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Used Volvo V60 long-term test: report 1

We’ve long been fans of the suave and practical Volvo V60 estate, but now we're finding out if it impresses or frustrates when you live with it every day...

Volvo V60

The car 2019 Volvo V60 D4 R-Design Plus Run by Mark Pearson, used cars editor

Why it’s here To find out if this recently replaced version of the V60 with the non-hybrid, diesel-only engine option makes for a good used purchase

Needs to Prove that it can match a number of its fine executive estate car rivals for practicality and efficiency and cope with the daily grind of work and family life

Mileage 6072 List price new (2019) £39,215 Price new with options £45,085 Value now £28,550 Test economy 34.1mpg Official economy 52.3mpg Options fitted Intellisafe Pro pack (£1625); Premium metallic paint (£975); Harmon Kardon sound system (£850); Polestar performance optimisation (£745); 19in triple-spoke alloy wheels (£550); Rear park assist camera (£375); Convenience pack (£300); Winter pack (£200); Tempa spare wheel (£150); CD player (£100)

18 December – Estate of the art

Time was when a Volvo estate was a slab-sided pantechnicon usually to be found being driven rather erratically to the local stables or an antiques fair and loaded to the gunwales with lively dogs and even livelier children. They were much admired for keeping one’s precious brood safe, but they were not, it’s fair to say, generally seen as the car for someone overly keen on driving.

But that was then. We all know that in recent years Volvo estates have been seriously sexed up, and with their swish looks and much-improved driving manners, I’ve long been eager to put one of these handsome bolides on my driveway. And now, I’m delighted to say, I have.

Volvo V60

Sticking to my principles as the used cars editor, though, my car is second-hand; a 2019 V60 2.0-litre D4 in R-Design Plus trim.  It's not, however, just any old D4; mine has had the Polestar Performance Optimisation system added. This increases power from 187bhp to 197bhp and ups the torque too, resulting in more accessible oomph when you need it and very slightly better performance figures with, Volvo promises, no resulting reduction in fuel economy.

If you wanted the very same, I’m afraid you can’t have it, at least not new. You see, my D4 engine has now been dropped from the 2020 V60 range and has been replaced by a new B4 (D) mild-hybrid diesel, so my non-hybrid diesel is beating what now seems to be rather an old-fashioned drum. It might be a little too early to say how this will have affected the used prices of my car, but it was certainly good value. New it would have cost the first owner £39,215, or £45,085 with all the options attached. A year and 6000 miles on, it’s worth £28,550, which is a saving of more than £16,000, and that’s well worth pocketing.

R-Design Plus is the sportiest of the V60 trim options, with figure-hugging Contour seats and a lower and firmer suspension. It’s also well equipped with, among other things, a 9.0in portrait-style touchscreen, sat-nav, a head-up display, keyless entry, a hands-free tailgate and adaptive LED headlights. There’s also automatic emergency braking and a system that helps out with the steering should you drift out of lane.

Volvo V60 LT

Of course, you associate Volvo with safety, so you’d expect this sort of stuff as standard, which is why it came as some surprise to find out that many of the other impressive features on my car were options added by the first owner. For example, the Intellisafe Pro pack featuring Pilot Assist and Adaptive Cruise Control, which keeps the car in its lane on motorways and can keep you at a constant speed and predetermined distance away from the car in front, was an expensive option.  Also an option was the useful Blind Spot Information System with Steer Assist, Cross-Traffic Alert with Autobrake and Rear Collision Mitigation, which alerts you when vehicles are in your blindspot or helps out when you’re reversing out of parking spaces where visibility is limited.

Among other options added by the first owner, there’s an upgraded Harmon Kardon audio system, which previous experience of the same setup in other Volvos has taught me is a good listen. There’s also a Winter pack that adds a mega-useful heated steering wheel as well as a most efficient headlight cleaning system.

Other options specified from new were mostly cosmetic, with some smart 19in alloy wheels and the metallic “Bursting Blue’ paint. I must say it looks the part: the V60 is a smart enough car in its other trims, but my lower and beefed-up R-Design version has already attracted many favourable comments.

Volvo V60 LT

First impressions reveal it’s easy to find the right driving position, and the roomy interior has an air of solidity and a quality feel unmatched in many other estate cars at this price level. The diesel engine under the bonnet is surprisingly gruff, though, and there’s a slightly old-fashioned heaviness to one or two of the major controls. However, with such luxury on offer, and those enticing looks, I have no doubt I’m going to enjoy living the good life with my trendy Volvo estate.

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