Volvo V60 Review
A well-packaged, stylish, practical and safe estate car, the V60 offers almost everything that buyers might want from a family car.
Strengths & weaknesses
- Attractive design
- Spacious interior
- Could be more involving to drive
- Not as economical as rivals
- Slow automatic gearbox
Life may have steered you into middle-age and the middle-of-the road, but just because there may be children to strap into Isofix car seats and pushchairs to collapse and cram into the boot doesn’t mean you can’t drive something that will make you feel good – even when the door pockets are stuffed with baby wipes and discarded dummies are spilling out of the cupholders.
Gone are the days that Volvos were as boxy as Ikea flat-pack furniture. The Swedish company’s designers and engineers have been working hard to add some badly needed street-cred – and their efforts have paid off. The new, 2018 V60 is one of the most handsome estate cars on the road.
It competes with the Audi A4 Avant, BMW 3 Series Touring and Mercedes C-Class estate, and the range is priced from roughly £32,000 to £40,000. Drivers get to choose between petrol, diesel or plug-in hybrid engines, which means there should be something to suit most buyers’ needs.
The new V60 comes hot on the heels of the XC90, V90, S90, XC60 and XC40, all seriously good cars and all launched in the last four years. Like those, the V60 exudes a Scandi-chic vibe. This is a car for buyers who really appreciate good design.
Inside, it’s the same story. Minimalist but not spartan, it features high-quality materials and some nice touches to create a relaxing, inviting ambience. Yet traditional Volvo traits remain, such as the V60’s seats that are more comfortable than a masseur’s table.
It's also spacious, with particularly impressive legroom for back seat passengers and a boot that the Swedish carmaker claims is the largest in the class – and at 529 litres (1,441 litres with the rear seats folded flat), it is. That’s also better than taller sport utility vehicles (SUVs) such as the Range Rover Evoque.
Volvo has improved the standard of technology in its cars in recent years. With the V60, the main hub for all this is called Sensus, a 9in portrait touchscreen that takes care of nearly all the car’s functions, including navigation, phone integration and apps, music and even the climate control.
It’s fast and easy to use but, unlike similar systems from BMW, Mercedes and Audi, doesn’t include a rotary dial or many buttons. Almost everything must be controlled via the touchscreen and that takes the driver’s eyes off the road for disconcerting amounts of time.
Naturally, as a Volvo, it is packed with more safety equipment than a health and safety trade show, and most is included as standard on all models – whereas rivals often make buyers pay for such aids as optional extras.
If only the V60 could be more fun to drive. The BMW 3 Series still rules the roost here and the V60 isn’t as poised and precise. Instead, it behaves perfectly well on the road, with separate driving modes that can be adjusted for different road conditions or driving styles. There’s also plenty of grip, the steering is accurate and the ride is comfortable (although we haven’t yet tested the car on UK roads).
The initial engine range has two economical diesels and a petrol unit, but there’s another petrol and two plug-in petrol-electric hybrids coming in 2019 that will be of particular interest to company car drivers or those wishing to change from a diesel car.
The V60 enters a competitive segment where there are some great cars. But it manages to raise the bar in areas many drivers will most appreciate.
|Warranty||Three years/60,000 miles|
|Boot size||529-1,441 litres|
|Tax||£205-515 in the first year, £140 thereafter|
Best Volvo V60 for...
Best for Economy – Volvo V60 D3
The base diesel with a 150PS output is the most economical, with an on-paper fuel consumption figure of up to 64.2mpg.
Best for Families – Volvo V60 D4
A more powerful diesel than the D3, the D4 is also quicker, while recording a fuel economy figure that is just 0.2mpg worse.
Best for Performance – Volvo V60 T5
While the official performance figures for the only petrol-engined car in the range are yet to be confirmed, 250PS should mean that it is the quickest car in the range by at least 1.5 seconds.
- February 2018: New-generation V60 unveiled.
