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

Our Verdict

Volvo V60

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

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.

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

Join the debate

Comments
18

15 November 2010

Is it £32k or £26k? If the latter, it looks good value?

15 November 2010

The V50 is not a premium car, though, nowhere near. If you want a load lugger you buy a V70. You could end every review with "there are much better value cars out there". A Kia is better value than a V50. A Lotus is better value than a Ferrari. Does it diminish their inherent worth?

As for the fussing over positioning I don't see the CLS being criticised for not being an E-Class and not being an S-Class. There is room in model ranges for other cars to appeal to people. And commenting about the instrument pack, nit-picking or what. I would stake a claim that it has the best seats of any car anywhere near its price range, I think they are perhaps more important for a driver? How about the relatively generous standard kit on a car that actually starts at <£25k?

Furthermore, when you are touting Audi as the rival in terms of quality or as a direct competitor for this car you can't exactly state that an A5 Sportback is more practical or cheaper, so where is this glut of cars that are obviously better than the V60?

I was always taught to justify the statements I made, perhaps Autocar should start doing it.

15 November 2010

[quote LongLiveTazio]Furthermore, when you are touting Audi as the rival in terms of quality or as a direct competitor for this car you can't exactly state that an A5 Sportback is more practical or cheaper, so where is this glut of cars that are obviously better than the V60?[/quote]

Fair point - they are probably pointing towards the German competitors I should imagine.

This is a Volvo I would genuinely like to own. The only other model that's grabbed me before is the C30 but that is now starting to look a little dated inside, even though I know the exterior with R Design still looks really fresh.

But as this one is good to drive and looks really attractive, I would definitely have one. If I am required to have an estate for the next company car and I can get them up to whatever it will cost a month to have it, then this is my choice.

15 November 2010

The main seller won't be £32k though. It'll be the ES or SE, so you're looking at about £25k. Then there's the £3k-£4k discount you can get, even off this brand new car and it suddenly looks like amazingly good value.<p>

I wouldn't buy it, because I value my boot space, but if you have one kid, or one dog and just want to be able to fit stuff in relatively easily in to a good looking car that you commute 30k a year in this Volvo seems perfect.

15 November 2010

Great, another pretend estate car for people who don't actually need or want an estate car. Why on earth does the car industry make these things?

15 November 2010

If people don't need or want it, they won't buy it. I don't need one but I quite fancy the high powered petrol version, providing it rides more comfortably than my V50 R-Design.

15 November 2010

[quote Chris576]Great, another pretend estate car for people who don't actually need or want an estate car. Why on earth does the car industry make these things?
[/quote]

Could it have something to do with the unrealistic premium on MPVs and that fact that people seem to happy to pay them?

I need a 7 seater and have got one by transferring my early 90s VW Passat third row seats to a two more recent estate cars. That option is fast disappearing so I am forced to look at taller vehicles with shorter wheelbases and pay more for them.

I thought the Dacia Logan might be an option but it looks like we will never see it here and even the Mercedes E class is losing its boot space.

15 November 2010

Its certainly the best looking car in its sector, excellent design. Its cool, and its a Volvo!

15 November 2010

[quote Addy Go Fast]This is a Volvo I would genuinely like to own. The only other model that's grabbed me before is the C30 but that is now starting to look a little dated inside, even though I know the exterior with R Design still looks really fresh.[/quote] Yes agree completely. If they could take the design of this and make it just a little smaller to create a Golf/ A3 sized rival I'd buy one. Really does look fantastic, great design.

15 November 2010

[quote J400uk]If they could take the design of this and make it just a little smaller to create a Golf/ A3 sized rival I'd buy one[/quote]

That sounds a bit like this...

http://www.autoexpress.co.uk/news/autoexpressnews/258802/volvo_hatches_new_golf_rival.html

Hope they make it.

Pages

Add your comment

Log in or register to post comments

Find an Autocar car review

Driven this week

  • Volkswagen T-Roc TDI
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    Volkswagen's new compact crossover has the looks, the engineering and the build quality to be a resounding success, but not with this diesel engine
  • BMW M550i
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The all-paw M550i is a fast, effortless mile-muncher, but there's a reason why it won't be sold in the UK
  • Volvo V90
    First Drive
    19 October 2017
    The Volvo V90 is a big estate ploughing its own furrow. We’re about to see if it is refreshing or misguided
  • Kia Stonic
    First Drive
    18 October 2017
    Handsome entrant into the bulging small crossover market has a strong engine and agile handling, but isn’t as comfortable or complete as rivals
  • Hyundai Kona
    First Drive
    18 October 2017
    Hyundai's funky-looking Kona crossover with a peppy three-cylinder engine makes all the right noises for the car to be a success in a crowded segment