From £21,720
Although the V60 is good to drive, there are much better value and more practical wagons out there.
Julian Rendell
10 November 2010

What is it?

Hoist the flags, sound the trumpets, it’s a Volvo that’s good to drive. Touring car hand John Cleland – he of 1990s Vauxhall fame – has helped fine-tune the new V60 on UK roads on behalf of Volvo and his experience shows. We’re testing the manual, 161bhp, 5-pot turbodiesel D3 SE model, which will be the biggest seller in the range.

What’s it like?

Like no other Volvo in recent times, the V60 breathes over our rutted tarmac and steers with fluidity and precision. It’s actually a Volvo you could imagine driving for fun. Mind you, that only applies to the V60 D3 on 17in wheels and 215/50 ZR17 rubber. The D5 fitted with optional (£775) 18in wheels that we tried displayed none of its subtlety. You have been warned.

Other aspects of the V60 are less impressive. The load bay (430 litres), for example, is small and only just bigger than the cheaper V50’s. And the German premium competition offers approximately 10 per cent more boot space. There’s a trade-off to be made here because the V60’s styling features a dramatically tapering rear roof line that marks it out as a very handsome estate indeed. But Volvo’s figures illustrate the compromise. A V50 has 717 litres on tap if you fill the load space to the roof and keep the rear seats up. A V60 has just 557 litres.

As a result, the Mondeo-based V60 is even outpointed by the V50 when the seats are folded down: 1307 litres versus 1241. Clearly, it’s not the sort of estate that you load up for a weekend camping at Le Mans or offer to drag a few spare slicks and a trolley jack off to Silverstone.

That’s why the V60 is officially a sports wagon and everyone in the company is on pain of death to avoid calling it an estate. The V60 does hold one serious ace over its key Audi rival, though. Thanks to its transverse engine arrangement, there’s plenty of space in the footwell and room to rest your clutch foot.

The integrated sat-nav screen, with modern graphics, is a big improvement on other Volvos’ and it is now positioned centrally in the dashboard centre, rather than popping up out of the fascia.

We’d like a few more flourishes in the cabin design, too. There’s no mistaking the quality of the main dash moulding and elegance of the trim, but the overall feeling is austere and the instrument pack – where every driver will focus his or her attention – really doesn’t shout £32k.

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Should I buy one?

If you like the way the car drives and looks, and you don’t need the outright carrying capacity that most big estates offer, then you’ll enjoy owning the V60. But there are much better value and more practical wagons out there, so the compromises could well be too many and too significant for most.

Volvo V60 D3 SE Lux Premium

Price: £32,520; Top speed: 137mph; 0-60mph: 8.9sec; Economy: 51.4mpg (combined); CO2: 144g/km; Kerb weight: 1632kg; Engine: 5 cyls, 1984cc, turbodiesel; Power: 161bhp at 3000rpm; Torque: 295lb ft at 1400-2850rpm; Gearbox 6-spd manual

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Comments
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Rich boy spanners 19 November 2010

Re: Volvo V60 D3 SE Estate

Wingco44 wrote:

I saw this car in the metal yesterday and it doesn't look 'cheap', and it is certainly a beautiful looking, stylish car, and far better than these pics show.

The version with this price tag (Premium) is loaded with extras including an excellent Satnav and the internal finish is very 'executive'. You could get a well equipped version on the road for £27K.

If you think you can get a decent and similar spec'd BMW or Audi for this money you are going to be sadly disappointed and those dealers will rip you off on your part-ex.

If you don't like Volvos, that is clearly your choice. But my local dealership has a waiting list for this car (Diesel SE versions are the favourite) of over 3 months and people already have their names down for the R-Design version due Spring 2011.

Someone else mentioned Volvo's servicing costs; have you ever owned a BMW, Audi or Merc? I had to sell my Merc (300 TE) and BMWs (325s and 525 Estate - ruinous part-ex and servicing/repairs) before the next service fell due and rarely got away with less than £400. Major ex-guarantee jobs needed doing on all of my BMWs within 30,000 miles. No Volvo service has cost me more than £300 and my XC60 (47 mpg) has 'free' servicing and is still worth 80% of what I paid for it in Dec 2009 (I got a substantial discount). My wife took the car in recently for a safety recall and they drove her to Grantham station, kept the car overnight, filled the windscreen bottle and washed the car thoroughly - she was delighted when they collected from the station the following day - no charge - now that is fantastic service.

My C30 R-Design is also depreciating very slowly (I got a £5.500 loyalty bonus plus other discounts) and there is a huge waiting list for my 2.0 D4 R-Design version, such that the dealer tried to buy it off me above what I paid for it as he knows he could sell it tomorrow.

If there are waiting lists, Volvo are doing something right,

I don't dislike Volvo cars, at least not the decent old ones that had a purpose. I just don't see that anything they've made in the last 8 years or so has had much point whatsoever (XC90 aside). Let's see, a worse built Ford Focus dressed up in expensive clothes that fooled nobody, estate cars that can't actually carry much, are not particularly good to drive and are totally outclassed and have less ability than a 20K Skoda Superb, a small badly conceived over-priced hatch that almost nobody bought, rubbish sales figures. and yes, Ford giving up and selling it to the Chinese.

You're also making a presumption I refer to Audi and BMW - I don't. Volvo are on a par with much the more mainstream manufacturers, and their technology doesn't even approach BMW, not just out of the ball park but not even the same game.Glad you like them, though it seems not a great many share your passion looking at the last ten years of sales figures.

Wingco44 19 November 2010

Re: Volvo V60 D3 SE Estate

I saw this car in the metal yesterday and it doesn't look 'cheap', and it is certainly a beautiful looking, stylish car, and far better than these pics show.

The version with this price tag (Premium) is loaded with extras including an excellent Satnav and the internal finish is very 'executive'. You could get a well equipped version on the road for £27K.

If you think you can get a decent and similar spec'd BMW or Audi for this money you are going to be sadly disappointed and those dealers will rip you off on your part-ex.

If you don't like Volvos, that is clearly your choice. But my local dealership has a waiting list for this car (Diesel SE versions are the favourite) of over 3 months and people already have their names down for the R-Design version due Spring 2011.

Someone else mentioned Volvo's servicing costs; have you ever owned a BMW, Audi or Merc? I had to sell my Merc (300 TE) and BMWs (325s and 525 Estate - ruinous part-ex and servicing/repairs) before the next service fell due and rarely got away with less than £400. Major ex-guarantee jobs needed doing on all of my BMWs within 30,000 miles. No Volvo service has cost me more than £300 and my XC60 (47 mpg) has 'free' servicing and is still worth 80% of what I paid for it in Dec 2009 (I got a substantial discount). My wife took the car in recently for a safety recall and they drove her to Grantham station, kept the car overnight, filled the windscreen bottle and washed the car thoroughly - she was delighted when they collected from the station the following day - no charge - now that is fantastic service.

My C30 R-Design is also depreciating very slowly (I got a £5.500 loyalty bonus plus other discounts) and there is a huge waiting list for my 2.0 D4 R-Design version, such that the dealer tried to buy it off me above what I paid for it as he knows he could sell it tomorrow.

If there are waiting lists, Volvo are doing something right,

Rich boy spanners 18 November 2010

Re: Volvo V60 D3 SE Estate

I think this looks awful. I've seen the S60 and it looks cheap, this appears even worse. No way would I pay anything close to this money for a pretend premium car, that looks cheap, has rip-off servicing prices and is unlikely to have particularly good residuals. You can do so much better for the money with so many other vehicles.

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