Volvo has launched the new V60 estate to the world. We went to Spain to test drive the eye catching machine in front wheel drive and all wheel drive form.
Built on the modular SPA framework that underpins the V and S90 the Swedish estate is an instantly likeable car. On first sight the V60 looks like an only slightly scaled down V90 and yes there are many similarities with the vast imposing estate version of the S90. Volvo says the V60 exudes dynamic elegance with space for lifestyle and family use… and its hard to argue that point. The V60 has some gorgeous lines and the new and imposing front end helps clearly mark it out as a premium offering. A quick look around the exterior and the car’s lines and body sculpting get even better. There are subtle bulges and detailing that are really rewarding.
Inside the cabin is huge and as all our test cars were trimmed in the top grade, I felt really content with the premium feeling. There is literally Skoda-esque space for luggage and occupants. Rear legroom is vast for its class and I could comfortably sit behind my driver’s seat. The V60 has best in class storage too with a 529 litres boot. This compares favorably with the Audi A4 Avant’s with 505 litres, Mercedes Benz C Class with 490 litres and BMW’s 3 Series Touring with 495 litres. Volvo assures me you can fit four suitcases in the boot and close the load cover and tailgate, that’s unique in the segment.
Under the bonnet a number of internal combustion engines powered by petrol, PHEV plug in hybrid petrol and diesel are available, and yes I did say diesel. In fact Volvo Ireland tells me that diesel will account for 80% of V60 sales in Ireland. Mid-sized estate cars have, and continue to be, predominantly diesel powered in this part of the world for now but the writing is on the wall. In business you must supply what the market wants and the worlds biggest markets of China and USA simply don’t buy or want diesels. Not so long ago Volvo made the headlines when it said it was going to electrify its range going forward from 2019. Almost everyone took this up the wrong way (not me) thinking that the internal combustion engine and in particular diesel power was dead. Yes, ICE only powered cars will be phased out by Volvo but anyone buying an ICE powered car will have the back up of the Volvo machine for the entire life cycle of the car. Volvo is still on a noble quest and by 2025 the Geely owned Swedish brand hopes to have 50% of its sales pure electric models and all other models will feature some form of electrification. Towards the end of the year a more powerful T5 petrol and two PHEVs will arrive the T6 and T8. The plug in petrol hybrid models will feature combined power outputs of 340hp and 390hp respectfully. 2019 will also see the arrival of the S60 saloon. The big news with the saloon is that there won’t be a diesel option – just petrol and PHEV versions. As it stands Volvo does better than average in selling estate versions of its cars. The S60/V60 ratio is currently 80% S60 saloon and 20% V60 estate. In terms of PHEV Volvo tells us that with XC90 and XC60 T8 PHEV versions account for about 25% of sales.
Okay back to the impressive V60, prices start from €40,750 for the 150hp D3 diesel in momentum grade. ‘Car by Volvo’ the all-in monthly payment ownership/insurance offering will be available with V60. Momentum, Inscription and in a few months time R Design will complete the three grades on sale in Ireland. Momentum comes with following spec: 17 inch alloys, Moritz leather seats, roof rails, power operated tailgate, 12.3-inch Active TGT crystal drivers display, city safety auto braking, 9-inch centre touch screen and ‘Volvo On Call’ app. Inscription adds: Nappa perforated leather seats, power driver and passenger seat with memory, roof rails in silver, chrome window surrounds and parking assistance front and rear. A step up from D3 is the D4 that we tested. It produces 190hp and both diesels are available as manual or automatic.
On the road the V60 is a lot of fun in front wheel drive form (D4) and a solid stealthy performer in 310hp AWD T6 guise. The two cars we tested had different personalities with the T6 (not coming to Ireland) the more mature performer but despite less power, and the wrong fuel for fun – I enjoyed driving the D4 more. The V60 come with four selectable driving modes: eco, comfort, personalised and dynamic and all have the affect on driving dynamics you’d expect.
Being a Volvo safety is high on the agenda. There are loads of ADAS driving aids and excellent integral structural safety. Revisions and improvements have been made to some of the electronics and Pilot Assist – Volvo’s semi autonomous adaptive cruise control with lane keeping works very well. The most interesting drivers aid is the collision avoiding ‘on-coming traffic’ system – think of lane keeping assist with attitude that can steer you out of trouble and even beep the horn should it detect an imminent collision.
Volvo estates are loved by journalists and sadly in Ireland often overlooked by family car buyers, especially now with the rise of SUV. But the V60 is a car people should seriously look at getting. It is a great piece of design and very practical too.