12.9.2012 Volvo V60 SE DRIVe Powershift review
Despite the sexier styling of Volvos these days, the now Chinese owned company is soon going to be known as much for its 'green' endeavours as for its attempts to make driving safer. That said, on this car I turned off the automatic stop-start system, which saves you fuel in traffic, because it would turn on and off as you inched out of junctions with poor visibility. Scary.
The automatic braking and vehicle ahead warning system also irritated and worse, distracted, more than it helped. Some people will blindly trust these systems and become even less observant I fear. Avoid the automatic (Powershift) gearbox and stay with a manual and the V60 would be a pleasant enough drive, though beware, there are estates with more carrying space.
Review by Russell Bray for nextgreencar.com
Moving away from traffic lights I felt I was hindering traffic in this automatic transmission 'Powershift' model unless I tapped the gearbox briefly into sport mode, a feeling borne out by 0-60 mph acceleration in a leisurely 12.5 seconds as the 115 bhp turbocharged four-cylinder 1560cc diesel tries to get its act together. It would definitely be a six-speed manual gearbox for me. Maximum torque of 199 lbs ft arrives from 1400 to 2850 rpm but the car didn’t feel as sprightly as some Volvos with this power unit. Top speed is 115mph.
The V60's modern looks aren't matched by its handling (or driver feedback through the steering) when it comes to the twisty stuff, which feels several generations old in front-wheel drive car terms. This is a car that's happiest cruising motorways and A-roads rather than approaching the last two tenths of its ability to put a smile on a driver's face. Even though, as with most Audis, you are better kicking back and just accepting it as transport, there's a plethora of safety and traction systems to save you if you push outside the car’s ability envelope. I expected better ride comfort on the softish suspension.
Most I think would agree the Volvo V60 is a handsome car and looks more like a sporty five-door than a normal estate car. And those used to slab-sided Volvos of old might even think that V60 doesn't look like a Volvo at all. Despite the falling roofline there's sufficient headroom and space for two six-footers in the rear seats. The backrests fold 40/20/40 to increase carrying capacity. Boot capacity is 430 litres with the rear seats in use, increasing to 1240 litres fully folded. It is 4638 mm in length and 1865 mm wide.
COMFORT & CONTROLS
Though Volvo now has Chinese owners the V60 feels thoroughly Swedish with a modern, good quality cabin that manages to be stylish without being fussy, though there are a lot of buttons to learn, though most are logical. Audi still does quality better, but BMW drivers wouldn't notice much amiss.
We found the seats comfy, loved the elasticated pockets under your knees, but were not so sure about the 'feel' through the steering. Optional adaptive cruise control adjusts speed according to the vehicle in front, and you also get a collision warning and pedestrian detection system which uses a camera and radar to 'see' what you might have missed.
MPG & RUNNING COSTS
Gentle cruising, and a lot of anticipation, saw a best of 67 mpg on the on-board computer falling to 56.8 mpg in town traffic. This compares well to official figures of 55 mpg round town and 62.8 mpg on the combined cycle. It was also better results than I achieved with the same engine when fitted in the larger V70 model where it has to work too hard. Carbon dioxide emissions of 119 g/km CO2 delivers a Band C road tax classification exempting the car from first year road tax and then £30 annually. Volvo covers the V60 with a three-year/60,000 mile warranty.
Volvo seems to have become as obsessed with reducing C02 emissions as making its cars safer and more easily recycled. Somewhere there will be a bumper sticker: If God drives a car, he drives a Volvo! Features like self cleaning particulate trap on diesels, automatic engine stop-start, low friction engines and low rolling resistance tyres are all obvious along with Piezo injector common rail fuel injection and brake energy recapture. Hybrids have been a gap in the armoury that Volvo is starting to put right. The V60 Estate DRIVe has been given a Next Green Car Rating of 35.
SE trim includes 17in alloy wheels, chrome window surrounds, rain sensing wipers, electric folding door mirrors with ground 'puddle' lights and a grocery bag holder in the boot. Upholstery is Tylosand T-Tec/Textile while the centre console is in shimmer graphite aluminium trim. Options on the test car, to indicate what can be chosen, pushed the price to £37,305 and included premium pack £2,050, driver support pack £1,635, Powershift transmission £1,485, rear seat entertainment £1,025, Security pack £685, metallic paint £640, rear parking camera £615 and premium sound multimedia £615. A front blind spot camera £40 looks at 180 degrees to the car's direction of travel, allowing it to see into a junction before the driver can.
Model tested: Volvo V60 SE D2 DRIVe Powershift
Body-style: Executive estate car
Engine/CO2: 115bhp 1560ccc four-cylinder turbo diesel / 119 g/km
Trim grades: ES, SE, SE Lux, R-Design
On-road price: V60s from £24,945. Test car from £27,575. As tested £37,305
Warranty: Three years/ 60,000 miles
In the showroom: Now
Review rating: 3.5 STARS
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