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Volvo V60 Polestar review (2014-2016) - can a Volvo estate really be exciting? - Ride and handling

Rare and rapid, the Volvo V60 Polestar is a fine alternative to German performance machines

Evo rating
Price
from £49,665
  • Subtle, well-executed performance car
  • Engine lacks charisma, plays it a little too safe

This is the Volvo’s weakest area, in that the handling never transcends the good and becomes brilliant, while the ride is always on the firm side. Neither the road-holding nor compliance are bad, of course, it’s just that this is an area where some competitor vehicles strike a better balance between the two disciplines.

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The spec sheet of the V60 Polestar is mouth-watering. Öhlins adjustable dampers are fitted to the Volvo, while a carbon-fibre reinforced front strut brace is included under the bonnet. Polestar also makes the top mounts all round stiffer, as well as the tie blade bushings. And to ensure nearly two tonnes of hard-charging Swede can be reined back in again, the front brake discs are huge 371mm items gripped by six-piston callipers.

On the move the first thing that strikes you is very heavy steering. It almost verges on feeling like it lacks power assistance, which promises a lot in terms of feedback once up to speed. Sadly, such nuanced information remains beyond the Volvo’s rack and thus never materialises, although we will at least concede it remains a consistent and direct set-up whether you’re pottering around town or taking on a back road.

The Polestar-tweaked four-wheel drive system deserves credit, however, as this V60 has mammoth traction out of bends. You can get on the power very soon after the apex and not fear the nose washing wide into speed-sapping understeer. Again, this positive comes with a smaller negative, which is that the rear end doesn’t feel a particularly active part of proceedings. Throttle adjustability is not part of the Volvo’s repertoire. Body control, however, is excellent at all times, something to be commended given its weight.

That weight leads to a pleasant ride, if one that’s always a little busy. The V60 Polestar deals with large bumps and ripples in the tarmac reasonably well but occupants will feel a lot of the road surface a lot of the time – and that sensation doesn’t dissipate on the motorway. At no point is the Volvo harsh, but the seats are definitely a bigger contributor to passenger comfort over long distances than the dampers.

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