"While older Volvo estates offer space in abundance, the V60 is actually smaller inside than similarly sized rivals."
The S60 saloon is Volvo's best attempt yet to challenge the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4 and Mercedes C-Class in the small executive class, and the V60 is the stylish estate version. The model line-up is the same as the saloon's, and flagship versions come with four-wheel drive, while the low-emissions DRIVe version has low running costs and cheap road tax. While older Volvo estates offer loads of space, the V60 is smaller inside than similarly sized rivals. But the company's reputation for comfortable cabins and first-class safety equipment remains intact, with both the main car and the Plug-In Hybrid model securing top marks in the Euro NCAP safety test.
If you’re going to be filling the boot on a regular basis, the tuneful five-cylinder diesel has plenty of power to cope. Volvo has tried to give the V60 sporty handling, but it still lags behind its German rivals for entertainment. It's at its best as a long- distance motorway cruiser, as it soaks up bumps and lumps with ease. The potent T6 Polestar version is powered by a turbocharged V6 engine and is incredibly rapid, capable of 0-60mph in just 5.6 seconds.
As with other models in Volvo's range, the V60 is a comfortable car. The company has an incredibly strong reputation in this area, and drivers will never feel exhausted after spending time at the wheel. The interior is spacious, while climate control is included as standard to help keep temperatures in check.
Interior quality is on a par with the best small executive models available, but the Volvo V60 is too new for us to know how well interiors will stand the test of time. There's lots of hi-tech safety systems available. All cars come with six airbags, electronic stability control and City Safe – which helps prevent low-speed accidents. The optional Driver Support Pack includes blind spot and lane-change alerts, a pedestrian detection system, plus collision warning technology with automatic braking. All of which adds up to the car's all-time best Euro NCAP score, including five stars for the electric Plug-In Hybrid model, the first EV to score so high.
There's a 430-litre boot, but that's 60 litres less than in the class-leading Audi A4 Avant. The rear seats split 40/20/40 and fold completely flat, yet a maximum carrying capacity of 1,246 litres is 59 litres less than a Volkswagen Golf hatchback. Still, what the V60 lacks in boot space, it more than makes up for with neat touches, such as a fold-out divider in the boot floor complete with built-in retaining straps. Passengers are well catered for, with plenty of room in the back seats and decent storage on the centre console.
Value for money
Compare the Volvo V60 to the BMW 3 Series Touring or Audi A4 Avant, and it represents decent value for money. All cars come with climate control and alloy wheels, while upgrading to SE specification adds a Bluetooth telephone connection and rear parking sensors. Leather upholstery is standard on SE Lux cars, while top-of-the-range Premium adds satellite navigation and more to the standard list.
If you want to keep costs down, go for a diesel model over the petrol versions. The D3 and D5 diesels both manage 53.3mpg and have emissions of 139g/km – good, but not quite on a par with the cleanest models from BMW and Audi. Economy-minded buyers will need to seek out the DRIVe model, which promises over 60mpg and sub-115g/km of CO2, yet still has enough pulling power to cope with big loads. Residual values for the V60 won’t be as strong as BMW, Audi or Mercedes alternatives.