Test Drive || The new Volvo V60 is the family car I would buy today, on a realistic-ish budget, were I in the market for one. Need I say more?
If there is a car I drove this year that I could say I knew exactly how it was going to feel, this is it: the new Volvo V60. Except, instead of that being a criticism, it is the greatest compliment I could pay Volvo’s new station wagon. I was expecting a lot and that is exactly what I got.
In fact, this is now my favourite Volvo. I am not saying it is the best Volvo, I am saying it is the one I can see myself buying because it would suit my life like a silk Swedish glove. Which is easy to understand when you know I drive a BMW 325d Touring as my daily – a direct rival for the V60.
The Volvo is worlds apart from the Beemer. First and foremost, it feels a lot more modern (the new 3 Series is being shown at the Paris Motorshow as we speak). Second of all, it feels a lot more modern than pretty much anything else in the premium segment. The V60 seems as if somebody in Sweden asked the right question: why must all cars look more or less the same? What if we did something different?
And they did. The V60 follows in the footsteps of its bigger cousin, the V90, but it’s even better proportioned and, because it’s smaller and lighter, it is faster and corners with more certainty.
Inside, you’ll find a better place to be in than any of the Germans. Maybe I am being too romantic, maybe my press car was just specced right, but that light wood with the aluminium and the Harman Kardon sound system, it just felt right.
Let me put this in very basic terms: if you like the way the V60 looks, if you sit in one and it speaks to you, if you can afford it, then there is no reason why you shouldn’t buy one. Does that mean it is faultless? No. But its faults are so negligible and, most of the times so subjective, they really don’t matter much.
It doesn’t drive as well as my BMW, but then, nothing does: if driving is your absolute thing, the Beemer is still king and probably always will be. But the V60 most definitely is as comfortable as the Mercedes C Class Station and as well engineered as the Audi A4 Avant. As a product to own and enjoy, at this moment in time, it is the more desirable of the four, no doubt about it.
In D4 guise, the one I tested, it goes plenty fast with its 2 litre, 190 horse power diesel engine and doesn’t drink more than 6.5 litres of fuel for every 100km. You can imagine I mean that with a less-than-slow approach to the way it was driven.
The infotainment system may not be as intuitive as the BMW’s, nor as flashy as the Mercedes’, but, again, as a whole, when you get to grips with it, it just works.
This is the sixth model in Volvo’s revival, which is amazing if you consider the XC90 is only three years old. Meanwhile, we have seen the XC60, the V90, the S90 and the XC40. Already Volvo has shown the S60 as well, the saloon version of this car.
In pure technical terms, they are all pretty much the same, based on Volvo’s SPA architecture: a steel monocoque, double wishbones and coil springs at the front axle, an integral link with transverse, composite leaf spring at the rear axle and transverse front-mounted engines of nothing more than four cylinders, driving the front wheels through a six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic gearbox.
Designer Lisa Reeves says Volvo doesn’t do aggression, so the V60 is harmoniously beautiful, not in-your-face impressive. She’s spot on. To these eyes, it looks absolutely right and I would be proud to drive it around the neighbourhood, showing off my new set of wheels. Geek fact for you: Volvo drivers crash 50% less than others and have a 50% better credit rating average. That non-aggressive thing must be working.
At the end of 2018, for this writer, a D-segment station wagon is still the perfect daily driver in terms of size, practicality, potential performance, price and depreciation. That is why I own my Beemer and why I loved the V60 so much. I just hoped it was a bit cheaper so more people could buy one. The D4 starts at just under €48,000 and adding €15,000 in optional extras is so easy it’s scary. The entry-level D3 with the same engine, but only 150 horse power, is €43,500.
Time to get the word discount out and argue with your dealer. It’s worth it, believe me. This is truly a magnificent car.
By Guilherme Marques