Volvo V60 1.6 DRIVe R-Design road test review

Volvo V60 1.6 DRIVe R-Design road test review

The TotallyMotor Verdict


If you thought Volvos were a little conservative-looking; think again. Take a long look at this Ice White V60 (estate) with its sharper R-Design styling, big wheels and powerful lines, and if you don’t think it lives on the Cool Wall, I’ll eat my Swedish meatball-flavoured hat!

This estate variant of the S60 saloon is, in my opinion, a handsome sportswagon that oozes upper-class charm, rather than conservative boredom. And of further interest in these times of panic-bought petrol and sky-high fuel prices is this V60’s DRIVe boot badge that means a 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine that’s said to be good for 65.7mpg on the combined cycle. Also, CO2 sits at a very-respectable-for-a-big-car 114g/km.


Volvo V60 1.6 DRIVe R-Design road test review

First impressions:
The R-Design kit on this Ice White test car adds a fair dash of extra aggression to the V60’s already aero-looking shape – its sleek ‘n’ low, tapering roofline and high shoulder line, further enhanced for dynamic stance by those R-Design appendages. Handsome 18-inch 5-spoke alloys also bring their fair share of flair. 

Amongst other things, Volvo are renowned for practical cars and this V60 of course brings the extra interior space to those that need to haul more than the average, but it’s dressed up well in an attractive and modern shape that looks like a fresh-page design, rather than a saloon car that’s been turned into an estate. If I were shopping for an eco-estate I would definitely look closely at this Volvo.


Into the interior:
The Volvo V60 DRIVe R-Design starts at £27,575 without options, but this car is pretty packed with extra good stuff, to the total tune of £35,410.

The Premium Sound Multimedia pack, for example, comes in at £1,025. However, the stereo in this car sounds excellent – not particularly loud, but full of depth and rich detail – and the sat-nav too is of the latest spec – with easy, full postcode entry and even a quick-touch operation via the steering wheel. So, it’s just over a grand well spent if you like your music and navigation delivered in style.

The sunroof here costs £870 and initially I thought I wouldn’t personally bother, especially as it’s of a standard size and not the more trendy panoramic. But, having enjoyed a sunlit cruise on the way to work this morning, I have to say it’s rather pleasant to let the sun and the air in, without so much of the traffic noise and commotion that just window-dropping allows. The multi-adjusting electric driver’s seat is a £630 option, and so the list goes…

In all, it’s a fair chunk of options-change, but the feeling of quiet opulence, soft leather and general top levels of fit and finish all seem to add up fairly to this car’s total price.

The driving position is excellent, with a steering wheel that surprised me by how far it came out to meet my reach, and those more expensive electrically-adjusting seats – with multiple memoires – are as easy on the posterior as they are on the eye.


The drive:
It’s all about the eco-focus with Volvo’s DRIVe model variants, so if you’re looking for a Swedish speedster, look elsewhere in the range.

With 115bhp from its 1600cc, 4-cylinder turbodiesel engine, this V60 isn’t exactly full of poke – 0-60mph in 10.4secs and a top speed of 121mph – but if you use the smooth 6-speed manual ‘box wisely to work up a head of turbocharger boost pressure, the V60 DRIVe is quick enough to join motorway slip roads with traffic-slot-making gusto.

It’s also very easy and relaxing to drive, and I think the car’s eco-focused nature encouraged me to drive it in a smooth and unhurried fashion, and that’s a good thing when it comes to the every day aggravation of the morning commute.

The suspension is firmed up by the R-Design badge and some may find it a little hard for their liking. I found it to be good at motorway wafting and surprising flat and controlled through faster corners. I say surprising because I more expected a big Volvo to be perhaps overly comfortable, but this car is nicely cornering-focused too.

Volvo quote a combined economy figure of 65.7mpg, but on my week-long, 400-mile test I saw between 46mpg and 49mpg. To be fair to the V60, most of this travelling was in stop and start traffic – the Start/Stop system on this car worked as well as the best of the rest I’ve tested recently – without much high-gear motorway cruising. I think this DRIVe could nudge a touch over the 50mpg with a light right foot. And that’s very good for a full-size car.


Ten second sum up:
The Volvo V60 DRIVe R-Design impressed me all round. I enjoyed its sharp styling and well-appointed interior, and everywhere I looked I was met by understated flair and good build quality; living up to its pricetag. Sure, it’s not the quickest with its eco-engine, but at nearly 50mpg on test, the smile is spending less time at those pricey pumps.


Prices and availability:
The Volvo V60 DRIVe R-Design range starts at £27,575 OTR. Price as tested £35,410 with a long list of options. Available now.

Words & pics: Daniel Anslow

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