The Volvo V60’s quiet cabin and comfy seats make it an extremely relaxing car on the motorway, but its optional automatic gearbox is below par
The Volvo V60 is available with a choice of two diesels and one petrol.
The engine you should consider is the 150hp D3 diesel. Despite having less power than the T5 petrol, you’re unlikely to ever feel it’s left wanting and, unlike in the petrol, you don’t have to work it hard to get the best from it. However, when you accelerate hard, it’s hard to mask the loud diesel clatter.
The Volvo’s optional Pilot Assist autonomous driving system is a bit like having your own chauffeur hidden behind the dashboard
That’s a price worth paying for the D3’s excellent fuel economy, which means you can expect to return more than 60mpg, whether you go for the manual or automatic gearbox.
If you plan to fill the V60’s boot to the brim on a weekly basis, go for the D4 diesel that uses the same engine as the 150hp D3, but tuned to 190hp. The D4 should return almost identical fuel economy to the D3 which is impressive when you consider the D4 accelerates from 0-62mph in a spritely 7.9 seconds.
The T5 is even quicker. It makes 250hp out of a 2.0-litre petrol engine and really makes the V60 fly, but it feels a bit overkill in the otherwise relaxed Volvo. It’s slightly racy engine note doesn’t help its case but if you want a quick petrol-powered V60 it’s not a bad choice.
Unfortunately, the eight-speed automatic gearbox is slow to respond when you want a quick burst of acceleration which can be frustrating in the middle of a congested roundabout. The automatic does indeed match the relaxed character of the Volvo V60, but the standard manual is satisfying to use still with precise, short throws and a light clutch.
The Volvo V60 feels most at home on the motorway, where its quiet cabin makes it a relaxing place to sit. Wind noise is almost non-existent, and road noise is barely loud enough to register. It’s also pretty smooth over bumpy roads, provided you have opted for a modest wheel size.
If your daily driving involves a lot of long trips, you can turn the comfort up a couple of notches by adding the V60’s optional Intellisafe Pro Pack. This includes Pilot assist and adaptive cruise control, which allow the V60 to brake, accelerate and steer itself on the motorway – as long as you keep your hands on the steering wheel.
It lowers the level of concentration you need when driving, making long drives less stressful as a result. The pack looks like even better value when you consider it also includes a blind spot warning system and rear collision mitigation, which will apply the brakes if you reverse out into oncoming traffic.
That’s not to say the Volvo isn’t a car you’ll happily drive yourself. There’s plenty of grip, very little body roll and the sort of poise you don’t usually expect from a Volvo. Sure, the V60 isn’t quite as much fun to drive as a BMW 3 Series, but then it’s more comfortable.
Fitted with adaptive dampers the Volvo V60 can be made fairly comfortable even if a Mercedes C-Class edges it still. Stick the adaptive dampers in Dynamic mode and they make the V60 too stiff to actually enjoy – it starts to fidget and feel bumpy even on fairly smooth roads.
The large pillars at the front and rear of the car give you a couple of blinds spots to contend with, but squeezing into tight spaces isn’t too hard, though, because all models come with rear parking sensors (Inscription models and above also get them at the front), but if you want to make low-speed manoeuvring a bit easier, it’s worth considering the optional 360-degree camera.