A KitchenAid benchtop mixer, a Hoover, the mighty Sharpie. Objects so synonymous with their key function they go on to represent not just a singularity, but the collective. The Volvo estate is one of these objects, saddled with an association of practicality, yes, but also a rather staid image. This is not something you might say about Volvos now.
That’s because over the last five years, Volvo has been shredding that stigma into a million neatly arranged pieces by building impressive new products and employing bold strategies in its desire to become a global automotive leader. The new V60’s return to the brand’s heartland might cause you to question this theory, but the V60 is perhaps the most acute example yet of Volvo’s overarching transformation into the shrewd, highly detailed and ambitious brand it has become in 2019.
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So the ideology is changing, but does the execution of the latest Volvo V60 appeal on enough levels to attract a different audience, and entertain us when a road gets twisty?
Volvo V60: in detail
> Performance and 0-60mph time - Perhaps not the core deliverables for the V60, performance is competitive, if not totally stirring
> Engine and gearbox - All models are powered by a 2-litre petrol or diesel engine, which is then turbocharged, supercharged or electrified depending on application
> Ride and handling - The underlying chassis is not really an entertainer in any form – call it highly competent
> MPG and running costs - the diesels actually hit some extremely impressive numbers, but the petrols are merely average
> Interior and tech - Volvo interiors have long been beautifully built and designed, the V60 is no different, even makes an A4 feel dull and plasticky
> Design - There might be a hint of copy and paste going on with the V60 and its siblings, but look closely and it’s wonderfully executed and detailed
Prices, specs and rivals
Alongside Volvo’s rise in stature is its pricing, aligning itself with the big German three. Like those cars, models are defined by both engine option and trim. Not all trims are available on all engine options, but it is a fairly clear and logical way to structure the range. Trims are split into three main levels – Momentum, Inscription and R-Design – with the latter being the pseudo-sporty trim line.
Prices for the V60 open at £34,385 for the D3 Momentum fitted with a manual transmission. Upgrade to the auto and you’ll need to find a further £1560. The more powerful D4 is only an extra £1000, and we’d suggest its greater urge is worth the extra outlay. From here the range is all petrol-powered, with T4 and T5 models priced at £34,685 and £36,685 respectively. A range-topping plug-in T8, with an equivalent 394bhp power figure, will soon join the range in the UK at £50,905.
All models are well equipped, picking up leather trim, Volvo’s Sensus infotainment system, LED head and tail lights, 18-inch alloy wheels and all-round park assist. Distinguishing R-Design models are more aggressive exterior design elements, tinted windows and a lowered suspension set-up.
The upgrade to R-Design trim (standard on T8 models) is a further £2350 on top of Momentum trim cars, while Inscription models are £900 more again, losing the ‘sporty’ features, but replacing them with chrome detailing, Nappa leather trim and a selection of convenience features added to the already comprehensive standard equipment list.
Using a D4 R-Design automatic as reference, its £36,865 price is only just below that of the competition. For instance, the equivalently powered Audi A4 40TDi S line Avant is priced from £37,045, and the Mercedes C220d AMG Line estate £37,945. BMW’s next-generation 3-series Touring is yet to be released, but at only £100 less than the Volvo in 320d M Sport saloon form, we’d suggest an equivalent price point of closer to £38k when it arrives later this year.