You used to know where you stood with Volvo mid-rangers. Take the S40 and V40 twins for instance. Buyers were offered a saloon (the S40), and if they didn't much care for a boot on the back, they could opt for an estate (the V40) instead. Then a bit of a strange thing happened. Volvo introduced the bigger BMW 3 Series-sized S60 saloon in 2000 and didn't offer us an estate version. At that time, the Swedes didn't see the need for one, pointing out that if the compact V40 wasn't big enough for station wagon buyers, they had the big V70 further up the range to suit. It was an argument that didn't altogether wash with customers, even after the V40 was smartened up and re-launched as the V50 in 2004. As a result, the first generation S60 always seemed a model out of step with the rest of the range.
In 2010 that issue was rectified. The S60 was replaced by a second generation design and this time, it did spawn a station wagon, the V60, an estate that certainly wasn't cut from the traditional Volvo template. So popular was the V60 that it effectively rendered the smaller V50 estate redundant. With a range of efficient engines, it was a hit from the word go. Six units were available from launch; two diesels and four petrols. Entry into the range was the 163PS 2.0-litre D3 diesel model, while further up the line-up sat the 205PS 2.4-litre D5 engine offered with either manual or Geartronic transmission.
Petrol powerplants entered the range with the 150PS 1.6-litre T3, then there was the 180PS 1.6-litre T4 variant, the 2.0-litre 240PS T5 and the flagship all-wheel-drive T6 petrol model with its Geartronic gearbox. Featuring a 304PS 3.0-litre engine, the high-performance T6 remains a relatively uncommon sight. In February 2011, Volvo launched the 119g/km DRIVe 1.6 diesel model, while in December of that year, an automatic gearbox was offered with the DRIVe engine, keeping emissions and economy unchanged. At the same time, Volvo announced the V60 Plug-In Hybrid, the world's first diesel plug-in hybrid with a UK allocation of just 1000 cars.
In March 2013 Volvo redesigned the R-DESIGN trim level, offering a more aggressive front end, redesigned wheels, better seats, and a more customisable digital display. R-Design models could be combined with all the engines available for the standard versions. Opt for the T6 and you could optionally boost performance to 329PS by opting for the Polestar software that charged the cars with an extra 25PS. The V60 line-up was replaced by an upgraded facelifted range for the 2014 model year, the biggest change being the introduction of an excellent new D4 powerplant.