- July 2018: First carts in UK showrooms.
- October 2018: First deliveries to customers.
Understanding Volvo V60 names
All the engines in the range are 2.0-litre units. The two diesels are designated D3 and D4, with different power outputs, while the petrol engine is named T5.
There are two main trim levels – Momentum and Inscription – with the latter more expensive and offering more basic equipment, while each also has a Pro version that adds a small number of additional features for an extra sum.
Both diesel engines are available with a choice of wither a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox, while the petrol-powered car is only available with an automatic transmission.
Volvo V60 Engines
D3, D4, T5
When the V60 goes on sale, there will be just three engines to choose from – all of which are Volvo-developed 2.0-litre, four-cylinder units. Other motors, including two plug-in petrol-electric hybrids, will join the range in 2019.
There are two diesel engines, called D3 and D4. The lower-powered D3 has an 150PS output and a 9.9-second 0-62mph time, which should prove adequate for most family drivers. And with official fuel economy of up to 64.2 mpg (depending on the size of the wheels and equipment levels) and CO2 emissions of 117-122g/m, running costs are agreeable.
Those that want extra performance should opt for the D4, which has 190PS. This means it can accelerate from 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds, and on the road it feels more assured when overtaking or accelerating in a fully-laden car. Running costs are still acceptable, with fuel economy of between 60.1- 64.0mpg and emissions of up to 125g/km. Both diesels are quiet and refined at main road speeds.
The only petrol engine in the line-up is a 250PS, T5 unit, which is predicted to account for just five per cent of V60 buyers in the UK. Performance details are yet to be confirmed as we write, but it should feel nippy, while 42.5-43.7mpg isn’t too bad for a petrol engine with that that much power (although the 150-154g/km will cost £515 in first-year road tax (VED).
Volvo V60 Trims
Momentum, Momentum Pro, Inscription, Inscription Pro
Initially, the V60 will be available with just four trim levels, with others (R-Design and Cross Country) to be added later.
The base Momentum model comes with 17-inch alloy wheels (18-inch on T5 models), tyre pressure monitoring, LED headlights, adjustable driving mode settings, a powered tailgate, rear park assist, a 9-inch touchscreen, electric front seats, DAB, Bluetooth, satellite navigation, Volvo On Call service (with emergency call function), smartphone compatibility, Isofix, plus a veritable raft of safety features, including Volvo’s AEB system, called City Safety.
Among the additional features on Momentum Pro cars are leather upholstery, a heated steering wheel and front seats, head-up display and keyless entry and start.
Compared to the Momentum specification, Inscription cars add a number of comfort-oriented and styling features designed to add an air of greater luxury, such as driftwood interior inlays, front seat cushion extensions and ambient lighting, plus 18-inch alloys, front park assist and integrated roof rails.
Upgrade to Inscription Pro and Volvo includes nappa leather upholstery, head-up display, power side seat support, heated front seats, a handsfree tailgate and 19-inch alloy wheels.
There are also a number of special packs of equipment, including a Winter Pack (£525), Intellisafe Pro (which includes the Pilot Assist semi-autonomous driving system for £1,725), Convenience (£500) and Xenium (£2,000, for which buyers get a full-length sunroof, 360-degree surround view and self-parking capability).
Volvo V60 Reliability and warranty
Volvo is seventh in the most recent Driver Power list of most reliable manufacturers, which is reassuring for buyers. However, the latest generation models don’t figure in the most recent Driver Power survey.
The warranty could be better – we’d like to see Volvo outdo the German car companies in this respect. It means the V60 is covered for three years or 60,000 miles, which isn’t as good as the unlimited mileage of a Mercedes-Benz or BMW warranty.
Used Volvo V60
At time of writing this guide, the V60 is yet to go on sale in the UK, so there are no used examples yet available.
However, some Volvo models are proving very popular on the second-hand market, so it’s quite likely that the V60 will retain a good proportion of its value after two or three years.