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In-depth reviews

Volvo V60 review - Engines, performance and drive

D4 diesel offers decent performance, but refinement is the main focus of the V60 driving experience

Volvo has taken a different approach to rivals with the V60. Rather than go chasing the driving dynamics of the BMW 3 Series Touring, the V60 takes a more relaxed approach. It’s quiet, comfortable and relaxed, even on the optional 19-inch wheels that are available, although the largest 20-inch wheels might be an increase too far.

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The suspension isn’t as stiff as in some rivals’, which pays off in terms of ride comfort, but not so much when it comes to handling. If you opt for Volvo's Active Four-C adaptive dampers, it’ll stiffen slightly if you bother to delve into the various drive modes, but most people will (wisely) just leave it in the comfort setting.

The V60 corners safely and with confidence, but you don’t quite get the level of feel you get from a 3 Series through the steering wheel and suspension. For most people most of the time, though, they’ll enjoy the quiet calm of the Volvo, especially on the motorway, where it’s an impressive cruiser.

It’s on the motorway where you’re most likely to use the Volvo’s excellent Pilot Assist autonomous features too. The car will keep a set distance from the vehicle in front once you’ve set the speed you want to travel at (this is the same as other adaptive cruise control systems), but it will also keep you in lane and steer you around gentle corners. You have to keep your hands on the wheel at all times though, ready to take over if needs be – otherwise you’ll get beeped at by the safety systems. However, it really adds a degree of relaxation to longer journeys and the system works well.

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Visibility is good, making the V60 easy to pilot around town, while the auto gearbox is a smooth shifter. If you do want to change gears yourself, a manual box is available with D3 and D4 diesels, while R-Design auto models get paddle shifters behind the steering wheel.

The T8 Twin Engine is the fastest model in the range, but it's not especially sporty – it's best considered as a fast, composed cruiser rather than a BMW-baiting driver's machine. Its 385bhp and 640Nm mean overtaking is effortless but there's not much communication through the steering wheel in bends. Thanks to its plug-in hybrid technology, silent all-electric driving is possible for up to 30 miles – it's feasible that the T8's petrol engine could be reserved exclusively for out-of-town driving if you keep the batteries topped up.

Engines, 0-60 acceleration and top speed

The engine range in the V60 is the same as you'll find in the S60 saloon. The D3 diesel makes 148bhp and has a decent turn of pace, while the 188bhp D4 diesel is strong if not stunning – it’ll get from 0-62mph in 7.9 seconds with decent mid-range performance, while the D3 manages the same sprint in a perfectly acceptable 9.9 seconds. The diesels are relatively quiet units other than at idle, suppressing diesel clatter well and adding to the general peace and quiet in the cabin.

Where the T5 used to signify a five-cylinder engine under the bonnet, today's V60 T5 has a 2.0-litre four cylinder. It makes a healthy 247bhp, and is the fastest V60 you can buy at the moment, with a 0-62mph time of 6.7 seconds courtesy of its front-wheel drive configuration.

The T8 Twin Engine plug-in hybrid boasts serious performance, with 0-62mph despatched in 4.9 seconds and a 155mph top speed. Go for the Polestar Engineered version and the 0-62mph sprint drops to 4.6 seconds.

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Which Is Best

Cheapest

  • Name
    2.0 B3P Momentum 5dr Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £33,100

Most Economical

  • Name
    2.0 T6 Recharge PHEV R DESIGN 5dr AWD Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £44,450

Fastest

  • Name
    2.0 T8 Recharge PHEV Polestar Enginrd 5dr AWD Auto
  • Gearbox type
    Semi-auto
  • Price
    £50,750
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