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Volvo V60 Review

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Volvo V60 Tested September 2010

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3 stars

Quick Summary

Average. If you were hoping for a Volvo estate in the traditional mould the V60 is likely to disappoint, but taken on its own terms the sports wagon is an attractive alternative to the S60 saloon.

Road Test

Volvo launched the saloon version of its 3-Series/ A4 competitor several months ago, but it's now the turn of the big hitter - the estate version. The manufacturer expects the V60 to outsell the S60 by some margin, largely because load-luggers are still seen by the buying public as Volvo's raison d'etre.

Don't expect to hear the word estate mentioned in the dealerships much though. In an attempt to move beyond its brand appeal beyond the traditional middle-age, middle-class customer base, Volvo has dubbed the V60 a sports wagon rather than an estate car.

It's a clunky description already pioneered by several other manufacturers, but the new model doesn't seem overburdened by the description - largely because it pulls off the design trick of being at least as handsome as its saloon sibling. However, there's a price to be paid for that low swooping roof line and shapely posterior, as the V60 is not exactly endowed with super tanker storage capacity. It goes without saying the car is less capacious than the V70 above it, but the car is only 13 litres more voluminous than the smaller V50 and some way behind most of its competitors.

That blunt fact doesn't mean buyers won't be seduced by the car's conspicuous good looks on the forecourt, and the 40/20/40 rear-seat split and flat load space mean there's still plenty of usable practicality to play with, but those looking for the most storage for their buck will have to look elsewhere.

For everyone else the V60 makes pleasant company. Sharing almost everything with the S60 means the sports wagon inherits Volvo's best interior for years, as well as a quiet, competent (if uninvolving) driving style. This being Volvo there's plenty of safety stuff on the options list and the standard spec includes a decent amount of kit, including alloy wheels, cruise control and climate control. The V60's introduction also coincides with the manufacturer's launch of a new 1.6-litre turbocharged petrol engine for people who want high economy and low emissions without the distant rumble of an oil burner.

Prices for the V60 will be between £1,000 and £1,500 more than the equivalent S60. That may strike you as a hefty premium for not much more boot space, but Volvo estate models - no matter what they're called - do tend to find buyers prepared to part with the cash.

The manufacturer will just have to wait and see if its decision to opt for slightly more style and a little less substance has affected that tradition.

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