Is the Volvo V60 big enough for a family car?

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Vovlvo V60

“I DELIVERED one of these the other day and the chap didn’t want to drive it,” says the delivery driver.

“Oh,” I reply, a little perplexed, admiring the finish of this particular model. “Couldn’t he drive?” I ask.

“He just sat and listened to the stereo.”

“Really? Was he all there?” I question.

“He worked for one of the hi-fi magazines and he was testing the £3,000 sound system, an added extra in the top of the range model. I stayed with him on his driveway for 40 minutes and he really cranked up the volume.”

“I better pay a bit more attention to stereos from now on then,” I replied.

My first impression is that this V60 stands taller than the standard model thanks to its raised height. The fact that it is an all wheel drive model not only makes it super safe on the roads but it also means that it is at home in the countryside.

What better place to test this out than a trek down the motorway to the market town of Andover.

Traditionally Volvos have been associated with manufacturing standard road going cars that are supremely safe. I can see why they have ventured into the all wheel drive market though; Sweden in winter is undoubtedly a treacherous place to drive. What really appeals about a four wheel drive Volvo is that it is extra safe because all wheels are talking to each other so to speak. This is a permanent thing so there’s no need to faff about engaging it. For an impatient soul such as me this is great news because it means that one moment I can be driving on a country lane and the next minute pottering through open farmland without a care in the world. It’s an extremely competent vehicle and it is only severe ruts in the land that alerts passengers to the fact that they are off-roading. “Must you do this?” questions my long suffering wife as our three children Harriett (6), Heidi (4) and Henry (15mths) doze in the rear. They barely bat an eyelid as the vehicle quite happily travels across the farmland. It hasn’t been raining for a couple of weeks so the ground is pretty dry so there’s no boggy challenges to encounter, more’s the pity but I suspect it would take such situations in its stride.

The six-speed automatic gearbox coupled to the responsive 2.4-litre diesel engine makes for a car that is thoroughly enjoyable to drive. This does not feel like an estate car but much more of a sports car. If a little extra oomph is required then sports gear can be selected at a push of the gear stick. That boot though is not as large as it needs to be for the Saunders family. You see little Heidi does like to take all sorts of luggage with her on an excursion, so much so that we have to remove the retracting parcel shelf to make space, which isn’t ideal. If everything is to be stored below the parcel shelf there really isn’t much space to play with. The raised ride height and the spare tyre eat into the available room.

Aside from this the black all leather interior is hard wearing and comfortable. It is pleasing to see an electric tilt/slide glass sunroof as well as air conditioning and all round electric windows. Power folding wing mirrors are always a distinct advantage for roadside parking. Being a Volvo it is fitted with intelligent cruise control that reads the traffic ahead and reacts accordingly in terms of speed by automatically braking or accelerating.

When reversing the wing mirrors automatically drop so that the driver can clearly see the sides of the road behind. There is also a useful reversing camera that appears in the centre console as you can see in the video at www.testdrives.biz. However, this system is not infallible and the driver needs to be extremely alert, especially when reversing on my driveway. Why? Because as you can see in the video there is a brick pillar on the left hand side which can be easily forgotten about, making it an accident waiting to happen. To my surprise there are no warning beeps reminding me of this obstacle and the driver could miss it if they’re not looking at the camera carefully. If the wing mirrors did not automatically drop when reversing this issue could be overcome. Perhaps there is a way to override this setting but I have not discovered it.

Overall, I do like this Volvo and feel quite at home behind the wheel. The children like it too and that’s important for a family vehicle.

Facts at a glance
Model Tested: Volvo V60, Cross Country AWD, D4, 6 speed Auto, Diesel
Price From: €43,870
0-100km/h: 8.6 secs
Top speed: 204 Km/h
Engine power: 190 CV
Economy: 5.7 l/100km
CO2 Emissions: 149 g/km

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