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Long-term tests

Volvo V60 D3 Momentum Pro: long-term test review

Final report: some tech issues aside, our Volvo V60 D3 Momentum Pro estate has been a hit

Overall Auto Express Rating

4.0 out of 5

We've loved living with the Volvo V60 D3 Momentum Pro. Spacious, quiet and comfortable, it has taken everything we’ve thrown at it. The Volvo’s only downfall has been its tech, which, on occasion, proved too clever for its own good.

Mileage: 7,810Economy: 47.3mpg

As our time with the Volvo V60 draws to a close, we’re left looking back at the past six months with fond memories. It’s been an exceptionally simple car to live with thanks to its blend of space, low running costs and easy-to-use tech.

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As we touched upon in a previous report, our affordable, well-equipped model makes a great motorway cruiser. The quiet diesel offers strong refinement, while the small wheels and high-sidewall tyres give a plush ride. Factor in the amazingly comfortable seats, and it’s an effortless car in which to drive long distances.

• Best estate cars on the market

Fuel economy is rather good, too. No matter how hard you drive it, the V60 D3 always returns more than 40mpg, and thanks to its emissions-saving AdBlue tank, it’s among the cleanest modern-day diesels. Recent longer trips have nudged this closer to 50mpg, in fact, and all this adds up to a possible real-world range of more than 600 miles between fills.

This figure has been a point of contention in the office, however, with some colleagues claiming a dashboard read-out of less than 450 miles – even after brimming the car with diesel. Now, while I’d never claim that my dearest workmates have heavy right feet, it’s quite telling that when I get back in the V60 after a week or so away I find the remaining half-tank of fuel is good for just 200 miles. On a good day that number could be 300 or even more.

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A quick call to Volvo threw up a simple explanation. The range read-out on most new cars is driving-style dependent, of course, but few rise and fall as quickly as the set-up in our V60. It’s apparently all down to the Volvo’s ‘instantaneous’ display, which makes a calculation based on average fuel consumption over the last 20 miles. It translates the data into a predicted range, which is then shown on the car’s trip computer, nestled within the digital dials.

It seems a little facetious to suggest, but while this set-up clearly has its benefits, the way driving styles and commutes vary means we’re never quite sure how much fuel we’ll need to reach our destination.

A car with a single driver and a consistent driving dynamic would rarely face this problem. But thanks to our mixture of inner-city commuting, steady motorway miles and faster B-roads, plus different drivers and varying loads, the available range can switch on a sixpence.

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It’s a minor chink in the V60’s otherwise faultless armour, though. As we mentioned, it’s been a very easy car to live with, and near enough everyone who has tried it comes back singing its praises. Be it collecting barrels of beer from Sheffield, transporting families to the football in Liverpool, or just running local errands at home in London, it’s always been the perfect car for the job.

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Faults and frustrations were few and far between, but that’s not to say our V60 has been completely without its problems. Late last year we noticed the dials would occasionally freeze, with the screen locked on a location near the firm’s base in Sweden. This, despite the fact we’d never been there or even inputted it in the sat-nav. A simple software fix, implemented while our car was having Apple CarPlay connectivity installed, seemed to rectify the issue.

Elsewhere, we’ve given up trying to use the automatic tailgate’s kick function. It’s unresponsive and tricky to operate, and rarely opens on command. We found it far easier to just use the button on the key fob.

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Yet the V60’s classy image has earned it plenty of admiring glances, and it has been quite refreshing not to run something on the biggest wheels and flashiest trim. But despite our version’s modest spec, the extensive kit list ensures it punches well above its weight in the competitive compact executive estate class.

Our affordable model offers such incredible value for money that it’s almost impossible to comprehend why you’d spend more on the top-end trims. Opt for the great 360-degree parking camera (£700), and you’re looking at all the car I’d ever need.

