Volvo V60 estate
Price £22,205 - £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 V60 is a Volvo estate that puts style before practicality in an effort to compete with rivals from BMW and Audi."
The Volvo V60 is a stylish mid-size estate that competes with premium models such as the BMW 3 Series Touring, Mercedes C-Class and Audi A4 Avant. These are tough cars to go up against and in truth the Volvo is pretty well outclassed by all of them.
It's not really a space or practicality issue – all of these cars, including the Volvo, put style before out-and-out usefulness, although with its surprisingly small boot, the Volvo is probably the worst offender. Rather, it's the V60's dull driving qualities and weaker image that hold it back.
All that said, with its clean and crisp Scandinavian styling, the V60 is refreshingly different from its German rivals. Fortunately, it doesn't ask you to tolerate poor build quality or lower safety standards in return. The V60 is powered by a choice of two petrol and three diesel engines, all available with manual or automatic gearboxes.
If you do a low mileage, the smaller petrol engine (the cheapest engine in the range) could be worth a look, since it does a reasonable 48.7mpg and costs £130 a year to tax. The other petrol engine powers the extreme – and thirsty – 345bhp, four-wheel-drive V60 Polestar.
For most buyers, the diesel V60s will be of most interest. The most efficient is the new D4. Its 187bhp engine can propel the car from 0-62mph in a rapid 7.7 seconds, yet returns an impressive 70.6mpg and boasts £20-a-year tax. Those are the same figures as the less powerful D3 engine, although this car is about £1,200 cheaper.
The most economical diesel is the 118bhp D2. which does 74.3mpg and has the same £20 annual tax bill as the others. The D4 is the sweet spot in the V60 range, but its performance isn't matched by the rest of the car, which has heavy steering, firm suspension and leans too much in corners. However, the V60 does have plenty of grip, and the handling is safe and predictable.
Firm ride aside, the V60 is refined and comfortable, with some of the best seats in the class. The dashboard is quite unlike any other – very clean, stylish and uncluttered – and features an attractive 'floating' centre console. It's a roomy cabin in the front, but headroom in the rear is cut short by the sloping roofline. As mentioned earlier, the boot is surprisingly small for an estate, but because the rear seats can be folded flat, it's usefully long and has no obstructive lip at the entrance.
There are numerous trim levels, beginning with Business Edition, which is packed with kit including climate control, sat nav and a seven-inch display screen. Other trim levels include SE, with the accent on luxury, and R-Design, which majors on sporty looks. There's also a V60 Cross Country version, which gives the Volvo rugged styling and some limited off-road ability.
The Volvo V60 D6 hybrid is the most frugal model in the range, but we recommend the cheaper D4 diesel
The D4 diesel engine 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