Volvo V60 D5 R-Design Lux Nav 215PS Start/Stop road test report and review: Comfortable and safe, whatever the weather, DAVID HOOPER reviews Volvo’s latest V60 with its luxurious R-Design specification.
THE Volvo V60 R Design is, in my opinion, one of the most attractive estate cars on the market today thanks to its heady mix of sharp yet classy styling, comfort, safety and technology.
The Swedish manufacturer has managed to create a very good looking car, something slightly different from the traditional boxy estate, yet retain all the practicality a load lugger should possess, with the whole package being topped off by a set of of smart alloys.
The R Design specification also ups the ante, bringing some lovely styling touches to the interior, most notably the two-tone leather sports seats and brushed aluminium effect trim.
In this D5 version, power comes from a 2.4-litre five-cylinder engine, which provides a nice balance of power and economy. Driven reasonably gently, the car will return around 40mpg in everyday use, but when the need arises, can be hustled along much more quickly than the benchmark 7.7 seconds 0-62mph time would suggest.
All that power is transmitted to the front wheels by a six-speed automatic gearbox, which shifts smoothly through the gears – and gives the driver the option of manual changes via the paddle shifters mounted on the back of the steering wheel, or by manually moving the gear selector backwards or forwards, making the V60 quite and engaging car to drive with an element of intent.
The ride quality is as good as any luxury car in this sector cushioning almost all of the road’s indiscretions, and handling is precise thanks to excellent, nicely weighted steering that provides just the right amount of feel and feedback. I also liked the heated steering wheel, which may seem a bit of an unnecessary luxury, but believe me, on a frosty winter’s morning, it’s very nice to have, as is the heated windscreen, which clears the morning frost in a matter of seconds, avoiding the need for cans of de-icer and scrapers.
The dashboard display is clear and easy to read and can be customised to the driver’s preference, or mood, from Classic, which gives a clean, classy look, Eco, which shows how economically the car is being driven, or the Sport display, which puts a digital speed read-out prominently in the driver’s eye-line and gives the dials a red theme.
A screen in the centre console is home to the all the main interfaces for the radio, sat nav, telephone and media controls, and the Harman Kardon music system is always a treat. Turn it up to a level loud enough to remind of your teenage days in a nightclub, and I’ve no doubt it’s capable of leaving your ears ringing, but there is no distortion and the clarity of the music is a real treat.
Select reverse and the display turns into a rear view camera which gives a clear view of what is behind the car, while guidelines which turn with the steering wheel help you manoeuvre into a parking space with an impressive degree of accuracy, but when the roads are dirty, you have to occasionally wipe the lens of the camera which is mounted just under the boot handle.
The tailgate opens wide enough to allow easy access to the large load area, and pulling a lever on the side of the boot will drop the seat backs down in one easy move, increasing the load area to a spacious 1,241 litres, literally at the touch of a button.
Our test car was also equipped with some of the latest safety technology, including road sign recognition, a system which reads the speed limits and displays them in front of the driver – which can be useful, and during my test proved to be accurate.
City Safety is also excellent and monitors the vehicles ahead and lights up red warning lights on a heads-up display in front of the driver should you get too close to the car in front. If the system detects you are about to collide with the a vehicle in front, it beeps loudly, the red lights will flash, and apply the brakes at low speed to prevent, or at least reduce the amount of damage, caused in a low-speed accident.
I also like the latest developments in cruise control which effectively allow you to follow the car in front at a pre-set distance. The radar-based system will slow your car down as you catch up to another vehicle, and accelerate back to your preset speed as you pull out and overtake it. The system will brake the car down to a complete halt if necessary. It works brilliantly and the driver can even adjust the gap between the two cars.
The V60 is not only practical and comfortable, with its armoury of latest automotive technology, it’s also very safe and actively works to help keep your no claims bonus in tact!
THE VITAL STATISTICS
MODEL: Volvo V60 D5 R-Design Lux Nav 215PS Start/Stop.
VOLVO V60 RANGE: From T3 (150PS) Start/Stop Business Edition (£22,005) to D6 AWD Geartronic R-Design Lux Nav (£51,475).
ENGINE: 2,400cc, 215PS five-cylinder diesel engine, driving front wheels through 6-speed manual gearbox.
PERFORMANCE: Top speed 143mph. 0-62mph in 7.7 secs.
ECONOMY: City: 50.4mpg.
CO2 EMISSIONS: 120g/km.
FUEL TANK: 68 litres.
INSURANCE: Group 31.
WARRANTY: 3 years/60,000 miles.
• All data correct at time of publication.