Tuesday, 25 September 2012

REVIEW - Volvo V60 SE Nav

It is by no means a secret that I have a soft spot for Volvos. I think they're excellent all-rounders offering everything you could want, from sport and performance to luxury and style. So it was without a slight hesitation that I said yes to the opportunity to test one of the latest installments. Called the V60, it is the estate form of the S60, and is a mid-range estate. The V70 is bigger, but then not everybody needs a car that big. For those who want an extra bit of practicality, the V60 is well worth considering.

Looks - 9/10

The Volvo's of years gone by were big (often square) lumps that never offered much in the way of styling, with a few exceptions of course. Now though Volvo's are modern, stylish and luxurious all in one, from the outside right the through to beautiful interiors. There is now a lot offered in the way of styling.

Take the outside od the V60. There are sweeping lines and beautiful curves, in a shape that fits in with the modern world. From the daytime running lights at the front, to the stylish 'shark-fin' antenna, and the glass hatch at the back, this car shows thoughtful design and is applied in a subtle yet effective way.

My test car came with the larger 18" alloys which were a nice touch but by no means a necessity. If looks mean a lot to you then I highly recommend the RDesign model, as this has a bodykit, twin exhausts, nicer alloys and a cracking leather trim. This would without a doubt score a 10 here, so bear that in mind if you look for one.

On the inside, you will find a host of lovely materials, from the soft leather of the chunky steering wheel to the dashboard and 'floating' centre console, the cabin is a wonderful place to be. What's more, everything is solid and sturdy and the whole car feels well put together; crucial to get that luxury feel.

Handling/Performance - 8/10

The engine in my test model V60 was the 2.0-litre, 5-cylinder diesel unit which I hold in very high regard. Being a D3 however, it only has 136PS and 350Nm. This is fine, but when you consider that the exact same engine with the exact same emissions and the exact same quoted economy is available as a D4 with 163PS and 400Nm, I certainly know which one I'd choose.

Don't get me wrong though, the D3 is no slouch. Poke the right pedal and you will go from  0-62mph in 10.4 seconds and on to a top speed of 127mph. Hardly glacial by any standards, and not much slower than the D4 (but slower nevertheless).

As for how that feels on the road, you soon notice a 'sweet spot' between 2000-3000 revs, and the car surges through gears. There is little need to over-rev, nor to overwork the gears, in order to get this car to get up and shift. It truly is relaxing to drive, and you always know there's a bit of something there should you need a bit more go.

When it comes to handling, the V60 is sheer brilliance. The ride is smooth yet firm, and that makes it great on both motorways and A-Roads alike. The steering is perfectly weighted and pin-sharp, and the driving position as a whole is excellent. You get a great perspective and can put the car exactly where you want it on the road effortlessly.

Economy - 10/10

 Until more recent times, buying a big luxury car meant that you suffered at the pumps. It was assumed that people who could afford the luxury weren't at all bothered about the running costs. This is still the case in some extremes (think Chelsea Tractors) but times have shifted and a lot more people care about keeping running costs low. The V60 could not do any more to help you try and save. It offers you start-stop technology and this helps it boast figures of 62.8mpg (combined) and 114g/km CO2. This means that you will go far on a single tank, and also pay a mere £30 for your road tax. That's extremely impressive when you consider that this is a sizeable car with a sizeable engine, and by no means a tree-hugger. I can't give the V60 any less than a 10. More impressive would be the D4, as you get the same mpg and CO2 as well as the extra power. I guess I would have had to give that more than 10/10!

Practicality - 10/10

As you would expect in a car this size, practicality will never be an issue. There is ample room for front-seat passengers for a start. In the back there is room, but I wouldn't use the word vast. A lot of this does depend on how the people up front sit; as with the front seats quite far back there isn't as much room as the exterior would suggest.

The boot is a wonderful size for shopping, dogs, transporting furniture etc. If you put the rear seats down, then you will certainly not struggle for space.

The V60 is easy to live with and offers a whole host of driver aids; almost too many in fact. There is the Blind Spot Information System, auto everything, radar cruise control, driver warning system and keyless entry/go. Everything is user friendly and simple to use. Think of this as a gadget for which you don't need an instruction manual.

Fun - 8/10

This is a bit difficult here. The V60 has many elements of fun, yet there is also something missing. Yes it has the gadgets, it has the great drive and the superb styling, yet there is just not the same spark that you get from properly fun cars. I think I am being a bit harsh really. At the end of the day this is a practical family car that can put a smile on your face when you hit the A-road. Furthermore, it has everything you could possibly need to keep you entertained on a journey. For that reason, I think an 8 is a well deserved and fair all-round score for this car.

Concluding Remarks

 This car is amongst the highest scoring on Simply Motor, and is very very good at what it does. Personally I wouldn't go for the SE Nav, as for the same money you can have a sportier-looking RDesign which would be my first choice. However there is a great equipment level on the SE Nav and if sporty isn't of interest to you then you would have no complaints whatsoever. However on a final note I do think it would be worth considering the D4. The running costs aren't much different and it promises a more invigorating driving experience. Whether or not this is the case, I will one day try and find out for you!

Total Score - 45/50


  1. Nice review backed up with excellent photographs.

    I remember when Volvo's were old men's cars!

    1. So do Volvo and they're doing everything in their power to make people see that's not the case anymore. They really do offer a premium car, and also one that drives superbly!

      Wish I could take credit for the photos but unfortunately due to technical error on my part I had to go with the Volvo archive ones!