What is it?
Blink and you might miss it, folks: this is something of a rarity these days, a value-priced Volvo. Decades ago, the firm didn’t mind mixing it with the volume-selling brands with plenty of its cars, but it generally keeps more rarefied premium-branded company these days.
However, the entry-level petrol version of the now middle-aged V60 estate is a car you might well be considering next to a mid-sized Peugeot, Skoda or Ford family wagon, or alongside a bottom-end Audi A4 Avant or BMW 3 Series Touring.
If you’re spending less than £35,000 on a V60, you can have only entry-level Momentum trim, and only Volvo’s bottom-rung, mild-hybrid petrol engine, which is badged B3.
Still, this is no austerity-spec offering: you get an eight-speed automatic gearbox and front-wheel drive, cruise control, LED headlights, a powered tailgate and heated front seats, as well as Volvo’s portrait-oriented touchscreen infotainment system and its digital instrument screen, all for no extra cost.
The leather seats, smartphone-mirroring system, inductive phone charging pad and sunroof of our test car are all cost options; but even so, for a sum you could easily spend on a handsomely equipped hatchback in 2021, a full-sized family Volvo does seem like quite a lot of car for the money.
What's it like?
Well, it certainly doesn’t seem like it has too much engine for the money. Volvo uses the same 2.0-litre block across all of its petrol V60s, albeit differently dressed and tuned, but always with either mild- or full-hybrid assist. Here, it’s producing only 161bhp, though.
Performance feels adequate enough around town and through the lower gears, but a bit meek when you’re accelerating beyond 50mph, which typically requires full power - and some waiting. The motor has useful torque and decent drivability, but it doesn’t like revving much beyond 4000rpm.
The gearbox works smoothly enough, albeit with some hesitation. But even so, provided your expectations are of very ordinary and unspectacular family transport, this V60 will meet them, although it’s much more what you’d expect of a pedestrian old-school Volvo than the thrusting new-age version.
Engine refinement can be a little bit gruff, which may be more of a disappointment to traditional Volvo buyers. The car’s ride and rolling refinement, meanwhile, isn’t quite a match for that of its bigger siblings, the V90 and S90 - Volvo plainly having tuned the V60 for slightly more composed, energetic handling than those bigger cars, but probably sacrificing just a shade too much underlying comfort and isolation in the trade-off.