Volvo V60

Volvo V60 D4 In­scrip­tion Pro £40,860

Top Gear (Malaysia) - - Contents -

WE SAY: VOLVO STICKS

RES­O­LUTELY TO ITS USPs. AND WHY NOT?

Been watch­ing some lovely old Volvo-es­tate promo films. In faded-Ek­tachrome colours, a sa­fari-jack­eted Swedish dad takes the ex­tended fam­ily for a lake­side pic­nic in the PV444 Duett, Amer­i­can team-moms do the school run in 240s, and of course gun­dog-own­ing hearties and tweed­capped an­tique deal­ers fill their 760s. But the pre­vi­ous V60 wasn’t like that. It was a cute Fo­cus-based ‘lifestyle wagon’. Chances of it swal­low­ing a chest of draw­ers or a retriever: zero.

Well, the new V60 is a proper Volvo es­tate.

It’s 10cm longer in the wheel­base than be­fore. At 4.8m long, it shades the Merc C-Class and

Audi A4 es­tates. That means oceans more rear-seat and boot room. Prices start at £31,550.

Volvo es­tate: let’s talk boot first. It’s as ver­sa­tile as you’d hope. Hooks and lash­ing points lie around the edge, and more stor­age hides un­der the floor. An op­tional pack adds a flip-up di­vider, stretchy net, pow­ered fold­ing re­leases, and a mains socket. But there’s nowhere to store the boot-cover blind when you’re not us­ing it. Duh.

Hav­ing shifted to Volvo’s big-car SPA plat­form, the V60 is a much more so­phis­ti­cated car now. If you’re a spot­ter, the creases em­pha­sis­ing the arches have more of a sweep to them than in the V90. For the in­side, the de­sign­ers’ Scandi chill pill still hasn’t worn off. It’s all soft ma­te­ri­als and colours in their char­ac­ter­is­tic fur­ni­ture style.

And they still do ter­rific front seats. The stereo menu runs from good through great (Har­man Kar­don) to epic (Bow­ers & Wilkins).

The dash is, as al­ways from these peo­ple, dom­i­nated by a big high-res­o­lu­tion screen. All ver­sions have traf­fic-aware sat­nav. But the screen is called on to do slightly too many things. Menu logic is pretty in­tu­itive, but it’s over-hi­er­ar­chi­cal. From the home screen it takes five fin­ger jabs just to ad­just the stereo’s tre­ble. CarPlay and An­droid Auto are op­tional. Cli­mate-con­trol is also in­te­grated into the screen, so even ad­just­ing air dis­tri­bu­tion or tem­per­a­ture has you set­ting off into the menus.

Still, if the screen dis­tracts you, the car will do its best to stop you crash­ing by de­ploy­ing its vast range of ac­tive safety in­ter­ven­tions. Volvo’s stan­dard City Safety doesn’t just de­tect ve­hi­cles, peo­ple and cy­clists. Its sen­sors are now cal­i­brated to re­act to large an­i­mals (since few of our cities have roam­ing moose, know that it also works be­yond town lim­its). And, in a first, it’ll also do the very quick cal­cu­la­tions needed to recog­nise

the rapid clos­ing speeds of a head-on col­li­sion and ap­ply use­ful brak­ing to soften, although not avoid, a ghastly crash.

It’s all 2.0-litre, 4cyl en­gines. For the UK we get two diesels (D3 and D4) and a 250bhp T5 petrol, all with FWD only. Air sus­pen­sion is an op­tion, but the cars we tested have the stan­dard springs, with the £750 adap­tive damp­ing.

You’re not sup­posed to drive the V60 like your hair’s on fire. Not that it com­plains if you do – it’s ac­tu­ally very well com­posed when you press on. It con­tains its body roll well, there’s lit­tle un­der­steer and the steer­ing lets you place it with ac­cu­racy. But it doesn’t goad you on. There’s lit­tle of the en­gage­ment and in­ter­ac­tion you’d get from a 3-Se­ries or even a C-Class. It’s about the sort of pre­dictable sta­bil­ity that all Volvos wear like an iron shield of in­vin­ci­bil­ity.

You prob­a­bly want to avoid the 150bhp D3 tune. Even the 180bhp D4 strug­gles on A-road over­takes. But it’s quiet – qui­eter than in the 90-se­ries cars – and has a nice broad power­band. The eight-speed auto, op­tional in the diesels, is slow-wit­ted and ham-fisted. I took con­trol my­self. For that there’s a plus-mi­nus gate on the lever, but no pad­dles ex­cept in the R-De­sign ver­sion.

Re­lax. the V60’s ride is de­cently sup­ple and quiet, if per­haps not quite a match for a C-Class’s un­flus­tered con­sis­tency. It’s the best yet of these SPA Volvos be­cause new en­gine mounts (to be rolled out to the big­ger cars) con­trol en­gine-shake over high-fre­quency cor­ru­ga­tions more deftly.

On the mo­tor­way, you can (if you opt for it) be as­sisted by radar cruise and the steer-help­ing – but def­i­nitely hands-on – ‘Pi­lot As­sist’ fea­ture. It holds lanes more smoothly and tena­ciously than when it was launched on the XC90. It’s try­ing to help you. Very Volvo. PAUL HOR­RELL

“You’re not sup­posed to drive the V60 like your hair’s on fire”V60 SPECIFICATION1969cc, 4cyl twin-turbo, FWD, 190bhp, 400Nm4.7L/100km, 125g/km CO 0–100kph in 7.9secs, 220kph 1730kgVER­DICT: Lovely in­te­rior: roomy, use­ful, comfy – and ridicu­lously safe. But maybe you want a car that isn’t quite so re­lax­ing.

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