Volvo V60 R-Design. Anything but Square


   If  your opinion of Volvo estate cars is that they’re all boxy and a bit boring then Volvo’s V60 might just come as something as a surprise to you. Gone are the set-square designed lines of old, replaced instead by an attractive low slung nose, muscular front, and rear arches and a roof line that, if you stretched your imagination just a little bit, might just count as coupe-like. The V60 turns traditional impressions of Volvo estates well and truly on their heads. It’s aimed at people who like to carry larger items now and again rather those who like to carry all of life’s possessions in one go. Think flat-pack rather than wardrobe. This is not an estate say Volvo: It’s a Sportwagon.

     In reality the V60 is the stretched version of Volvo’s impressive S60 saloon and a quick stroll around it reveals that whatever the Swedish might say, it is undeniably an estate. But, that said, it’s probably one of the most attractive ones you can buy. Especially if it’s been treated to the R-design pack which adds 18inch alloy wheels, gloss black grilles, deeper front and rear bumpers, silver backed mirrors and twin exhausts. Throw in a Rebel Blue paint job like the one on the V60 I tried and it’s not hard to see why Volvo claim this is their sexy car.

     Inside it’s equally appealing.  The layout is un-cluttered in that typically Swedish way. The switches have a nicely damped feel, and are all slightly angled towards the driver in what Volvo calls a Floating Stack. Standard equipment includes heated seats, Bluetooth connectivity – the easiest I’ve used so far – beautifully integrated satellite navigation, a digital radio, and all the other goodies you’d expect in a car of this price and yet, thankfully you’re not confronted with a myriad of confusing buttons.

   Simplicity too it seems is the Swedish way. The heating and ventilation switches should be applauded for their clarity, as should the fully digital dashboard that allows you to select between its blue-lit Eco mode, the soothing amber/brown of the Elegance setting (my favourite) or the racy red that accompanies Performance.  There’s no denying either that the use of materials is first class: The leather is soft, the plastics are high quality, and the brushed aluminium adds a sophisticated touch to a cabin that feels like it’s going to last.

   It’s also incredibly comfortable. Why can’t other carmakers produce seats that mix support and comfort in the same way Volvo does? A three hour late afternoon stint in this car soon became a pleasure not a chore. It’s just a shame that in something that’s been designed to look so sporting there’s nowhere to rest your left foot between gear-changes.

   On the move the firm suspension does an admirable job of ironing out the bumps meaning V60 covers large distances with ease. With 181bhp the 2.0litre D4 Spec engine means progress is brisk (0-62 in 7.7 seconds) and more importantly, economical (70.6mpg combined); in a week which saw me cover over 450 miles the fuel gauge refused to dip below the half tank mark.

    The six speed gearbox has a light action and foolproof gate. The steering is direct, and on all but the worst B-road surfaces the V60 grips and rides well.  It may not feel quite as nimble as Volvo or those slinky looks claim, but it’s certainly better than you might have expected.

   Of course being a Volvo it’s loaded with safety features – Volvo did after-all bring us the three point seatbelt and the airbag. There are six airbags in a V60 plus Isofix and stability control as standard. But it doesn’t end there: There’s lane departure and blind-spot warning systems plus directional headlamps and more. The V60 also has Collision Warning and Full Auto Brake Pedestrian Protection. Should you not react to a hazard the system applies the brakes automatically and, if your travelling at less than 22mph, stops the car altogether. Volvo say’s although it can’t shorten braking distances it can help improve reaction times.

   Even if perhaps some of those traditional Swedish square edges have been softened, when it comes to their V60, it’s clear that Volvo’s legendary reputation for both safety and quality remain solidly in place.



Volvo V60 D4 Manual R-Design Lux Nav

Engine: 1969cc. 4 Cyl 16V Turbo

Transmission: 6 Manual

Power: 181 bhp @ 4250rpm

Torque: 295 lbft @ 1750rpm

0-62mph: 7.7 sec

Max Speed: 140mph

Mpg: 70.6 (combined)

CO2: 104g/km

Price: from £34,945 (car driven £40,325)


Many thanks to Carly at Volvo’s UK press department for the loan of the V60.



Liam Bird Liam Bird

I'm Liam Bird, a freelance Motoring Writer based in the South Shropshire Marches. I currently write car reviews and road tests for a number of regional lifestyle magazines and newspapers which are distributed throughout Cheshire, Herefordshire, Shropshire, Staffordshire, Worcestershire, most of Wales and beyond.

As a member of the Welsh Group of Motoring Writers I'm as happy behind the wheel of a super-mini as I am in the latest super-car. I have press accreditation with most of the major motor manufacturers, meaning that as well as always being on the look out for further commissions, I always have a number of cars arriving each month ready to review.

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