I was really looking forward to spending half a year with the V60, but the music stopped recently and I was left holding the keys to a new long-termer, with Iain Dooley left to take the stylish Swede. As a result, I got just four months with the best-looking car on our fleet, and I’m missing it already.
I’ve never run a family car that gets so many positive comments and admiring glances; double takes are the norm when I drive it in town. But the beauty isn’t only skin deep, as the Volvo is also good to drive. I’ve previously mentioned that our D3 has ample performance which would theoretically make the D4 redundant, but an industry colleague insists that the extra 40bhp of the higher-powered car (148bhp vs 188bhp) is immediately noticeable. Over the 6,000 miles that we’ve run it, I’ve never considered our D3 to be underpowered though.
As an all-round package, dynamically the Volvo is very appealing. The firm ride previously reported here isn’t terrible, but there’s room for improvement and that’s also true of the eight-speed automatic transmission. While the changes are smooth, there’s an initial hesitation when the throttle is floored, as the electronics try to catch up. It’s especially noticeable from a standing start and while the effects can be masked by switching from Comfort mode to Dynamic, you can’t eradicate this hesitation altogether. By moving to Dynamic, the car holds on to the gears longer, which presumably doesn’t help with fuel economy; we’ve kept our car in Comfort mode almost exclusively because when the car is restarted it always reverts back to this mode.
As you’d expect, the Volvo is crammed with safety technology, and in the main it works pretty well. The autonomous emergency braking has thrown a wobbly on three occasions, each time flashing a warning on the windscreen and making annoying bleeping sounds. Only once has it applied the brakes in anger, but I was able to over-ride things by stamping on the throttle. Bizarrely, the one time that it applied the brakes was on a deserted single-track road in Scotland, with nothing in sight to trigger the system. Other than this one hiccup, the safety systems have behaved themselves – by which I mean that they haven’t gone off when they shouldn’t, rather than they have gone off when they should. The adaptive cruise control can be fooled on the motorway, by cars in different lanes. Indicate to overtake a vehicle and the V60 can take you very close to that vehicle as you wait for the next lane to become clear, ready to move into it. But other than that, the systems are unobtrusive, as hopefully Iain Dooley will continue to find out. More from him in the next issue, as the Volvo V60’s lucky new custodian.
Date arrived 12th April 2019
Fuel economy 45.6-51.4mpg (combined) 45.8mpg (on test)
In some rivals, to activate or adjust the numerous safety systems you have to navigate multiple menus, but not here; it’s all in one place, so it’s easy to see at a glance.
We managed just 5,200 miles before the dashboard flashed up that the adblue tank needed to be topped up. There was a countdown of 1,660 miles before the car wouldn’t start.