Volvo V60 estate
Price £23,595 - £38,025
- Stylish looks
- Very comfortable
- Loads of safety kit
- Underwhelming handling
- Smaller boot than some rivals
- Not the most economical estate
At a glance
“The Volvo V60 is a stylish estate car that sacrifices some of the practicality traditionally associated with Volvo estates in an effort to compete with rivals from BMW and Audi.”
The Volvo V60 is a sleek and handsome mid-size estate car that goes up against other premium models like the BMW 3 Series Touring, Mercedes C-Class Estate and Audi A4 Avant. With rivals as accomplished as this, it's no wonder the Volvo can’t quite match the competition. If you’re willing to sacrifice a degree of practicality and driver involvement, though, the V60 is a worthy contender, thanks to its understated looks, comfortable cruising ability and inviting interior.
Like other premium estate cars, the V60 loses some load capacity in the name of good looks, but it's more hampered by its uninvolving driving experience – an area where cars like the BMW 3 Series Touring positively excel. While some buyers are likely to be drawn to Volvo's discreet brand image, more will be attracted to the appeal of Audi, BMW and Mercedes, and this is likely to be reflected in the V60's secondhand values.
Despite these reservations, the V60's clean and crisp Scandinavian styling makes it stand out from the crowd of Germanic estates, while the its excellent build quality and comfortable, sophisticated interior mean you don’t have make sacrifices in these areas.
The Volvo V60 is offered with a choice of two petrol and three diesel engines (called D2, D3 and D4), as well an ultra-low-emission (but very expensive) D6 plug-in hybrid. The T3 petrol engine has 150bhp and returns 48.7mpg, while emitting 135g/km of CO2 for an annual road-tax bill of £130. If you don’t cover a great deal of miles, it's worth considering, but diesel-powered V60s will be more popular. The other petrol engine powers the seriously swift – but rare and uneconomical – 362bhp, four-wheel-drive V60 Polestar.
The most efficient diesel engine is the D2, which returns an impressive 76.3mpg and is exempt from road tax thanks to its low emissions. It's a perfectly good engine, but its focus is efficiency rather than power and you may find the 118bhp it offers isn’t enough if you cover a lot of motorway miles.
The D3 and D4 diesel engines have an identical fuel-consumption figure of 70.6mpg and they’re both liable for a road-tax bill of just £20 a year thanks to their low emissions. If you’re happy to pay a little extra (less than £1,000) then the additional performance of the D4 engine compared to the D3 makes the V60 a swift car, with a 0-62mph time of 7.7 seconds.
While the V60 is comfortable and quiet on the motorway (thanks in part to some of the best seats fitted to any car in this class), it's not really that enjoyable to drive on twisty roads, being let down by heavy steering, too much body lean and overly firm suspension. It always feels safe and solid and grips the road well, but rivals are much more enjoyable to drive.
The V60's interior is a more enticing prospect: it's extremely well made, with a clean, uncluttered design and Volvo's trademark ‘floating’ centre console – so-called because it's very thin and has a storage area behind it. Further back in the V60, the news is less good: rear headroom is compromised by the car's sloping roofline, while the boot is far smaller than you’d expect in an estate car – particularly one bearing the Volvo badge. Rear seats that can be folded completely flat and the lack of load lip at the mouth of the boot mean the V60 isn’t entirely impractical, though.
The V60 is available in numerous trim levels and is well equipped in all of them: even the entry-level Business Edition has climate control, sat nav and a seven-inch display screen. Further up the range there's the comfort-focused SE model and the sportier V60 R-Design, as well as Lux and Nav variants, which bring more creature comforts and satellite navigation, respectively. There's also a V60 Cross Country version, which has rugged styling and some (limited) off-road capability. The V60 Polestar comes with a host of sporty add-ons, including larger alloy wheels, a bodykit, a special blue paint job and plenty of Polestar badges.
In terms of reliability, both Volvo and the V60 have an average record. The V60 came a decent rather than impressive 86th out of 200 cars in our 2015 Driver Power customer satisfaction survey, while Volvo as a whole faired similarly, coming 17th out of 32 manufacturers.
One area in which the V60 does excel, however, is safety: in its Euro NCAP crash-tests, it scored the full five stars, including an impressive 94% for adult occupant protection and an almost unheard-of 100% score for safety assistance. While Volvo may have shifted its focus away from outright practicality, it's reassuring to know it still has an excellent reputation for safety.
The Volvo V60 D6 hybrid is the most frugal model in the range, but we recommend the cheaper D4 diesel
The Volvo V60 D4 diesel model offers class-leading performance and running costs
The Volvo V60 shrugs off long motorway journeys with ease
A relatively small boot and cramped rear headroom means the Volvo V60 doesn’t offer the roomy interior you might expect
The Volvo V60 is one of the safest cars on sale, but it underperformed in our Driver Power survey