Volvo's new compact estate tested on Irish roads
Pros: Trumps rivals on space, striking looks, slick infotainment
Cons: Rivals are more engaging to drive, superior quality in class alternatives
The V60 is Volvo’s latest estate offering, and it goes up against established models in the space including Audi A4 Avant, BMW 3 Series Touring and Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate. The new V60 is a much more appealing package than its predecessor too, with additional space inside, lots of new technology and most noticeably, a handsome styling overhaul. The V60 arrives on the market ahead of the Volvo S60 Saloon which will go on sale later this year, so we spent time driving it on Irish roads recently to see how it compares to the rest.
What is it like?
The new V60 looks much more athletic and sporty than before, and it follows in the footsteps of the flagship Volvo V90 in terms of styling. Up front, vibrant ‘Thors Hammer’ LED headlights and a chrome front grille lend the V60 lots of presence, while the rear lights and steep tailgate design are striking. The V60 is a lengthy car and to the untrained eye, it is difficult to tell the difference between it and the larger V90 Estate. Our test car is a high specification Inscription model which benefits from 18-inch alloy wheels, LED headlights, black roof rails and various other styling upgrades for a sportier finish.
The V60’s interior creates a great first impression with a slick 9.3-inch touch screen display integrated in the centre console, a 12.3-inch digital display in front of the driver and elegant driftwood-effect trim along the dashboard. The V60 is longer and wider than its rivals, and this results in extra passenger space throughout the cabin, with enough room to ferry five adults in comfort, although a high transmission tunnel in the rear floor inhibits leg room for the middlemost passenger somewhat.
The V60’s boot is 529 litres litres in size with an adjustable parcel shelf and space increases to over 1,440 litres when the rear seats are folded down. The load area is completely flat which is helpful for loading heavy items and the seats fold electrically with the touch of a button in higher specification models. We are big fans of Volvo’s touch screen infotainment system which is featured in most of the Swedish brand’s latest models. The system is intuitive to use and looks great, however it takes getting used to at first and Android Auto and Apple CarPlay are an optional upgrade.
In Ireland, the V60 is available with a 2.0-litre four-cylinder diesel engine in two states of tune, along with a choice of manual or automatic transmissions and front or all-wheel drive. The 2.0-litre D3 unit packs 150 horsepower, while the 2.0-litre D4 is the most powerful option with 190 horsepower and an automatic transmission. Our test car is the higher power D4 model and it is responsive out on the road, with swift acceleration and plenty of oomph for overtaking. It can sprint from 0-100km/h in under eight seconds and go on to a top speed of 220km/h. In terms of running costs, we achieved 5.7l/100km in economy during our time with the V60 which equates to 50 MPG, and annual motor tax is listed at €270.
Unlike the BMW 3 Series Touring or Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate, the Volvo V60 focuses on comfort rather than driving dynamics. This means it is very relaxing to drive, with hushed noise at higher speeds and supple ride quality on back roads. Even with the large 18-inch wheels on our test car, it absorbs bumps in fine fashion. The V60’s suspension isn’t quite as firm as its rivals, so it is more comfortable but less enjoyable to drive on twisty roads. It is reassuring to drive in wet conditions however and features such as Volvo’s Pilot Assist autonomous assist and a suite of safety aids will make it an enticing option for family buyers. Various driving modes can be selected using a selector switch on the centre console, including Comfort and Dynamic.
Prices for the V60 start from €40,750 in Ireland and there are three specifications to choose from, with Momentum, R-Design and Inscription models. Entry level Momentum specification models are well equipped with 17-inch alloy wheels, aluminium interior trim, a 12.3-inch TFT driver’s display, Volvo’s Sensus Connect infotainment system, an electric tail gate, LED headlights, rear park assist, electronic climate control and lots more. The range-topping Inscription model that we tested adds large 18-inch alloy wheels, driftwood inlays, an electrically adjustable driver’s seat and leather upholstery, however prices for the Inscription start from over €46,849.
Carzone verdict: 4/5
If you are looking for a relaxing, comfortable and spacious estate, the new Volvo V60 delivers in most regards. The V60 is well-equipped in base specification with an attractive cabin that serves up lots of space and practicality for family needs. It isn’t as engaging to drive as class favourites like the Audi A4 Avant or BMW 3 Series Touring, while interior fit and finish isn’t quite as impressive either. Overall however, the V60 must be applauded as it delivers in just about every regard, and its flaws are few and far between.
Test Car Details:
Model driven: Volvo V60 D4 Inscription
Prices from: €40,750
Price as tested: €55,995
Annual Road Tax: €270
Engine: 1969cc four-cylinder turbocharged diesel
Top Speed: 220km/h
0-100km/h: 7.9 seconds
Body style: Estate
Boot Space: 529 litres