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 unmistakenly 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.
Under the bonnet the V60 offered a good range of engines: petrol-wise there was a 188bhp 2.0-litre T4, which was replaced by a 1.6-litre 180bhp T4, and a 153bhp 2.0-litre T3. There was also a 240bhp 2.0-litre, known as the T5, and a 304bhp 3.0-litre unit, known as the T6. There was a 115bhp 1.6-litre diesel, too, and three variants of the 2.0-litre diesel engine and a 2.4-litre powering the range-topping D4 all-wheel-drive models. For those more eco-conscious there were two hybrid-diesel versions both using the same 2.4-litre oil burner, while a 362bhp powerhouse in the shape of the V60 Polestar headed the range.
There were five trim levels at its launch: 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 predictably their on-paper economy is much better than the petrol options offer. Most options were 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, but it all looked great at the time. 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.
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