Volvo have really been knocking it out of the park recently with some great new models since the Chinese company Geely took ownership in 2010 from Ford. Pumping in billions of pounds has really paid off. Geely also own Lotus, Proton and the London Electric Vehicle Company.
The V60 they have just delivered to me is one model in a long line of great new cars that are rivalling the German in terms of build quality, style and residual values.
With an increase in size over the previous model, this one is 4.8m long with a 10cm longer wheelbase, therefore slightly longer than the spacious Mercedes C-Class and the Audi A4 estates. More leg room, more luggage space and loaded with safety equipment that will keep you safe in all but the biggest shunt.
They all come with the 2.0-litre four pot engines with two diesels offering 150bhp and the T5 R-Design Pro petrol, that l have under my bottom, gives you a good push with 250bhp. The progression will not blow your mind but it is smooth and refined and certainly quick enough. The 8-speed gearbox is a tad hesitant and, when pulling away, you do feel that there is a little Swedish man in there rummaging around to locate the right gear for you. The company states a 0-60 of 6.4 seconds but others have tested this and rarely manage that but this will depend greatly on what tyres are fitted.
It cannot be called an exhilarating drive in terms of outright performance but it is refined, sure-footed and has an undeniable feeling of luxury and l didn’t miss the extra shove in any way.
As has come to be expected from Volvo, the V60 is kitted out with a veritable arsenal of active and passive safety features. Standard features include lane keep assist, pedestrian, cyclist and large animal detection (the small ones are screwed) and fully automatic emergency braking.
Inside, all is well. The Nappa leather seats are tremendous and a tad like a comfy armchair and all dials are at hand and easy to use. The digital dash can be varied and the satnav can be brought up there which really does help to have the map right in your eye-line. The engine start is a tad odd as it is a twist knob by the gear selector. There is acres of space with five full seats and a 60/40 split in the back seat and a powered tailgate. You can also order powered rear seats if that’s your thing.
The only thing that drives me mad is the key. It is a large flat key fob and then they have buried the open buttons in the side of the fob which is incredibly difficult to use without looking. In the dark, you are wandering round like an idiot looking for some light to spot the tiny little buttons. Why - there is an acre of space on the flat side and that is where everyone else has placed it - and for good reason?
It is a good looking car, well proportioned and with a slight rise to the waistline as it runs to the rear that affords it a slightly aggressive stance. The ‘Thors Hammer” headlights are cool and the L shape of the rear lights is something we are all used to if you have stared at the rear in traffic. I reckon you could see it brake from space!
The shout has long been ‘The Germans are coming’. Could the new shout be ‘The Swedes are coming’? Not quite the same ring but bravo to Volvo.
Model tested: V60 T5 R-Design Pro
Speed: 0-62 – 6.4 seconds
Economy: 38.7mpg combined
Price from: £32,410
As tested: £46,870