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Volvo V60

Introduction

Long, quite boxy and beige. Volvo's back to it's roots, big time.

Volvo is bringing the V60 to the UK with sales beginning this month. It's a long and boxy thing with wonderful proportions. It isn't quite square like an 850, and that's a good thing. Dare I say, this is the best-looking new estate on the market. I know, I know. I said that about the Kia Proceed. But, after seeing this and looking into it properly, I think this has snatched that title.

(You're still great, Proceed!)

The Specs

Unlike brother S60, this Volvo will have diesel engines. It makes sense. When you've got half of Ikea in the back, you'll want the pulling power to efficiently transport you home. Unlike a petrol, the diesel V60 will quite comfortably take a load of weight and accelerate you forward regardless. That's the beauty of torque. It's quite a relentless force when you think about it.

In terms of diesel, there'll be two for the UK. Both of these, as with all new Volvos, will be 2.0 units. The D3 model comes with 150bhp and 320nm of torque while the D4 bumps those numbers up to 190bhp and 400nm of torque. Regardless of the one you choose, that's a great deal of grunt if you ask me. They are only four-cylinder, however. Volvo made the decision to stick with four-cylinders in it's new generation of cars. I'll always miss that five-cylinder 2.4 litre D5. Always.

The D3 and D4 will have you at 60mph in 9.9 and 7.9 seconds respectively. And, apparently, both can achieve aroudn 65mpg. Of course, you should expect far less than that. Reality is far different from the laboratory. You can have both cars with either a six-speed manual gearbox or an 8-speed automatic. I'd recommend the automatic if I had to make a suggestion. The new Volvo V60 reflects a far more premium package than the outgoing model and thus I think a manual would spoil the experience.

In terms of petrol power, you can have the V60 with the T5 2.0 four-cylinder with 250bhp. It has a claimed 45mpg in terms of the economy figure, but it'll be less than that. Again, never trust what the manufaturer says. The T5 comes with the eight-speed automatic transmission as standard, too. No information on performance for the T5 just yet, but I'll be sure to update this. I expect under seven seconds for the 0-60mph time.

A T4 with less power will come in a few months alongside a T6-Hybrid joining the lineup with 335bhp! We won't be getting the mighty powerful 385bhp T8 in the UK, though.

Technology

No wonder it got a five-star NCAP score. Did the dummies even feel that?

Volvo is notorious for one thing: Safety.

Safety technology on the new generation of Volvo's is quite very good. Their 'IntelliSafe' system comes with a vast array of standard features. The list brings a lot to attention, such as Pilot Assist. This is Volvo's semi-autonimous technology that allows for adaptive cruise control with steering assist. Volvo strictly says that this is an assistance feature and not a permanent and autonomous safety you can rely on for highway driving and, the driver is responsible at all times.

From a vast array of two-stage airbags, passenger side-airbags to the 'SIPS' system. The latter is simply a side impact protection system which uses the strong steel framework to send the energy around the car's body instead of directly into the passenger space. Volvo says that this system works with the side-airbags to protect all of the critically affected passengers. This has to be a family car, right?

The front airbags for the driver and front-passenger are intelligent. The systems calculate the force of the impact and match the ferocity of the airbags explosion to correctly bring the occupants the safest level of inflation. It is even capable of not deploying the airbags at all if the impact is low enough, utilising the pre-tensioners on the seatbelts and the 'WHIPS' whiplash system that Volvo innovated. It means that the seat will move with the occupant in the event of a collision to protect the neck and eliminate or reduce the effects of whiplash.

They really weren't kidding when they said they won't see fatalities in their new cars by 2020. I mean, in the UK occupants of a Volvo XC90 have never died so, they're really serious about this.

Styling

Familiar to the V90. Thor has your back here, too.

Suttle differences to other models mean this is just as good-looking as the rest of them.

I think Volvo make some of the best cars right now in terms of aesthetics. It's pure Sweden wherever you look. New, minimalist and yet striking at the same time. It's lines are gentle and there isn't really anything extremely sharp about it, but it looks extremely dynamic. The Thor Hammer daytime running lights are something that Volvo really should be proud of. They're bright and bring the exterior design up, big time.

