Avoid the R-Design’s firm ride, but otherwise the DRIVe is the pick of the S60 range

What is it?

This is the latest addition to Volvo’s eco line-up, the Volvo S60 DRIVe. Already established as an accomplished if less rounded competitor in the compact exec class, the S60 has been fitted with the company’s 1.6-litre turbodiesel motor in order to achieve headline figures of 65.7mpg and 114g/km, upping its company car ratings and its appeal to those simply wanting a more frugal Volvo.

What’s it like?

Essentially it’s just like most of the S60 models, only more frugal and more competitively priced, too. As we found out, it has the ability to do well over 800 miles to its brimmed 67.5-litre tank in real-world driving, and close to 1000 miles if economy motorway driving appeals. The diesel engine is one of the best small-capacity diesel engines you can get in this class, rivaling BMW’s 318d for refinement, and bettering its emissions (even if it falls short of the more expensive 320d ED).

The six-speed gearbox that comes as standard on DRIVe models has well-judged ratios that allow you to make the most of the available torque, making it a more responsive and relaxing drive than some rivals. Our test car came in R-Design trim, which gets stiffer anti-roll bars and springs than standard DRIVe models, which ride on the same suspension as the rest of the non R-Design S60 range. Though R-Design comes with good equipment levels and appealing styling tweaks, we’d recommend avoiding it due to the bouncy, occasionally thumping ride quality that you get at higher speeds even on some of the poorer motorway surfaces. On UK roads it certainly feels overly firm for a car that has its strengths in economy and refinement rather than driver reward.

Should I buy one?

There is no doubting that the BMW 3-Series is more enjoyable, but there’s still a lot to like about the S60 DRIVe. The strong powertrain means that it’s a pleasant drive and it isn’t compromised in the name of economy, it’s competitively priced and it looks sharp and modern on the inside and outside. It’s a happy medium between equipment levels, list price and running costs for both private and company car buyers. There are less high-end vehicles that will do the same job for less, but opt for the S60 DRIVe SE and you’ll be getting one of the most capable premium eco-saloons out there.

Volvo S60 DRIVe R-Design

Price: £26,100; Top speed: 121mph; 0-62mph: 10.9sec; Economy: 65.7mpg; Co2: 114g/km; Kerbweight: 1499kg; Engine type: 4cyl 1560cc turbodiesel; Power: 113bhp at 3600rpm; Torque: 199lb ft at 1750-2500rpm; Gearbox: 6spd manual

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Big S 6 April 2011

Re: Volvo S60 DRIVe R-Design

I wonder if the 2 litre version would achieve similar fuel consumption figures if driven at the same speeds and using only the same acceleration as if driving the 1.6 DRIVe? I'm happy to pootle along a motorway, but I'd miss the ability to accelerate to join or change lanes. And sometimes it's nice to be able to take off the hair shirt, crank up the excellent stereo that Volvos seem to come with and have just a little bit of fun on the back roads...

Crawshy 10 December 2012

A bit of a wolf in sheeps clothing...the sheep is better :)

I currently run the V60 Drive SE as a company car and I could have gone for the R Design edition, but it lacks some of the nicer kit of the SE (something the article doesn't state!) Every fibre in my body said go R-Design it does look awesome especially in red, but having had stiff sports suspension cars before I went with the head purchase - I still look at the R Design enviously parked up it looks spot on, but when it's moving I bet I'm having more fun and have a much crisper stereo to listen to. As for the doubters on performance - never had any problems with overtaking or motorway driving, in this day and age it performs fine, won't set your hair on fire admittedly but does enough (btw I'm only 31) but I would agree the Drive does not suit the R design tag. If your going for the Drive version opt for the SE it makes more sense 

Walking 6 April 2011

Re: Volvo S60 DRIVe R-Design

jer wrote:
Still I'd take the styling add ons, drop the suspension changes and why not the same style wheel an inch less circumference and a bit narrower?
That makes a lot of sense.

jer 6 April 2011

Re: Volvo S60 DRIVe R-Design

theonlydt wrote:
how vain most people are

A couple of weeks ago in a BMW dealer I said to the salesman whilst sitting in a M sport car that I purchased SE in preference to M Spec. For a second he looked at me uncomprehending as if I was joking or an alien.

Still I'd take the styling add ons, drop the suspension changes and why not the same style wheel an inch less circumference and a bit narrower?

I know it's clean but it would'nt pull the skin off a rice pudding so this one is not for me. I really do like the look of the petrol 240ps one tho'