Volvo V60 D4

Volvo V60 D4 lr

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By Tim Saunders

It is possible to make a sporty and stylish estate car.

For decades we have made compromises with such vehicles forsaking looks in favour of space. But now Volvo, that Swedish manufacturer famed for its boxy creations of the ‘80s, has designed an eye catching and positively remarkable estate car.

From the moment you clap eyes on the V60 you know it is not going to disappoint. Just looking around the outside there are numerous features about the design that are pleasing to the eye. From the distinctive black grille to the alloy wheels and the way the twin chrome exhausts are flush with the rear bumper. It is those exhausts and the fairly low stance of this machine that hint to its sporting credentials, which are really rather appealing. Although it is only a 2-litre diesel it can reach 0-60 in just 7.2 seconds and has a top speed of 140mph. Not so many years ago this performance would only have been the domain of petrol engined models. It is remarkable how this technology has improved so rapidly. And what’s more those engineers at Volvo have developed a wonderful raspy note to the exhaust when it is worked hard making it an absolute joy to put your foot to the floor.

The model I test is the V60 D4 Business Edition GT, which comes laden with goodies including a heated steering wheel, which proves very handy on some cold spring mornings. Also equipped with engine stop start it is a fairly efficient vehicle, returning up to 67mpg and around 700 miles on a tank when travelling at typical speeds. This model is automatic which is generally very smooth.

The best way to test the V60 is to put it through its paces on a trip to Norfolk, about four hours from our base in Hampshire. The driver only needs to touch the accelerator and the engine is pleasingly responsive. There is a useful intelligent cruise control, which is easy enough to use and also measures the distance of the Volvo from the car in front. It brakes and accelerates accordingly and makes the brake and accelerator almost redundant. The speed limiter allows the driver to set the speed that the vehicle will not go over but the driver still needs to use the brake and accelerator pedals.

On long journeys such as these it is possible to find out how comfortable the seats really are and although I suffer a little neck ache overall I am pleased with the comfort levels. The heated front seats score highly with my wife, Caroline. It is a damp cold day and with the fan on low the windows soon mist up with all our hot air. However, it is soon removed by turning the fan up and pressing the buttons for the heated front and rear windscreens.

Its boot is large enough to accommodate youngest daughter Heidi’s pushchair and two sizeable luggage holdalls as well as various carrier bags of shopping.

Throughout the course of the journey it becomes necessary to use the satellite navigation. Having been a sat nav hater for many years I am slowly being converted especially by Volvo’s user-friendly system. Basically a few turns of the dial and the journey is calculated with the driver being directed with helpful voice commands. It is also possible to talk to this system and ask it to direct you to for instance, London. I try this but it doesn’t seem to recognise my voice. This system has other issues such as when travelling along a road with a 60mph speed limit a 30mph speed limit sign will flash up on it. This happens on a couple of occasions, one I recall around the M11. While it can be useful for the beeps that alert the driver to imminent speed cameras it can be off putting when they go off without any reason and make the driver question whether something is wrong.

Overall the V60 is a fantastic vehicle with a comfortable driving position. Not only is it great for the family it provides smart executive transport, too.

Facts at a glance

Volvo V60 2010 onwards
New price: £24,845
Top speed: 140mph
0-60mph: 7.2secs
Power: 181bhp
Economy: 67mpg
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