What's the used Volvo V60 estate like?
Those who fondly remember the large and square-sided Volvo estates of yesteryear - rammed full of children, dogs, antique furniture and wellington boots - will no doubt be quite surprised by the Swedish firm’s modern-day wagons. Gone is that utilitarian approach, and in its place now is a series of lifestyle estates - good-looking, swish and suave - aimed very much at families whose idea of getting dirty is spilling a Starbucks coffee on their Hollister hoodie rather than digging up their garden or mucking out a pig sty.
The V60’s shape is undoubtedly pleasing to the eye, though, and the grille is unmistakably that of a Volvo. Underneath, it’s actually an old enough car to borrow a lot of its underpinnings from Ford, the V60 dating from an era where the American company had a large stake in Volvo cars.
Five trim levels were available over the years: Business Edition, SE Nav, SE Lux Nav, R-Design Nav and R-Design Lux Nav, as well as that there was a later ES trim, while there were two trims for the rugged V60 Cross Country, a raised-up version with some additional bodywork for occasional off-road use.
On the road the V60 is an able performer with most of its engine options, although the 1.6 diesels can feel sluggish. None of the diesels are particularly refined, either, although their on-paper economy is much better than the petrol options offer. Most examples come equipped with a six-speed manual gearbox as standard, though the automatic gearbox was a popular alternative in many versions.
Approach a corner and you’ll find the V60 competent but uninspiring. There’s plenty of grip but its steering is a little slow and its handling is perhaps compromised by a chassis set-up that’s definitely biased towards ride comfort. On broken surfaces and beaten-up road irregularities the V60 rides with an almost old-fashioned panache, and its comfort will be appreciated by those who don’t deal with every corner as though it was the last one at Le Mans.
By the standards of the times in which the V60 was launched, in 2010, the interior is stylish and quite imaginative. The seats are comfortable and the driving position good. The floating centre console looks a little old-fashioned now, and there are rather too many buttons gathered around it. Space-wise, it’s good up front but poor in the rear - leggy teenagers won’t like travelling behind a taller driver, and the boot is surprisingly short of room - a corollary of that extravagant and stylish rear roofline.