Our Cars: Volvo V60 Hybrid - February

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  • Greenest Volvo V60 on long-term test 
  • World's first plug-in diesel hybrid 
  • Run by digital editor Nigel Donnelly
  • Future Volvos will have Apple's CarPlay tech - the V60 feels like it needs it

    Future Volvos will have Apple's CarPlay tech - the V60 feels like it needs it

  • Charging point on the A4 near Heathrow, worked fine

    Charging point on the A4 near Heathrow, worked fine

  • The boot is tiny, but then so is the monthly tax bill – just £82 per month – and the V60 comes loaded with kit

    The boot is tiny, but then so is the monthly tax bill – just £82 per month – and the V60 comes loaded with kit

  • Mitsubishi's new PHEV uses similar technology to our plug-in V60

    Mitsubishi's new PHEV uses similar technology to our plug-in V60

  • V60 cabin is a comfortable, classy place to spend time

    V60 cabin is a comfortable, classy place to spend time

  • Legendary Volvo luggage capacity is not really in evidence in the V60

    Legendary Volvo luggage capacity is not really in evidence in the V60

  • The wing mirror dips to show wheels when reversing, even when you're nowhere near a kerb

    The wing mirror dips to show wheels when reversing, even when you're nowhere near a kerb

  • Temporary or not, it ruined our attempt to commute on electric-only power

    Temporary or not, it ruined our attempt to commute on electric-only power

  • My Volvo can text me when it is bored

    My Volvo can text me when it is bored

  • Gauge in dash display shows you how far you can press the accelerator before the engine kicks in

    Gauge in dash display shows you how far you can press the accelerator before the engine kicks in

  • Boot light had reduced itself to kit form. Now reinstated

    Boot light had reduced itself to kit form. Now reinstated

  • Enough is as good as a feast, where boot space for the Xmas drink shop is concerned

    Enough is as good as a feast, where boot space for the Xmas drink shop is concerned

  • If you don't give the V60 its fill of electricity, MPG will plummet

    If you don't give the V60 its fill of electricity, MPG will plummet

  • Checking the oil, Swedish style

    Checking the oil, Swedish style

  • Safety features are welcome but can be distracting too

    Safety features are welcome but can be distracting too

  • Our Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid looks good in white

    Our Volvo V60 plug-in hybrid looks good in white

  • Charging the V60 hasn't gone entirely to plan so far

    Charging the V60 hasn't gone entirely to plan so far

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Volvo V60 plug-in Hybrid SE Lux

Read the full Volvo V60 review

Week ending February 21 
Mileage 4897 
Driven this week 311 miles

A word association game involving my Volvo V60 would immediately bring a few descriptive terms to mind. With two charge cables, three drive modes, rear- or front-wheel drive, a plug-in hybrid drivetrain and a 3G dongle in the glove box, ‘clever’ would be in there. I’d suggest ‘quiet’ too, although some colleagues are troubled by the D5 engine’s gravelly baritone as it switches from electric to diesel power. ‘Brisk’ too, although I wouldn’t go so far as fast, given the weight penalty imposed by all that aforementioned clever stuff.

One word which unites all comers to the V60, however, is ‘comfort’. The V60 is a seriously comfy car. The seats are broad, plump and have a generous range of adjustment which means that, big or small, you’ve got a supreme chance of getting yourself settled in the cockpit of the Volvo. The steering wheel reach adjustment does not retreat as far as I would ideally like, but that is a nitpick, based on the fact that in every other way, I can get the car to seat me pretty perfectly.

The cabin is also a relaxing place to spend time. The displays are easy to read, the surfaces feel classy, and the whole dashboard looks very well resolved. It gives little away in terms of fit and finish to German rivals, although some rationalisation of the many buttons on the lower dashboard would improve the ergonomic experience somewhat. That aside, it is a very pleasant place to command the car from.

By Nigel Donnelly
Nigel.Donnelly@whatcar.com

Read the full Volvo V60 review

Week ending February 14 
Mileage 4897 
Driven this week 311 miles

I once moved a three-seat sofa in the boot of an old Volvo estate – it slid comfortably up against the back seats and the rear hatch closed first time with an unobstructed ‘clunk’. So, when I needed to ferry five plus luggage from London to Bristol last weekend, I figured our V60 hybrid would have it covered.

In the passenger cabin, it pretty much nailed it. After a few moments sliding the front seats around, every one of us had room for heads and feet, and from those in the back there was no complaint about the amount of shoulder-room on offer. However, there was a rucksack and a cake tin awkwardly jammed in the front footwell.

Our digital editor Nigel Donnelly has a favourite frustrating fact: he could fit as much in the boot of a BMW 1 Series convertible as in his V60. With the Volvo's boot filled to the roof, I was feeling his pain – the mix of four-wheel-drive components and batteries for the hybrid system eat up so much load capacity that my rear view was blocked and my passenger had room for only one of his feet.

Space isn’t everything, however. The sofa-swallowing second-hand Volvo 740 of my former life couldn’t offer chairs you would happily choose to sit in. In two hours of cheerful conversation not once did any of us complain (although occasionally the middle rear passenger struggled to resist the urge to find a footrest between the front seats).

Also helpful in M4 mile-munching was Spotify, served up by the Asteroid-powered entertainment system. Nigel stifled a giggle as he remotely pre-loaded three of my favourite album choices using the Spotify app, but they helped pass the time, the only minor irritation coming at a fuel stop when switching off the ignition reset the music selection.

On the subject of diesel, the average consumption for the trip worked out at just above 40mpg, far better than the 20 I managed during the following morning’s in-town commute, not helped by the fact the batteries were long exhausted by then. This is, I suppose, an interesting point. Could I do without the electric assistance in favour of a bit more room? For regular motorway miles, yes, and if I ever did want to carry a sofa.

By Paul Regan

Week ending February 7 
Mileage 4897 
Driven this week 210 miles

As with other Volvos, the V60's wing mirrors are automatically programmed to tip downwards when you reverse park, to give you a better view of your wheels as you approach the kerb and help avoid a scrape. However, when I borrowed the V60 hybrid last weekend, this set-up proved more trouble than it's worth.

Unless you stop what you're doing to press the L or R button on the mirror control, the dipping mirrors remove any view of the cars behind or vehicles coming up the street behind you. That seems potentially dangerous if you go to adjust your trajectory, so you have to return to first gear and wait for the mirrors to right themselves before you can proceed, which seems to take an interminable amount of time when all you want to do is park.

Fortunately you can disable the mirror dipping through the car's infotainment system; once I'd had found this option, that's exactly what I did.

By Alex Newby

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