independent

Wednesday 16 April 2014

Volvo swap boxy for foxy with super sexy new wagon

Volvo V60

The estate just got sexy – or is that 60?

Either way there's no denying that the wagon version of the executive Volvo S60 is beyond doubt the best looking and most curvaceous of all load luggers.

Think back to the old days when the Swedish car marque was regularly referred to (even in Hollywood movies) as “boxy, but safe”.

And that's exactly what they were... anyone remember the gargantuan 240?

It had Tonka toy invincibility and enough room in the rear for a modern day fridge freezer with a bit to spare.

But conventionality isn't enough in the luxury end of the market so the Scandinavians changed tactics, starting with design.

They embarked on a journey to create a sport wagon that would revolutionise the way we look at family motoring.

SLEEK

Sleek, flowing lines coupled with a sporty coupe-like silhouette and hence  the V60 was born.

Last year she got a bit of a nip and tuck with sharper creases, new bonnet, bumpers and headlights.

The entire engine line-up is refreshed too making them all leaner and greener, but more about that later.

First, let's take a look at the new cabin which gets a major makeover, bringing it more in line with it's BMW nemesis, the 3 Series Touring.

There's luxury and refinement at every level with wall-to-wall leather and quality, soft-touch surfaces twinned with brushed aluminium.

In the cockpit a state of the art digital cluster taken from the V40 dominates the dash which is perfectly complimented by the chunky leather multi-function steering wheel and floating centre console.

It's loaded with standard kit too including climate control, Bluetooth, cruise control, 5 inch colour infotainment system display, 16 inch alloys integrated roof rails, Dynamic chassis and LED daytime running lights.

As expected the V60 comes with a 5-star NCAP rating with an astounding 94pc for adult occupant protection and 100pc in safety assist.

Six air bags, electronic stability control and City Safe (automatic braking below 30kph) and the option of blind spot warning, lane-change and pedestrian alert gives it best in class honours.

But most punters buying this kind of car do so because of their ability to carry awkward loads like mountain bikes, camping gear and the like. Here you’ll be left a tad disappointment  as space and everyday practicality aren’t what we expected with a pretty average boot (430 litres, a good 60 less than the A4 Avant) and even with all the seats folded flat you get a capacity of  around 1,250 litres – less than the VW Golf.

The up side of the reduced boot is the extra legroom in the back seats which proved plenty for a couple of six footers.

So gripes aside, how does it drive?

Exceptionally well, albeit not as engaging as the 3 Series or the A4 Avant.

Keener drivers will be left feeling a little cold by the lack of

connectivity from the steering, especially in tight corners, but there's plenty of grip and no shortage of power.

The 2.0litre D4 diesel Geartronic we tested was frisky and massively torquey with 163bhp making it a perfect motorway cruiser for long family jaunts.

She was easy on the juice too averaging around 43mpg, but the 1.6 litre D2 would be the car of choice with emissions of just 114g/km and returning 65mpg.

Prices for the V60 start at €35,945.

Irish Independent

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