Think Volvo, and almost inevitably the first thing that comes to mind is an estate car. Well, maybe not for youngsters, but for those of us with decades behind the wheel anyway. Volvo has long been synonymous with its estate cars. The first, the Duett, was launched 66 years ago in 1953. It was the pioneer in a long line of 18 Volvo estate cars since then. They include the revered Amazon of the 1960s, the ES 1800 that became glamorous as the car driven by Roger Moore in ‘The Saint’ television series, and the 240 that was launched in the 1970s and stayed in production for almost 20 years.
Throughout the second half of the 20th century, Volvo estates enjoyed an enthusiastic reputation with their owners, seemingly oblivious to the car’s brick-like aerodynamics. Never mind the looks, they were big strong cars with a high reputation for safety, long before other manufacturers took it as seriously. They were also roomy load-luggers that were capable tow-cars, and so gained popularity with the caravanning fraternity.
So what if they weren’t the prettiest things on the road? Volvo estates were lifestyle cars long before such a term even existed. So they sold in substantial numbers, almost six million of them around the world since that first 1950s Duett. One in three Volvos produced since the company was founded 90 years ago has been an estate car. Fast forward to today, and visually our crisp white Volvo V60 has come such a long way from its brick-like ancestors. Sleek, sculpted and elegantly proportioned, it is arguably the best-looking estate car currently on the road. Well, to my eyes anyway.
This month’s motoring has been largely urban and suburban driving, with one shortish motorway trip, so I expected the fuel consumption to be adversely affected. The figures show that it’s slightly down, but not by much, and that probably reflects a more relaxed driving style of late than my usual deadline-chasing urgency.
Up until now the V60 has behaved flawlessly, with no unwelcome surprises. So I was a bit flummoxed when the dashboard touchscreen suddenly went black in the middle of a trip into London. Nothing I tried would persuade it to restart while I was on the move. So, pull in, switch off, get out and lock the car, count five and unlock it, start the engine, and hey presto! The screen restored itself to normal behaviour. It seems to have been a software glitch of which I’m already aware of with this system on other models, but hadn’t actually experienced myself before. Hopefully it was just a one-off. There’s so much to like about the V60 that I’ll excuse that one little aberration.
Date arrived 22nd November 2018
Fuel economy 62.9mpg (NDEC combined) 47.3mpg (on test)
The signature ‘Thor’s hammer’ design in the headlights that so crisply identifies the car’s Scandinavian origin.
The dashboard touchscreen suddenly turned itself off on a trip – a known software glitch – and would only reactivate by stopping the car, switching off and restarting.