Ed Stephens enjoys this happy marriage of coupé looks and estate practicality.
WHEN Volvo decided to build an estate version of its popular S60 saloon it was determined it would be different.
This was to be an estate car for people who don’t like estate cars. For those who do the Swedish company reasoned there was its larger, squarer V70 model.
And so the V60 Sports wagon was born. A sleek estate with the appearance of a coupe.
But looks can be deceptive. For although it’s got curvy lines the V60 can accommodate a generous amount of luggage.
This is a well thought out, sensibly designed estate with lines which are pleasing to the eye and hard not to like.
When it comes to carrying long loads the V60 is particularly accommodating too. The rear seatbacks divide in a 40/20/40 split so you have a variety of possible permutations allowing you to carry long loads and still have some back seats occupied.
Best of all the seatbacks fold down at the touch of a button – which also automatically drops the headrests. And I particularly liked the fact that when you open the rear hatch at night the car’s rear lights come on automatically – warning other motorists that you are standing in the road.
My test car was the 1.6-litre, 115bhp DRIVe diesel – a car aimed at drivers seeking economy combined with respectable performance.
Having covered around 450 miles in a week the 67-litre fuel tank was still almost half full and the on-board computer told me there was some 285 miles left in the tank, which is pretty impressive for a large car
The DRIVe uses a stop/start system to help extend its range but even with it switched off it can be surprisingly frugal.
The 1.6-litre engine is mated to a super smooth six-speed manual gearbox and at the legal limit on the motorway the needle on the rev counter registers just over 2000 revs.
Low gear acceleration is adequate rather than remarkable but at higher speeds it’s more responsive and is a particularly flexible motorway cruiser, responding instantly to any demand for more power.
What’s also impressive about the V60 is its build quality. It has a sporting yet solid feel to it. Doors close easily with the minimum of force and it’s remarkably quiet – ensuring relaxed motoring.
Sporting leather seats which hold you well on corners, an optional extra, were on my test car and were heated, a bonus in winter time.
On the road the V60 offers a comfortable yet sporting ride and has pin sharp handling.
And despite the tapering roofline which gives it its coupe good looks this estate offers good headroom and respectable shoulder and legroom.
All in all the V60 is a great all-round package and one which – as far as running costs are concerned – is easy on the pocket.
Volvo V60 DRIVe
Mechanical: 115 bhp, from 1560cc, four cylinder diesel engine driving front wheels via a six speed manual gearbox.
Max speed: mph 118
0-62 mph: secs 11.3
Combined mpg: 62.8
CO2 emissions: 119 g/km
Warranty: 60,000 miles/three years