Volvo V60 D3 Momentum Pro: third report

We compare our Volvo V60 D3 Momentum Pro estate with the newer Cross Country and R-Design variants

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Mileage: 5,391Economy: 44.0mpg 

Volvo continues to grow its SUV range at a pace that’s on par with its premium-market rivals, but it hasn’t forgotten its estate line-up. Despite being launched more than a year ago, the V60 range has just been bolstered with two new variants: the Cross Country and R-Design models. The event to introduce the duo was a perfect opportunity to take our D3 Momentum Pro down for a quick comparison.

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Suffolk, where the launch was held, isn’t the easiest place for me to get to. We’ve already waxed lyrical about how serene the V60 can be when thundering down a motorway or stuck in nose-to-tail traffic, and these two strengths certainly made my crack-of-dawn start far easier. Our car’s plush ride and supremely comfortable seats ensured I arrived pretty much as fresh as when I left.

Once there, the D4-powered Cross Country and R-Design stood proudly outside Sibton Park and its stunning manor house. There’s no denying the R-Design looked particularly smart with its striking blue paint and big alloys. For a second, I resented our car’s more subtle styling and smaller rims, but after a spin on local roads the trade-off in comfort became clear.

While the R-Design is sharper to drive and the steering wheel-mounted gearshift paddles do offer more control, they don’t always suit the V60’s relaxed nature. The Cross Country, on the other hand, feels marginally more cushioned thanks to its raised ride height and softer suspension set-up.

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Our D3 Momentum seemed the perfect compromise, offering a brilliant blend of space, comfort and low running costs. While the extra power of the punchier D4 engine in the two new models was welcome, our car will suit most buyers most of the time.

Volvo V60 D3 Momentum Pro: second report

Our Volvo V60 is too refined for passengers to sleep, so our man gets some company!

Mileage: 3,879Economy: 44.0mpg

I reckon about 80 per cent of the time I spend behind the wheel, I’m alone. In fact, my wife is so prone to sleeping while on the move that even when she’s with me, I might as well be driving solo.

Anna is an exceptionally quiet passenger. Whether it’s because she can’t stand my driving or sees it as an easy way to avoid my meaningless drivel, she’s almost always asleep within 15 minutes of us setting off.

This became particularly apparent a couple of years ago, when we drove to the south coast in the Caterham Seven 310S we had on the fleet. It was August, so the roof was off, the sun was beating down on our heads and the exhaust was blaring. Yet as soon as we hit our stride at 70mph on the A3, Anna’s head rocked back and she dozed off. Incredible.

However, after three months with the V60, she’s yet to fall asleep in the passenger seat. It’s strange, because the leather-clad chairs are perfectly comfortable, with loads of adjustment and a burning hot heater. Usually, this would be more than enough to send her off to the land of nod. But no, the Volvo keeps her awake, even late at night.

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The only difference I can see between our Swedish load-lugger and the Toyotas, Hondas, Peugeots or Vauxhalls I’ve run before is refinement. Our V60 – especially on its smaller 17-inch wheels – is so hushed that the lack of white noise is having the same effect on my wife as a bag of Haribo might on a four-year-old child.

Don’t get me wrong, this isn’t a complaint; quite the contrary, in fact. We’re in the car most weekends – be it the long Friday night slog to North Devon to see my parents, or a Saturday afternoon running errands in town – so to finally have some interactive company sitting beside me as I drive has been really rather enjoyable.

Anna isn’t suffering too heavily from her new-found lack of sleep, either. She’s constantly commenting on how solidly built the Volvo feels, and she was impressed at how easily our six-foot Christmas tree slid into the boot last month.

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Often in charge of playlists and podcasts, my wife is quite au fait with all the latest infotainment systems, too – and the Volvo’s Sensus set-up is among the most intuitive of any car currently on sale. That said, while we reported favourably on the extensive standard kit list in our first report, we forgot to tick the box for the Smartphone Integration pack when ordering the car. As such, our V60 is currently without Apple CarPlay or Android Auto connectivity, which is a shame.

