ON THE ROAD – IAN LYNAS DRIVES THE NEW VOLVO V60

Many will recall a large Volvo Estate hurtling around the race tracks of these islands as it lit up the British Touring Car Championship; it certainly awakened motor sport followers to the fact that the Swedish company had a powerful Estate in their armoury. However for most, it was the 960 in road trim which found favour.

Recently, I took to the roads of North Yorkshire to try the latest Estate model from Volvo- the V60. It will come as no surprise to many that it majors in practicality and safety, and is a real competitor for the German makes. So Audi, BMW and Mercedes- watch your rear view mirrors, the V60 is coming up fast and I can report that this is yet another Volvo with a decided premium feel.

Of late their trio of SUVs have been proving extremely popular, just stop to look at the number of awards so far this year, a staggering twenty one no less!

Safety is one of the major attributes of the new V60; this is an area in which Volvo has majored in stronger than any other competitor.

With sleek sophisticated Scandinavian lines, the new Estate has a giant helping of on road presence and it can boast the largest luggage capacity in its class, ranging from 529-1,441 litres, all down to in which manner you configure the seating.

The newcomer is second generation and it is built on the SPA platform which underpins the S90, V90, XC60, and XC90 and the new S60.

Providing the power are the brand’s efficient engines, both petrol and diesel. At this point, it’s worth noting that from 2019, all Volvos will be electrified and ,the XC40 will be the first all electric model.

Regarded as a mid size estate, the V60 sits below the much larger V90 and it is destined to be one of the top sellers in our market. Drive is via the front wheels, however all wheel drive hybrids will follow and now there are four trim levels to choose from with an R version due to join the lineup next year.

No disappointment even if you decide on the entry level model, standard equipment is excellent and includes for example, nine inch touch screen which is the command centre for the new V60 making a lot of previous buttons and switches redundant. LED lights, a power operated tailgate, sat nav, dual zone climate control, a first rate ten speaker audio system etc.

I drove the top of the line Inscription version, and the route took me over a section of the Yorkshire Moors, a driving paradise, and with this variant  you get leather faced seating, powered front seats, drift wood interior inlays and chrome exterior trim.

The standard of fit is excellent throughout this new model; nothing is fussy, rather very understated, and just in the manner we have come to expect from Volvo.

Returning to the power units, four cylinder of two litre engines, ranging in power from 150-250bhp. The diesel I tested had a D4 diesel with 190bhp and it was certainly bright and a joy to drive.

I had the opportunity to try both a manual and an automatic version and my vote goes to the automatic with its seamless changes and virtually instant response.

Emissions are as low as 117g/km and on the economy front, I spent just too little time behind the wheel to give an accurate fuel figure.

Style and fashion, very important no matter what you choose to buy and colour is paramount and there are 14 exterior colours, including two new to me, Birch Light and Pebble Grey and five upholstery colours to your taste.

When it comes to the most popular in the line-up, Volvo forecast that it will be the D3 diesel and certainly throughout Ireland, I see the diesel variants as taking a large slice of the cake.

Living with the new V60, no problems in this area, the well appointed and spacious cabin has great connectivity, something that is now expected, and a host of little touches that add to the joy of driving.

Summing up- another top notch product from Volvo, thoroughly modern and one which brings a giant helping of freshness to the estate sector of the market.. By the way, Volvo have no plans to take to the race track with the new V60!

Ian Lynas