Volvo V60 long-term test review
The Volvo V60 beat the Audi A4 Avant and Skoda Superb Estate when we group-tested it, but is it as impressive when you live with it every day?...
- The Car: Volvo V60 D4 Momentum Pro
- Run by: John Bradshaw, chief photographer
- Why it's here: To see if one of the best modern estates is a better choice than an SUV
- Needs to: Cope with all of my photography gear, provide smooth transport on long journeys, return reasonable fuel economy and be an effortless commuter car
Price £36,610 Price as tested £43,835 Miles covered 7180 Official Economy 52.3mpg (WLTP combined) Test economy 43.5mpg Options fitted Xenium Pack, which includes panoramic sunroof, 360 parking camera and Park Assist Pilot (£1800), Intellisafe Pro which includes Pilot Assist, adaptive cruise control, Blind Spot Warning, Cross Traffic Alert (£1625), Premium Harmon Kardon sound system (£825), 18in Diamond Cut alloy wheels (£775), metallic paint (£650), dark tinted windows (£600) Convenience Pack (£500), Smartphone Integration (£300) and spare wheel and jack (£150)
25 February 2019 – The end of my estate
When I took delivery of my Volvo V60 at the end of last year, I was keen to see if my love for the classic estate car remained strong after having run a selection of SUVs.
These cars, such as the Volvo XC60, now sell themselves on the combination of luxury, space and practicality. Estates, though, have pushed this agenda for their whole existence. So, is it better to stick to the original load lugger?
My answer is yes – certainly with the V60, anyway. I’d picked the estate mostly to cope with my raft of photography equipment: cameras, lenses, light stands, hard cases and the rest. As you’ll remember if you’ve been reading my reports regularly, it has also been chauffeuring my burly football mates to practice every week. And three six-footers can easily fit across the back bench with no complaints, even with the panoramic roof fitted (usually, this eats into head room).
There’s nothing particularly clever or special in the boot, but with it being even more spacious than the bigger XC60's, I can’t complain. The flat floor has been an added bonus for my regular trips to the tip as well. The only annoyance is the tonneau cover, which is fiddly to get in and out of the lock position and often ends up getting stuck open, restricting visibility in the rear-view mirror.
An optional UK plug socket in between the front seats is a highlight, though, because it allowed me to charge my camera flashes and laptop on the go.
Talking about being on the go, when I wasn’t filling the V60 full of stuff, I was driving it thousands of miles between What Car? photoshoots. The seats are immensely comfortable, with plenty of electrical adjustability making it easy to find a suitable seating position. And all the buttons on the centre console and steering wheel are logically placed, with even the touchscreen-based climate control adjustment clear enough to use confidently while you're driving.
No, the interior doesn't not quite live up to its more premium German rivals in terms of overall finish, but chrome-coloured highlights and gloss black plastics keep it feeling classy. The iPad-style touchscreen infotainment system is also generally intuitive to use, although it's often slow to respond.
As for the driving experience itself, I can’t fault it, even though some of my colleagues think it isn't as comfortable as the Audi A4 Allroad and doesn’t handle as well as the BMW 3 Series Touring. The V60 is far from the sportiest estate, and it can be slightly sluggish when pulling away from a standstill as the seven-speed automatic gearbox reacts to your right foot, but it has more than enough poke for motorway miles aplenty and its gear changes are smooth.
The official (WLTP) combined fuel economy for the V60’s D4 engine is 52.3mpg, but over my 7000 miles on motorways and in town traffic, I managed to average only an acceptable 43.5mpg.
The one thing I do miss from the world of SUVs is the elevated driving position. Regardless of my slightly weary knees, it feels much more natural to sit upright as if you're in a chair, like in the XC60, rather than with your legs out in front of you like you do with the V60’s lower driving stance.
Volvos have long been known as good family cars, and the V60 still lives up to that in buckets. I’ve always been a fan of the Swedish marque, so I'm pleased that it has proved able to hold its own in the ever-changing car market.
Saying that, there’s no denying that SUVs are excelling, and for good reasons: competitive prices, stylish looks and often clever, practical usability. The ultimate deciding factor between the V60 and XC60 comes down to personal style choice, and I will always have a soft spot for estates. But, just to be sure, maybe I’ll pick another SUV as my next test car…