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Volvo’s vivacious V60: A great avant

30.09.2014

AS SOUTH Africans we don’t seem to have taken to the idea of a wagon. I personally cannot see why, as they’re usually handsome, spacious and retain the dynamic characteristics of their sedan counterparts.

The V60 is one of the wagons that is simply here to stay; the latest generation ushers in some of the Swedish marque’s finest technology in terms of engines and safety features.

Design-wise, the V60 is a very modern interpretation of a sports wagon, especially with those large 19-inch wheels filling the wheel arches. Gone are the days of Volvo estate cars looking too square and boxy.

 Inside looks a bit like a Scandinavian vodka bar with the light hues being offset by dark leather. The ambient lighting also adds to this impression with lights around the steering wheel, centre stack, door panel and cup holder areas adding a glow to the cabin.

There’s still the signature ‘floating’ centre console which houses the climate control and just above, is the infotainment system lifted from the V40 hatchback, which is also evident in the instrument panel. One thing that’s certainly improved is the Bluetooth. On the older vehicles it was slow and difficult to connect to but now it is up to standard.

The seats are incredibly comfortable, while the 430 litres of space in the rear section makes the V60 very practical indeed. This means the V60 is as practical as an SUV but does not have the ground clearance. Personally, I just feel this makes it handle better while the ground clearance is not missed as most SUV’s never make use of it in any case.

I received the V60 T5 on test; its 2.0-litre direct-injection engine produces 180kW/350Nm. It provides a decent amount of poke and is relatively frugal as I returned figures of 9.2 litres/100km during my week with the car.  The eight-speed Geartronic gearbox was a joy to use and a massive improvement compared to its predecessor.

This engine and gearbox form part of the brand’s Drive-E initiative, which is a term to group certain technologies that provide increased power, better fuel consumption and emissions and the same driver enjoyment. It isn’t close to the likes of the 3 Series or C-Class in terms of dynamics, but in terms of quality and comfort, it’s up there with the best.

Safety is an area where you’re always in good stead with a Volvo; the V60 comes with things like pedestrian and cyclist detection. When the system recognises a potential threat the brakes are automatically applied. There is also the driver alert control function, which detects whether you’re tired or distracted.

Cross traffic alert warns the driver of vehicles approaching from either side when reversing out of a parking space.  The road sign information supports the driver by displaying road signs in the instrument display. The Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) and city safety system are also great pieces of equipment.

My test unit also featured Adaptive Cruise Control (ACC) and lane keep assist, which ensured that when I was cruising along the highway, I could put in as little effort as possible. It’s all very relaxing.

The price is a bit steep, even with all the kit. I think the V60 is a bit of an unsung hero, much like its S60 sibling. The stylish front-wheel-drive Swedes are often overlooked in favour of the rear and all-wheel-drive Germans, which is a bit of a shame, really.

The Volvo V60 comes with a five-year/100 000km warranty and a five-year/100 000 maintenance plan.

Article written by Autodealer
30.09.2014
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