Tested car

Tested car

Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid SE Lux
Week ending November 1 2013
Mileage 1750
Driven this week 315 miles

The link between cars and technology is growing stronger all the time. Time was that syncing your phone to your car using Bluetooth felt like you were at the bleeding edge of technology. The Sensus Connected Touch system in the Volvo makes Bluetooth seem like two paper cups joined with a bit of string.

The ‘infotainment’ setup in the V60 consists of a standard Volvo in-car entertainment unit, the Connected Touch screen and, if you choose to use it, an iPhone App which logs details such as journey times, fuel economy and allows you to preheat and or pre-cool the car remotely . The Volvo unit is a mass of small, fiddly buttons, with various car controls embedded around the perimeter but as with most cars, a bit of time spent with the system makes it easy enough to get your head around.

The Connected Touch system is related rather than integrated. The touch screen controlled system runs a version of the Android operating system, as used on the loads of smart phones and tablet computers. This bestows the system with plenty of apps to download so you add extra functionality. As standard, our car came preloaded with music streaming services Spotify and Deezer, along with the iGo navigation plus a web browser and a few other bits and bobs.

The downsides of the system are that the touch screen is a stretch from the driver’s seat and not desperately responsive. Our car is using a 3G data dongle in the glovebox, costing around £10 per month and in order to use Spotify, you need to have a £10 per month ‘Premium’ account with the service too. In order to get the most from the system, you need to invest. There is also the issue that system is restricted by the the amount of signal available. If you have no 3G signal, you’ll be sat in silence. Until you switch back to the CD player, radio, DAB radio, Bluetooth streaming or USB stick. You aren’t short of options in the V60.

The upside though is that you have a huge selection of music and entertainment at your fingertips. Before setting off on my daily commute, I can fire up Spotify, search for pretty much any music artist in the world, and be listening to their entire back catalogue within a minute. Most of my journeys weave in and out of the M25 where there is a consistent data signal and the system works brilliantly.