 2011

What is it?

This is the svelte Volvo V60 estate fitted with the new, confusingly named T5 engine. Confusing only because it is in fact a 237bhp, 2.0-litre turbo’d four-cylinder petrol engine rather than a five cylinder as the name suggests and that has historically been represented by the T5 nomenclature up until now.

Here we’re testing the car with a six-speed manual gearbox, though a dual clutch auto is available for an extra £1485. The R-Design spec also brings with it a new, firmer set-up for the V60.

What’s it like?

It is a very pleasant way to travel. The interior is a real selling point provided you’re looking for aesthetics and not practicality, as you’ll see in our full road test. Though the R-Design trim does bring with it some style tweaks inside and out it only enhances the appealingly clean, modern lines, so that’s no bad thing.

The engine has its strengths in refinement and flexibility. In particular the broad torque band makes the V60 T5 feel eager and responsive wherever you are in the rev range, and the solid gearshift completes the overall sensation that this is a car intended to offer performance without drama.

That shortage of drama comes mainly from a subdued exhaust note, refined cabin and slightly sterile controls, and for many the understated nature of the T5 will be exactly what appeals most about it.

The R-Design chassis is less of a success. Riding on standard 18-inch wheels the ride quality can be quite unsettled over standard urban roads, with smaller frequency surface intrusions causing noticeable pitter-patter despite decent body control. Even on the motorway the V60 R-Design never quite seems to settle, and yet there is still none of the handling poise and reward that you might get from other premium estates.

It’s not in any way unpleasant if you want to drive with some vigour, it’s just that the V60 specialises in flowing nicely down the road rather than offering sharp, deft responses that you might get in other fast estates.

Should I buy one?

There’s a lot to like about the V60 T5. It’s refined and pleasant to spend time in, competitively priced and it feels refreshingly different from the norm. So if those elements hold appeal for you then it will make for rewarding transport.

But there are other cars out there from BMW and Ford that offer better ride, handling and cabin space. So you’d better like the subjective charms of this Volvo, because objectively it’s a difficult one to justify.

Volvo V60 T5 R Design Premium

Price: £30,925; Top speed: 143mph; 0-62mph: 7.5sec; Economy: 34.9mpg; CO2: 189g/km; Kerb weight: 1611kg; Engine type: 4cyl, 1999cc, turbocharged petrol; Power: 237bhp at 5500rpm; Torque: 236lb ft at 1800-5000rpm; Gearbox: 6spd manual

Join the debate

Comments
15

15 February 2011

My question has to be how does it ride and handle in direct comparison to the equivalent Audi (with the obligatory S-Line suspension), one of the Volvo's main competitors?

Whilst the report mentions both Ford and BMW as bench marks, the review looks like it could be transposed against something like the A4.



 

 

It's all about the twisties........

17 February 2011

This report is for a T5 R Design 6sp manual, however the pictures are of a T6 AWD Auto, can you please show the relevant photos...Thanks.

17 February 2011

[quote Autocar]Confusing only because it is in fact a 237bhp, 2.0-litre turbo’d four-cylinder petrol engine[/quote] Boy oh boy, £30K and it isn't even quick, or spacious, or practical, or attractive. I think I'd rather have a V50 except I made the mistake of driving one, so no I won't take either thanks.

17 February 2011

[quote Mr£4worth]Boy oh boy, £30K and it isn't even quick, or spacious, or practical, or attractive[/quote]

7.5 seconds 0-60 isn't quick? It may not be traditional "T5" territory, but it's more than just a bit nippy. I also think the V60 looks good, especially the interior. I like this car, I also know you could get several k off the list price without trying too hard. I'd have this over a 3 series touring, c-class or A4 avant any day.

17 February 2011

[quote theonlydt]7.5 seconds 0-60 isn't quick? It may not be traditional "T5" territory, but it's more than just a bit nippy. I also think the V60 looks good, especially the interior. I like this car, I also know you could get several k off the list price without trying too hard. I'd have this over a 3 series touring, c-class or A4 avant any day.[/quote] Ditto

17 February 2011

[quote Citytiger]This report is for a T5 R Design 6sp manual, however the pictures are of a T6 AWD Auto, can you please show the relevant photos...Thanks.[/quote]

They probably tested the manual one day and photographed a Powershift AWD another day - no biggy is it?

At least they got the right model this time...

I agree it doesn't seem that quick for the quoted power. My 1998 200 bhp V40 T4 was faster than this, probably had a bigger boot too.


17 February 2011

The torque spread is really impressive, especially with this volume specific peak power.

jer

17 February 2011

Looks so promising then the Autocar judgement that we all respect slaps it with "lacks dynamic finesse" panned with faint criticism. I like the concept of this car so much as a competitor to the same olds. How can it handle so much worse than the Ford when it's based on the the same car but with more rigid front end to make it steer better?

I think this is the perfect motor for those that reluctantly accept downsizing but like petrol and decent power.

30k 10% discount 27k about where the markets at I'm afraid to say.

jer

17 February 2011

This engine comes in SE spec for an extra £215 ! so maybe thats a better suspension setup?

But still no Ford..

17 February 2011

[quote theonlydt]7.5 seconds 0-60 isn't quick?[/quote]

Quick, yes - but not top of the range quick, with the power that car has I would expect mid 6's in the 0-60 p*ssing contest, my 200bhp 13 year old 3 series manages better than this. That's largely irrelevant though and I think the interior looks brilliant on this - for that reason alone I'd have it over the audi or bmw too.

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