The V60’s engine range received a major overhaul halfway through the model’s life with petrol models being ditched, largely, in favour of a revised diesel line-up. As a result only the T4 offers petrol power, while the D2, D3 and D4 use diesel, and the D6 plug-in hybrid combines a diesel engine with an electric motor.
As with most competitors, Volvo uses turbochargers to boost the performance of its petrol models, but not at the expense of running costs and the T3 is a case in point. With 0-62mph taking 8.7 seconds it never feels overly slow and while its top speed of 127mph is largely irrelevant to most people, it does mean the car has plenty more to give at motorway speeds. Runnings costs are pretty well contained for a large petrol-powered car, with fuel economy of 48.7mpg possible and CO2 emission of 135g/km.
The D4 diesel is the most modern unit in the range, providing the best balance of performance and economy
Really, though, you would be mad not to choose one of the Volvo V60 diesel models, the cheapest of which is the D2, which is capable of nearly 80mpg. Its low running costs are definitely tempting, but the performance certainly isn’t and with 118hp (0-62mph takes 11.5 seconds) it can feel ponderous.
The 148hp D3 shaves more than two seconds of the D2’s 0-62mph time and returns fuel economy of 76.3mpg.
But it’s the D4 that’s the star of the show. With 187hp it can get from 0-62mph in 7.7 seconds and keeps on going until a top speed of 140mph, yet somehow manages to return fuel economy of 70.6mpg and CO2 emissions of 104g/km. It’s one of the best diesels offered in the class, never mind the V60 range.
That leaves just the D6 diesel-electric hybrid model and of the entire range it’s the hardest to recommend. True its ultra low emissions mean it is exempt from London’s congestion charge, but its huge list price negates the car’s low running costs for most drivers.
While the V60 is no rival to the BMW 3-series in terms of handling, the stiffer R-Design version is pretty adept when it comes to faster cornering, but suffers from less comfortable suspension – a direct result of the model’s larger wheels and stiffer suspension.
Although some models are available with four-wheel drive the majority are front-wheel drive and can’t offer the cornering grip or sense of engagement offered by rear-wheel-drive models such as the Mercedes C-Class and BMW 3 Series.
Where the Volvo V60 really excels is in motorway driving. There, its suspension doesn’t suffer from the crashing over bumps experienced at lower speeds and the interior is extremely quiet. Combine these strongpoints with the car’s superbly comfortable seats, which seem to eliminate backache, and it’s easy to see why Volvos remain so popular with traffic police.