V60 pitched for fleet user

Road test: Volvo V60 D2 SE Powershift

We reviewed the Volvo V60 a couple of years ago when it came out and then its saloon variant, the S60 earlier this year. The S60 came in glorious D5 R-Design specification (which we awarded five stars) so this review is really an addendum to that, covering the entry 1.6 diesel, badged as the D2. In addition, this V60 has the Powershift option, Volvo’s wet dual clutch automated gearbox.

Now some vehicles on test receive a moderate amount of driving before metaphorical pen is put to paper but the V60 really did cover the miles, including a trip from Cheshire to Southampton and back in a weekend plus some urban driving around Manchester – certainly enough to assess the drivetrain fully.

The V60 is more of a shooting-break but in my mind, it’s the most attractively styled of the Volvo estates. Being so closely related to the saloon, it rides reasonably well (if a little jiggly over low speed bumps) and cabin design is spacious and pleasing. As one might expect, it gobbled-up the miles extremely well.

The elephant in the room here is the small diesel engine which is under-powered for a car of this size and weight. It is designed to attract business users, so in that sense achieves its aim of frugality and low benefit-in-kind tax, especially with the new Business Edition specification (starting at £21,945 for the D2). Despite being on the wheezy side, it is smooth and managed almost 45 mpg over the week. On the down side, lane-changing takes some planning and ambitious overtaking is best avoided.

Powershift ‘box is great

The Powershift ‘box is great. It’s been programmed to make sensible changes (unlike other manufacturers’ similar setups which change up to early) and I’ll be honest here, I actually forgot about it much of the time – a true complement indeed as it did everything smoothly and efficiently. The gear lever itself is worthy of a few words, being smart with a clear top and it is gently illuminated at night. Sport mode is activated by pushing the lever to the left from the normal drive position. I imagine this would be handy for overtaking manoeuvres had there been a larger engine beneath the bonnet. As it is, there’s little discernible difference. Likewise, selection of manual ratios (except for descent control) is unnecessary because the power delivery is fairly flat across the rev range.

In the past, I have been critical of the over-zealous driver aids on Volvos and some of them are still questionable – the pedestrian detection fails to spot some real hazards but is triggered by parked cars and sensible, footpath-bound pedestrians. Likewise, the lane deviation indicator is frequently tripped on narrow A-roads where the car approaches the centre line. One feature I have grown to like is the adaptive cruise control. I covered literally hundreds of miles without cancelling and resuming – which I’d have had to do countless times on conventional systems, given our roads are almost never traffic-free.

In summary, ride didn’t feel quite as settled as with the tyres/suspension on the D5 saloon and by moments, the steering not as crisp (but that could be down to insufficient toe-in on this particular car). The design of the V60 inside and out is delightful though, and any of the two-litre engines would make the car much more driveable – especially if intending to fill the V60’s useful load area. The smooth Powershift gearbox complements the car well and any buyer would be sensible to tick this option.


Volvo V60 D2 SE Powershift, tested, costs £27,045 plus £1,485 for the Powershift option

Power: 115 hp (3,6000 rpm), torque: 270Nm (1,740 – 2,520 rpm), emissions: 119 g/km CO2 (band C), 0-60 mph: 12.7 secs.

Motor Writer rating: ●●●○○

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