Volvo V60 (2013-2017) review
The Volvo V60 is an estate car built to take on the likes of the BMW 3 Series Touring, Mercedes C-Class estate and much larger, but similarly priced, Skoda Superb estate.
What's not so good
Find out more about the Volvo V60 (2013-2017)
Drop into the V60’s driver’s seat and you’ll be greeted by an interior design with a distinctive Volvo flavour that mostly comes thanks to the centre console that seems to float away from the rest of the dashboard. The extremely comfortable seats that follow the contours of your back perfectly are another highlight. These points aside, though, the cabin is starting to look dated and the boot is smaller than any of its main rivals.
The V60 uses the same underpinnings as the Ford Mondeo and that is one of the most fun cars to drive in its class. The Volvo V60 is not as fun, but much more comfortable and the ride is more forgiving. Although rough roads can unsettle the car, most of the time it glides along like nicely.
There are many engines to choose from, both petrol and diesel as well as a hybrid. On one end of the spectrum is the D2 1.6-litre diesel that is very frugal and on the other is the D6 Twin Engine with a diesel-electric hybrid capable of 0-62mph in six seconds. Our pick would be the 2.0-litre D4 diesel because it’s fast enough and still very cheap to run.
The Volvo V60 is safe and well built but, oh, so boring compared to the company's latest models
One area the Volvo V60 still leads the way in is safety and it was one of the first models to come fitted with automatic emergency braking as standard. Business Edition trim is the cheapest in the range and the only one to complete with sat-nav at no extra cost.
The arrival of the D4 diesel engine has breathed new life into the V60 – offering some of the best fuel economy and performance figures in the class. Couple that to the Volvo’s distinctive interior and exterior design, comfortable seats and superb motorway manners and there’s still plenty to like about the company’s mid-sized estate.
It may not beat the rivals from Audi and Mercedes outright, but it is a non-conformist choice and the next best thing after them.
For a more in-depth look at the Volvo V60, look at the interior, practicality, driving and specifications sections of our review over the following pages. And, if you want to see what sort of offers are available on the V60 now, go to our deals page.
The Volvo V60 is great for anyone in the front seats, but headroom in the back is tight for six-footers and the boot is smaller than in many alternatives
I know size isn't everything, but I was shocked how small the V60's boot is compared to what you'll find in the alternatives
Sit in one of the Volvo V60’s front seats and you are unlikely to find much to complain about – there’s plenty of headroom and space to stretch your legs, but the car’s slopping roofline is apparent if you jump in the back. There six-footers will find headroom a real issue, although kneeroom isn’t such problem.
Cubbyholes are plentiful, though, and you’ll be pleased to find the doorbins can swallow a large bottle of water and there’s a big glovebox. That floating centre console also serves a purpose, with a storage tray hidden behind it – perfect for loose change and keys.
You might expect a huge boot capacity from a Volvo estate, but you’ll be disappointed when it comes to the V60. Its 430-litre boot is smaller than the one in the BMW 3 Series Touring (495 litres) and the Mercedes C-Class estate (490 litres) and may as well be a galaxy away from the 633 litres offered by the Skoda Superb estate. Dropping the Volvo’s rear seats doesn’t change things, with its total capacity of 1,246 litres still falling well behind that of its competitors.
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.
The D4 diesel is the most modern unit in the range, providing the best balance of performance and economy
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.
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.
The interior finds plenty of fans. Its stylish, high-quality features suit the exterior styling. Comfort levels are very good, and quality is close to the best in class.