The images feature an R-Design model which, I believe, is the best looking out of all the trims you can have. It has a nicely proportioned front end, with the more dynamic front bumper as compared to Momentum or Inscription trim. I enjoy the chrome outlining of the front-side intakes as well as the stylish grille. Volvo have hidden away all of the safety kit very well and it isn't anywhere near as visible as before.

The side profile is fantastic. At just under 4.8m, this thing is long. However, this is Volvo going back to their roots and implementing such length just adds to the experience. It's also quite wide. Mirrors included, it's just over 2m wide. This gives it a little difficulty on a Cornish country road. But, it also makes the thing have real presence. This is especially the case if you pair it with 20-inch alloys. My neighbour has an S90 R-Design with those specs and, let me tell you, it stands out. V60 defaces A4. And the A4 Avant is a good-looking thing.

The pair of rear lights comes with (Surprise Surprise) LEDs. Their design is smooth and properly Scandinavian. Pairing these with the spoiler gives us a very pretty rear-end indeed. It certainly looks beefy with those reasonably sizeable exhausts, too. Though, they're probably fake. The whole affair, whether you look at it from any angle, is square. But, it's a very smooth square. So, not a square. Damn it. Anyhow, the point I'm trying to make is that this car is very elegant and calm. But, at the same time, it features dynamic additions. However, these dynamic additions may end up spoiling visibility. Notice that the rear and rear-side windows aren't very big and may allow for a limited view out. You'll need to spec the rear-parking camera, I think.

Interior

City Weave Charocal/Blond. This is a must have interior.

I enjoy leather. It's a luxurious, premium and comfortable affair. However, if you're the sort of person who cares about animal rights you'll be happy to know that the standard car in Momentum form has a no-cost option that is the City Weave Charocal/Blond upholstery. I think it's absolutely fabulous. Unfortunately, I think this is half-leather with the 'City Weave' being the cloth that dominates the seats and features on the doors.

I'm not one of those animal rights people but, I would absolutely consider this upholstery over leather. It's really awesome, adding to the minimalist and environmentally-friendly look. This is definitely something that tries to give age to leather. And, it's not the only thing because most of the interior interactions you make are digital. This would be the start/stop button, the dials and the infotainment.

Volvo have chosen to go for the touchscreen route. You might want to store a cloth somewhere, because they attract fingerprints. Like, quite a lot of fingerprints too. The Swedes have upped the processors so that the screen is largely lag-free, obeying every input that you make. It's quite an easy system to operate if we look back at the XC90, with a great graphic on that 12.3 incher. It's quite neat, because in this day and age we're all used to touchscreens so I can see why they would do this.

The dials are fully-digital in all V60s. They're simple to read and this may have something to do with Volvo having one of the nicest fonts out there. In fact, it's so good I'm pretty sure they've been using it since the 1990s. I wasn't even around then! You can configure all sorts, from navigation to different graphics depending on driving modes and personal selection. It's quite customisable these days. You can control these dials with steering-wheel controls. That goes for certain obvious features such as the volume, too.

Conclusion

Volvo has come out of hiding and revealed to the world a wonderful estate car. It takes a page from Volvo of old with a boxy but modern design. It features a beautiful interior that features minimalistic detail and Scandinavian quality that is absolutely boast-worthy. With a claim to feature more standard equipment than any rival, the V60 is putting itself on the map alongside the big players (A4, C-Class and 3-Series) with promising beginnings.

Will it suceed? Probably. Volvo are aiming for far more sales with V60. Unlike it's sibling, it still features diesel power which I think is a sensible decision. Estate cars need that pulling power and I have no doubt in my mind that most sales of the V60 will feature the diesel engine.

It delivers on design, safety and standard equipment while also providing sufficient performance and fuel economy. My conclusion is simple. Don't spec the manual, consider the City Weave Charocal upholstery (if you're sticking to Momentum trim) and go R-Line. Or, stay standard at Momentum or step up to Inscription if you're older. Because, R-Line suspension is supposed to be quite a bit stiffer and that won't exactly help your bad back, will it.

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