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The user manual suggests the hardware – which consists of an extra USB data port in the central storage bin – and software can be retro-fitted at one of Volvo UK’s 117 dealerships. It’s something that we’ll be investigating in the near future.

Volvo V60 D3 Momentum Pro: first report

Well-equipped entry-level Volvo V60 D3 Momentum Pro estate makes us question need to buy high-end model

Mileage: 1,593Economy: 43.9mpg 

It’s rare for us to test a car in its most basic specification. Manufacturers like to load their press demonstrators with lots of extras to allow motoring journalists like us to fully explore the range of options available to real car buyers like you.

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It makes sense, too, because quite often the entry-level trim comes without much of the kit many customers now consider essential equipment. Be that sat-nav, DAB radio or leather seats, the cheapest models are normally built to offer an appealing starting price that manufacturers and dealers can apply to their promotional material and marketing campaigns.

But with the latest Volvo V60, the cheapest trim works best. Even the bog-standard Momentum model gets automatic LED headlights, a power tailgate, alloy wheels and two-zone climate control. There’s also a nine-inch portrait touchscreen that features sat-nav and voice recognition. What more could you really ask for?

This got us thinking: should you even consider upgrading to our car’s ‘Pro’ spec? Or further still to the sportier R-Design or glitzy range-topping Inscription; is there any essential kit the standard V60 misses out on? In short, not really. Throw away the brochure and do yourself a favour: avoid the options list and order this model.

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In addition to all the bits listed above, the V60 Momentum boasts a full suite of safety kit, including autonomous emergency braking, oncoming lane mitigation, road sign recognition, driver alert control and a host of airbags. There are Isofix points on the outer rear seats, too.

However, our car isn’t completely devoid of optional kit. The £1,625 Intellisafe Pro Pack adds Volvo’s excellent (but perhaps unnecessary) Pilot Assist semi-autonomous drive features, while the reversing camera and surround view monitor (£700) are handy, if far from essential. Especially when you consider every version of the V60 gets rear parking sensors as standard.

Dark tinted windows (£600), upgraded wheels (just £75) and Fusion Red metallic paint (£650) are nice to have, too, yet we could happily live without them. We’ll concede that the spare wheel and jack are worthwhile additions, however, especially with winter approaching. The roads at this time of year are mucky, and the added rain can pose a heightened risk of potholes.

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Interior quality is excellent; the V60 Momentum easily matches its German rivals for fit and finish. As much as we’d love to, we’ve not tried a car with the standard fabric seats, but our Pro model’s leather chairs feel plush and on longer journeys they’re incredibly comfortable. There’s soft material across the doors and dash, and everything you touch feels built to last. The digital dials look great and the infotainment system is responsive and easy to operate.

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Even the engine is gutsy enough to haul our car’s considerable 1,729kg kerbweight. Granted, if you regularly carry four adult passengers and a full boot you may find the more powerful models a better fit, but with 320Nm of torque, our D3 diesel is perfectly adequate most of the time.

Still, one option we would recommend is the auto box. The V60 has no aspirations to drive as sharply as a BMW 3 Series, and its relaxed nature is perfectly matched by the smooth eight-speed transmission. Added to our car’s excellent refinement and relatively small 17-inch wheels, it makes the Volvo a fantastic motorway cruiser.

Fuel economy is another welcome benefit. While the forthcoming S60 saloon will only be offered with petrol and plug-in hybrid powertrains, the V60 has also been launched with a pair of diesel options; ours is the popular D3 version with 148bhp.

Our model is already returning almost 44mpg, and with less than 2,000 miles on the clock that’s only likely to improve over time. Company car drivers will be penalised by the four per cent diesel surcharge for Benefit-in-Kind tax, but if you cover high mileages (more than 20,000 miles per year) as many buyers do, the better fuel economy will make the higher monthly payments well worth it. 

*Insurance quote from AA (0800 107 0680) for a 42-year-old in Banbury, Oxon, with three points.

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