I recently was given the opportunity to test drive the all new, ‘naughty’ Volvo V60, in both the D5 Manual Diesel and the D3 Automatic Diesel. It has to be said that they really were quite something – impressive vehicles that offer more than just the classic Volvo safety.
Today’s car market is pretty much led from the front by the big three; Audi, BMW and Mercedes, and in recent years there have been many attempts by a lot of the big car brands to try and join the club – however not many have rejuvenated their brands to the extent Volvo has nor have they got as close to creating the big four! The truth is; it seems that the only difference between cars these days is the badge. Whether a saloon or a city car, the technology and design behind them is all pretty much on a par.
So why will the V60 make such a big mark on the car industry? It may well be the diversity of the car, the number of choices you get when building your model or the little details that really make you feel like you’re driving a luxury model. It certainly felt as if the quality and finish was of a high standard, the steering wheel felt divine and the heated seats were fantastic.
Then there are the techy details, the park assist camera that provides the driver with a panoramic view around the vehicle which was surprisingly clear. Additionally the V60 had an inbuilt Sat-Nav, which seemed to be one of the more intelligent systems on the market. On top of these impressive features – parking sensors, road and traffic information, and park assist cameras were integrated into both the D3 and the D5.
The interior cabin felt spacious enough with the electronics centre in easy reach to change the radio or to program the Sat-Nav. The passenger seats were also roomy, and both models would fit five people comfortably. Despite this, it felt with the seat pulled forward there was little headroom; I certainly felt a few bumps on the head when adjusting my seat! I also didn’t feel the need for the cubby hole area behind the Sat-Nav centre, I couldn’t see a use for it.
So…down to the naughtier side of the V60! The D5 engine capacity is 2.4 litres and offers rapid acceleration, and I mean rapid, and there is smooth power delivery at all speeds. Volvo tells us it has a top speed of 143mph (not that I got anywhere near) and 0-60mph in 7.5 seconds.
In comparison, the D3 goes 0-60mph in 8.9 seconds and has a top speed of 137mph (manual, or 135mph for the auto). The D3 engine is 2.0 litre turbo diesel, which is highly economical but still delivers on performance. It is designed to offer ‘excellent torque at low revs’ Volvo says, which hopes to make an engaging yet relaxing driving experience. The D3 is definitely a vehicle for someone who wants a little less power, but still the capabilities and the comfort of the D5 and Volvo said they expected the D3 to be the ‘biggest seller’ in the UK.
The Volvo V60 is also rather economical. The manual D5 delivers an extraordinary 142g/km of CO2 emissions and the D3 manual CO2 emissions are 144g/km. Both diesel engines with manual gear boxes are well under the 160g/km CO2 company car tax break, so the V60 manual would be an ideal car for a business fleet.
I really can’t fault the Volvo V60; it’s stylish and comfortable in design. It also felt exceptionally easy to drive but didn’t lack performance at the same time. I wouldn’t say it was a threat to the big three brands on the market, but it will certainly be competition! The V60 has made Volvo that little bit more risky…and of course extremely exciting to drive!
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