The Volvo V60, with its new D4 engine, combines 181hp and 65.7mpg, equating to 112g/km CO2 (or 74.3mpg/99g/km with manual transmission and without R-Design styling); it’s also practical and very easy to live with.
Volvo has had some highs and lows over the years, but there has always been a segment of buyers who like the individuality of the Volvo brand. The V60 is the latest model that is designed to appeal to people who prefer Swedish design over German or Japanese, and although this V60 is an estate, it’s certainly no longer the boxy affair like the Volvo estates of old.
The exterior design of the V60 is familiar, as it’s been around for a while. However despite this, our car in ‘Rebel Blue’, and with the R-Design body styling, was a real head-turner – something that usually can’t be said about estates. Of course this isn’t like the old Volvo estates – it’s no longer big and square, instead it’s more sporty-looking – which means that you don’t get a huge boot, but it’s still very practical – and better looking than the saloon.
The interior is a pleasant place to be overall, although there are some fiddly buttons in the centre console.
It’s under the bonnet where the real advances have been made; this new D4 diesel engine, with an 8-Speed Geartronic transmission, combines 181hp and 65.7mpg. These are two figures that few rivals can get close to.
The V60 is refined, smooth, relaxed and comfortable, especially on the motorway, where it makes an excellent cruiser. It feels more like a petrol engine than a diesel (apart from the large reserves of diesel torque) and you can easily find yourself travelling much faster than you think, as it’s such a well-insulated place.
However at lower speeds and in lower gears the 8-Speed Geartronic transmission can be CVT-like, resulting in quite a revvy experience. This does settle down at higher speeds. There are steering-wheel mounted gear shift paddles (a £150 option) if you want to override the automatic changes.
The V60 has a comfortable ride, but with front-wheel drive, it ultimately doesn’t have the chassis dynamics of some rear-wheel drive rivals, and of course it’s susceptible to torque steer.
The satnav is controlled by buttons on the centre console – this is fiddly compared to a central iDrive-type controller, which is still easier to use than most other systems – including touch screens.
Resetting the fuel economy read-out involves pressing a button hidden behind the steering wheel (for a long time), which isn’t the most user-friendly position.
The official combined economy figure of the V60 D4 R-Design with an 8-Speed Geartronic transmission is 65.7mpg. The best we achieved was an indicated 82.6mpg on a very long, flat 50mph stretch of the M6. At 60 mph we managed 70.4mpg. These results show that the V60 is capable of seriously high mpg if driven carefully. Overall, after a week with the car around the UK, we achieved an average of 49.2mpg. This is impressive for the mixed/high speed driving that was undertaken.
The economy also results in a long driving range. In 2011 we drove a Volvo V60 from the UK to Austria on one tank of fuel. We’re confident that this new V60 could repeat that challenge. Of course it would be better to take the manual version, which is more economical, returning 72.4mpg. If you want even more economy then don’t specify the R-Design styling – the basic model returns an impressive 74.3mpg.
The basic price of the V60 D4 R-Design Nav 8-Speed Geartronic is £32,095. However our test car had a number of options including Driver Support Pack (£1,900); 8-Speed Geartronic Transmission (£1,550); Winter Pack with Active Bending Lights (£1,150); Park Assist Pilot (£850); Security Pack (£700); Power Driver’s Seat (£600); Volvo on Call (£550); Rebel Blue Paint (£330); Auto Folding Mirrors & Ground Lights (£225); Heated Steering Wheel (£200); Rain Sensor (£155); and Gear Shift Paddles (£150); taking the total price to a fairly substantial £40,455.
The model range includes the petrol T3 and T6; and the diesel D2, D3, D4 and D5. There’s also the highly impressive Volvo V60 Plug-in Hybrid, with an official combined economy figure of 155mpg.
It should be noted that we’ve also driven the V60 Polestar, which is an amazingly well sorted car – even if its focus is more about performance than economy.
The Volvo V60 D4 R-Design Nav 8-Speed Geartronic is very likeable, and it’s an easy to car to live with. Its key selling point is the way its new engine combines 181hp and 65.7mpg, equating to 112g/km CO2 (or 74.3mpg/99g/km with manual transmission and without R-Design styling). However it’s also practical and, especially in R-Design guise with its Rebel Blue paint job, it’s a good-looking car. The interior is a nice environment, even if some of the controls could be better from an ergonomic point of view. The V60 D4 gets a Green Car Guide rating of 8 out of 10.