Volvo V60 D4 SE. Copenhagen to Stockholm
Back in 1990, a Hollywood movie called ‘Crazy People, starred Dudley Moore as Emory Leeson, an advertising executive who experiences a nervous breakdown. He designs a series of “truthful” advertisements, blunt and bawdy and of no use to his boss Drucker’s firm. One of his colleagues checks him into a psychiatric hospital, where Emory goes into group therapy & meets other voluntary patients. Whilst in hospital, by mistake, Emory’s advertisements get printed and the new campaigns turn out to be a tremendous success. One of these is for Volvo with the tag line” they’re boxy but they’re good.” One could argue ( I did see the film & it made me laugh,) that back in the 1990’s, Volvo’s were boxy, especially the Volvo estate & that customers bought them because they were practical & above all else safe.
Fast forward to the ‘noughties’ & Volvos designers had started to move their cars away from the traditional Swedish boxy shape & began producing sleek, curvy & attractive alternatives to BMW, Audi & Mercedes. A case in point is the Volvo V60, which ticks all of the boxes regarding looks but loses Volvo’s more traditional practicality in favour of a more pared down look both inside & out. Volvo have sensibly kept the ‘Volvo’ grille at the front & have also retained the long & slender rear lights which adorn the rear edges of the back of the car, which really finish the car off nicely. The roof line is tapered towards the rear of the car & although this makes sense from an aesthetical point of view, you do lose some rear passenger headroom.
The Germans have long been the purveyors of quality interiors in their cars, but in the V60, Volvo have come mighty close to matching this & in the case of Mercedes bettering it. The floating central console looks stunning, I remember first seeing it in an advert for the V40 starring Robert Downey junior & will really appeal to all of the architects who now don’t have Saab to buy their cars from. It may look the part, but even after a week driving the V60 I still found the smallish buttons difficult to identify, although this did lead to a fun game with my front passenger of who could find the switch first. One part of the central console that I ddi like was the climate control buttons which literally illustrate a persons outline so that you know which button to press. Very clever. There’s no such problems with the seats which are firm & comfortable & the adjustable steering column & wheel make for easy adjustment whether your 5 feet 2″ or 6 feet 4″.
Equipment is generous, including as it does black leather, SatNav, Bluetooth, DAB, climate control & front & rear parking sensors. At £32,995 one could argue that the V60 should be well equipped. However, my test car had an eye watering £8075 of extras fitted to it, including a rear parking camera, heated steering wheel, park assist pilot & Volvo on call. Personally, I think the standard car would be fine especially if your a company car driver.
All its German rivals do however, offer more carrying capacity. The Volvo does offer a 40/20/40 split rear seat instead of the usual 40/60 arrangement and a front passenger seat that will also fold flat, making it useful for those trips to the local DIY store.
My test car was the most fuel friendly in the range, the D4, which offers a brilliant combination of 99g/CO2 emissions coupled with a combined fuel economy of 74.3 mpg. In ‘Walker world,’ my family & I managed to reach the dizzying heights of 51.4 mpg in our week driving the D4, which as regular readers of CCV will know, is very impressive for my ‘Hulk-like’ right foot. We aren’t the largest family in terms of numbers, four, or size & weight, but we found the rear seats to be quite spacious & with more legroom than expected with just a little less headroom than we would have liked.
I found the cruise control simple to use & adjust to find just the right speed for my journey. Both to & from the rugby county cup final on the Wirral with 5 passengers & a dog the V60 was a pleasure to drive. Similarly, when alone I enjoyed the D4’s acceleration when overtaking, 0-62 mph in 7.2 seconds, pretty impressive for such a frugal car. There’s no discernible problem with the ride either, the V60 comfortably negotiating Traffords pot-holed tar macadam.
In a market dominated by German cars, it’s refreshing to have an alternative & the V60 is that car. It looks great, has a splendid interior, drives well, offers frugal engines & is spectacularly Swedish by design. The only negative for me is the confusing model names that Volvos range comes with. If Volvo clarify these & customers are prepared to test drive a V60 rather than just test AN Other German car, Volvo will hit the jackpot. Volvo is a well kept secret that deserves greater coverage because it really does offer something different in the market place & it’s that difference that makes me like the V60 as much as I do. It’s not boxy anymore !
A Kurt Wallander 4/5