Volvo V60 T5 R-Design Review
Swede Versatility

Words and Photos by Clifford Chow
13 Jan 2020
 

Visually, it is hard to fault the V60’s styling. 

I love estate cars. Their versatility is valuable to those who require more hauling room, and somehow, they also tend to be visually more appealing than the sedan counterparts they are often derived from. Seriously, you do not need an SUV to do all that hauling do you? I can bet that there are still some who will say that station wagons are like heares. A statement I get to hear at least a few good times throughout the course of a year from the ignorant… then again, the same people go on to say that station wagons are slow (I shall put this here and carry on).

Designers have fed in Volvo’s current design language well with the new V60. Their estate car takes on the likes of the Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate, BMW 3 Series Touring, and the Audi A4 Avant (BMW has not fielded their touring model as of yet, and the A4 Avant is unavailable for now). The V60 is built upon Volvo’s Scalable Product Architecture (SPA), which forms the base for larger cars like their flagship sedan, the S90 and XC60 SUV; offering the manufacturer required scalable flexibility it needs to develop cars of varying wheelbases and sizes.

Reworked “Thor’s Hammer” daytime running lights are pushed to the far edges, to create a sense of girth. Designers have even gone as far as repositioning the rear door hinge further down, just so that they can achieve the desired curvature along the door panels; which are further complemented by sweeping folds in the side sheet metal, for a more dynamic appearance.

Visually, it is hard to fault the V60’s styling. Volvo had done quite the excellent job of designing their compact exec sedan and estate duo. Both cars are larger than the ones they replace, and the pair have commanding road presence.

Estate cars have a special place with the Swedish brand (one even got sold via an ad in youtube a few years ago). In the past, they have ensured that its loading space and boot aperture was maximised with the gradual widening of its rear profile; a subtle design tweak if you may, just so that you could haul more. While the new car does not do that, it does pay homage to pre-Ford and Geely cars, with a symbolic crease in the sheet metal above the D-pillar.

Inside

The V60 undeniably has one of the better interiors in its class. Choice materials in our test car, like its metallic trim blends well with quality plastics. Little touches like its air-conditioning vents, which feature knurled jewel closing knobs, turn with consistent tension, and close with an assuring click; are inspired by the crowns on wrist watches.

Volvo has thankfully ditched that cluttered push-button console and tiny screen, which took centre stage on the dash of the previous car. In-place, you get a neat portrait style 9.0” touchscreen interface. However, it is not the easiest to navigate, and the air-conditioning controls have also been embedded into the touchscreen, making it rather cumbersome to adjust your fan speed and thermostat settings. It does however offer Apple and Android smartphone connectivity, SatNav, and even allows you to fold the rear headrests from the console. Sadly, when developing the S60 and V60, Volvo had not factored in room for a wireless charging pad, which has now become quite commonplace among luxury, and even some bread and butter brands.

Seats throughout are supportive, and thanks to the second generation V60 being considerably larger than the car it replaces (4,761mm length and 1,850mm width), and now with a wheelbase of 2,840mm, 96mm longer; passenger space at the rear has been greatly improved upon.

Cargo room is a generous 529 litres, and the boot has been well thought-through. There are hooks available to hang smaller bags of groceries, and Volvo has also included an innovative fold-up divider, allowing you to split your cargo if you need to. Fold the 40:60 rear seats down, and the versatile V60 is able to swallow up to 1,441 litres. If i choose to nitpick, the cargo cover, which slides upward on a set of rails may be a clever touch, since it means that it is easy to reach when you need to slide it back down. However, since it is all manually done, you will find yourself often forgetting to slide the cover down after loading the boot, and the cover does cover the rear windscreen quite a bit, and will get in the way, if you were to not check your rear mirror before setting off. 

The Drive

Two power options from two 2 litre engines are available. Our test car was the higher-spec T5 model, which delivers 250hp and 350Nm, the latter from between 1,370 to 4,500rpm. Drive to all-four wheels is via an 8-speed Geartronic transmission, and clears 100km/h in 6.5 seconds… nubbad… The lower-powered T4 engined car is just FWD.

Delivery of the drive is smooth, with torque almost immediately available, once your foot is down. However under heavy acceleration, the transmission tends to get laggy, annoying pausing in-between gear swaps.

Our T-5 R-Design car may be equipped with a lower suspension, tuned for better handling, it is still built for comfort in-mind. Handling though, is very good for its size, in-part, thanks to the AWD drivetrain. Switching of the drivemode is done via a roller switch behind the starter knob. However, you will find that the V60 delivers at its best when in “Comfort” drive mode, versus when it is in Dynamic.

The V60’s interior is truly a lovely place to be in, with road noise and traffic buffered away by good insulative materials, and tyres with a generous amount of sidewall. You will easily be able to clock the miles in the car, without feeling much fatigue.

As with many current luxury cars, the V60 is stacked with active driver safety features, like Collision Avoidance, Lane Keeping Aid, and even features rear end Cross Traffic Alert, which helps to ensure that the coast is clear as you reverse the car.

Our Thoughts

I do wish that Volvo had kept their stonking 5-cylinder alive in this 2-gen-later successor to their pre-Ford superbly engineered 850 series marvel, and had it mated to a better transmission. 

That mentioned, if you are simply looking for something luxurious, practical and comfortable, the Volvo V60 does offer serious value.

In Summary

We Like

Attractive styling and good packaging. Offers value in its class. Good interior quality.

We Don't

Laggy transmission mars an otherwise near-excellent car. Thirsty engine. Buyers will benefit greatly from an electrically operated cargo cover.

Verdict

The Volvo V60 is stunningly beautiful from all angles. If you are looking for a comfortable drive, with a very well insulated interior, the V60 offers all of that. Sadly, the transmission can be a little too laggy, especially at higher revs.

Car Loan Calculator - Volvo V60 T5 R-Design (A)

SGD 195,000 (9 Jul 2020)

Based on OMV, this car is eligible for minimum 40% down payment

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