THE focus of Volvo’s burgeoning sales drive has without doubt been the SUV sector.

You can buy small (XC40), medium (XC60) or large (XC90), so there’s pretty much something for everyone looking for a premium crossover offering.

But that does not mean Volvo has turned its back on what made the company a household name for posh load-carrying.

No, upmarket estates are Volvo heartland and still very much a key ingredient of the Volvo DNA. The company has been selling estates since 1953 and these cars have accounted for a third of all sales.

Its new mid-sized V60, built on the same platform as the SUV collection, will be one of its biggest-selling models in the UK.

With a strong focus on the family but with business customers still expected to be in the majority, the V60 embodies the cherished Volvo principles of being practical, comfortable and safe.

For those reasons, this V60 is armed with the full array of Volvo’s class-leading safety technologies, ensures a relaxed drive whether you are sauntering on country roads or racking up hundreds of motorway miles and can claim to have the biggest luggage capacity in its class.

The tested D4 diesel version is one of three engine offerings, the others being a D3 diesel and T5 petrol. These will be joined further down the line by a T4 petrol and T6 Twin Engine and a T8 Twin Engine plug-in petrol-electric hybrid.

It is worth noting that all new Volvos from next year will include electrified versions and by 2025 the company intends to be selling pure electric cars. Not only that, it aims to bring autonomous driving to a third of its cars by 2025.

But for now, the internal combustion engine is where it’s at, and these two-litre, four-cylinder engines provide between 150 and 250hp with some impressive CO2 emission and fuel economy figures to match. For example, the D4 will shoot from 0 to 62mph in 7.9 seconds, while the D3 registers a mere 117g/km.

My vote goes to the D4 as the best all-rounder.

Specification levels follow the usual Volvo pattern of Momentum, R-Design and Inscription, with the Pro addition available across the range. Pro – which costs more than £2,000 - adds a head-up windscreen display, keyless entry, hands-free tailgate opening, active bending headlights, a heated steering wheel and leather-faced upholstery, and should account for ten per cent of sales.

I have to say that the eight-speed automatic gearbox provides for such a relaxing drive that I would choose it over the six-speed manual. Fortunately, you can choose the transmission across the range.

Priced from £31,810, even the entry-level Momentum specification brings with it a nine-inch touchscreen, three drive mode settings, LED headlights, a power-operated tailgate, satellite navigation, dual-zone climate control and a ten-speaker sound system.

Yet most buyers will opt for the luxurious Inscription version or the more sporty R-Design, which both offer cosmetic touches and driving features to whet the appetite. You can also opt for adaptive dampers on these models for improved ride comfort.

The V60 will probably find its fiercest competitors to be from the SUV stables. But as an estate it has the advantages of being a better drive and is likely to be more practical for loading. Dog owners will in particular be swayed by the lower loading point.

Lastly, and perhaps most important of all, the V60 comes complete with the full range of Volvo safety features – a suite of features that for so long has made it the envy of the industry and should fulfil the company’s aim that by 2020 no one will be killed or seriously injured in a new Volvo car.


Volvo V60 D4

Price: From £32,550

Engine: 2.0-litre fourcylinder diesel producing 190hp

Transmission: Six-speed manual or eight-speed automatic

Performance: 0 to 62mph in 7.9 seconds; top speed 137mph

Economy: 64.0mpg combined

CO2 emissions: 117g/km


Performance: ****

Economy: ****

Ride/Handling: ****

Space/Practicality: ****

Equipment: *****

Security/Safety: *****

Value For Money: ****