THERE CAN’T be many car manufacturers who’ve gone through as much of a revolution in the last few years as Volvo. Once a maker of what were perceived to be little more than bulletproof boxes on wheels, the Swedish company is now producing some of the world’s coolest cars.
They include various sizes of XC (crossover SUVs) and, given their runaway sales, you’d be forgiven for assuming that Volvo would be looking to concentrate wholly on these rugged high-riders. But the launch of the new V60 proves that the Volvo estate isn’t going anywhere.
It also shows that the company’s recent run of super-stylish models is continuing apace.
The 2018 V60 is a remarkably sleek estate with now-familiar Volvo brand features, like the ‘Thor’s Hammer’ headlights. And, inside, there’s the large portrait-style infotainment touchscreen, which makes it a doddle to follow sat-nav instructions while lending the dash a look that’s leagues ahead of the pack in terms of contemporary style.
As it controls most of the car’s systems, there’s no need for a sea of physical buttons, allowing the dashboard to look pleasingly minimalist. However, it does mean your eye can wander from the road rather too often to find functions that would otherwise have been easy to locate by touch alone.
Traditional Volvo buyers will be heartened by the fact that the new V60 isn’t all style over function; its eye-catching aesthetics very effectively disguise impressive capaciousness.
Those travelling in the front will find they have plenty of space, even if they’re tall. And with electric height adjustment on the driver’s seat as standard across the range, it’s easy to get comfortable behind the wheel.
In the back, too, passengers will have plenty of head and knee room; the only complaint is the lack of space for feet when the driver’s seat is in its lowest position.
For all that, the new V60’s trump card is its boot, which is slightly larger than you’d find in the BMW 3-series Touring, Mercedes C-class estate and Audi A4 avant. With rear seats folded, it accommodates a whopping 1,441 litres of kit.
Traditional Volvo buyers will be heartened by the fact that the new V60 isn’t all style over function
Volvo hasn’t forgotten the practical touches, either; “easy” is the operative word when it comes to loading the V60. There’s no lip to lift items over and the floor is completely flat, so heavy loads can be slid straight in. And the huge opening means even large items are easy to pack away; it should easily swallow a bicycle without you having to take the wheels off.
Then, once you’ve loaded up and hit the road, it’s hard to find fault with the V60. It’s especially good on long motorway trips but even on country roads, the V60 is impressive, with plenty of grip and limited body lean.
In fact, the only place it gets caught out a little is in town, where it can feel a little bumpy over poor surfaces and the wide pillars at the front and rear of the car create a couple of blind spots.
For now, the D4 diesel engine is the obvious choice, as it combines great fuel economy with enough power to shuffle the V60 along at a decent pace even when it is fully loaded.
We tested it with the optional eight-speed automatic gearbox and while it can be a little slow to respond when you want a quick burst of acceleration, it changes gears smoothly and matches the relaxed nature of the rest of the car.
Which all means that the V60 manages an impressive double act; it’s both an extremely smart executive cruiser and an unfeasibly practical family wagon. It’s not the best driver’s car out there, but you can’t have everything.
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Volvo V60 rivals
BMW 3-series Touring
Price £27,760 – £45,975 but save £4,607 on average at carwow
Audi A4 Avant
Price £29,255 – £46,610 but save £4,619 on average at carwow
If you want an affordable alternative, go with: Dacia Logan MCV
Price £8,495 – £12,695 but save £178 on average at carwow