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Engine options, speed, acceleration and refinement

Volvo’s 2.0-litre diesel motors haven’t always been a byword for outright refinement and, in the Volvo V60, this does ring true.

After clattering into life on start-up, the Drive-E unit settles down to a relatively vocal idle, which we measured at 49dB. By comparison, the BMW 3 Series 320d saloon we road tested back in 2012 came in at 48dB. Apply some throttle and the accompanying diesel grumble becomes even more prevalent; certainly not to the point where you’d be put off the idea of buying a V60 completely, but rivals do better in this area.

It’s a pity this four-cylinder engine isn’t as refined as you might like and expect from an estate with aspirations to be premium

A greater source of irritation, though, is the eight-speed transmission’s occasional tardiness in finding the right gear when setting off. Attempts to pull away from junctions in a smooth fashion are often hampered by a noticeable delay as the gearbox rummages around for the right ratio.

Once the car is up and running, acceleration can only be described as smooth and laid back in nature, which seems in keeping with Volvo’s image of being a manufacturer of more comfort-oriented family vehicles.

Our timing gear clocked the V60’s 0-60mph run at 8.9sec, which is some way off its claimed 7.6sec time and a product of the fact that the V60’s 235/45 tyres struggled to find purchase off the line. The 320d saloon, meanwhile, managed the same sprint in 7.6sec.

The gearbox sorts itself out as you get moving, too, with cogs being swapped in a largely seamless, tidy fashion. Those who prefer to change gears themselves will find there is a manual mode, although there aren’t any paddle shifters on the steering wheel or column.

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The gearlever’s manual position seems to be back-to-front too: you need to push the lever forwards to change up, and pull backwards to shift down.

As you’d expect from a safety-centric car, the V60 comes to a halt from 70mph in a safe and stable manner and takes 46.2m to do so.