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Driven: Volvo V60 D3. Image by Volvo UK.

Driven: Volvo V60 D3
Does a modern-day Volvo convince in a lower trim grade, with a less-powerful engine? Oh, hell yes...

 



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Volvo V60 D3 Momentum Pro

5 5 5 5 5

Good points: it still looks and feels fantastic to drive, despite the fact it's close to entry-level spec

Not so good: it costs quite a bit with some choice options, considering it's a 150hp manual diesel rep-estate

Key Facts

Model tested: Volvo V60 D3 Momentum Pro
Price: V60 range from 32,410; D3 Momentum Pro from 35,610, car as tested 43,685
Engine: 2.0-litre four-cylinder turbodiesel
Transmission: six-speed manual, front-wheel drive
Body style: five-door estate
CO2 emissions: 122g/km (VED Band 111-130: 165 in year one, then 450 per annum years two-six of ownership, then 140 annually thereafter)
Combined economy: 61.4mpg
Top speed: 127mph
0-62mph: 9.9 seconds
Power: 150hp at 3,750rpm
Torque: 320Nm from 1,750-3,000rpm
Boot space: 529-1,441 litres

Our view:

Look, there's no point hiding this: since Volvo broke free from Ford, started the Scalable Product Architecture (SPA) and Drive-E revolution, and launched the almighty, second-generation XC90, we've been almost rapturous about the total transformation Gothenburg's premier carmaker has gone through. Not that pre-SPA Volvos were bad (they really weren't), but after the XC90, it was just one massive hit after another. BAM! In comes the S90 saloon and its closely related V90 estate sibling - both are brilliant. BAM! Then the V90 morphs into the stunning Cross Country lifestyle estate. BAM! The huge-selling XC60 midsized SUV evolves into its second generation and is a majestic triumph. BAM! A new, small crossover called the XC40 arrives and its genius is that it doesn't simply look like its 60- and 90-grade big brothers, instead sporting its own youthful design.

There's not much left for Volvo to update now, in the wake of this slew of sheer brilliance. The oldest car left in the portfolio, and the last one which will switch over onto an SPA-derived chassis (the XC40 and any 40-series-badged cars will be on the Compact Modular Architecture, or CMA, which is just SPA, size XS), is the V40. Right now, the S60 saloon and the related V60 estate are going through 'The Change'.

So what do you expect us to say about this glorious V60 D3 Momentum Pro, other than the glaringly obvious conclusion? We decided to take the mid-sized Volvo wagon - designed to compete in the BMW 3 Series Touring class - in a lower spec, because we've majored on D4, D5 and T8 models up to now, usually in upmarket Inscription or R-Design trim. It's all well and good these high-spec, high-cost variants impressing during a short test-drive, but you wouldn't go around only driving the 340i and thinking the whole 3 Series family was marvellous, would you? Thus, we felt the V60 was the prime candidate for a bit of Volvo road-test 'downgrading'.

It hasn't affected our verdict, though. The V60 is the best midsized estate car there is on sale right now, and that's an end to the discussion... oh, you want us to continue? All right, then, we will. For starters, it just looks sensational, outside and in. We genuinely don't think you can make a regular estate car look any better than this. Our test car was in the beautiful shade of Fusion Red and was fitted with a set of 19-inch five-V-spoke silver alloys (+1,325), and it looked amazing. As much as we adore the appearance of the V90, the V60 is a tauter, more cohesive piece of estate-car design and if you opt for a D3 model, the only giveaways that you're in something lower down the food chain are a single-exit exhaust at the rear and the boot badge, meaning the V60's attractiveness is not spec-dependent. Ditto the interior, which gains the superb modern Volvo finishing, crystal-clear digital displays and high levels of comfort. OK, the V60's not the biggest load-lugger in the world, as its 529-litre boot isn't huge in this class, but it's more than practical enough for most family needs.

Like all SPA vehicles, the V60 majors on comfort over speed but we'd say these 60-series vehicles - XC60 included - definitely steer in a sharper, more engaging fashion than the larger 90-series machines. The V60 has excellent steering and impressive body control, so it's actually reasonably adept in the corners, if not anything stellar. Mind, a T8 version with some Polestar know-how would make for a very interesting sleeper, we reckon... Anyway, otherwise, the V60 is just pure luxury to travel in. The ride, on our test car's fixed-rate suspension (no four-corner air springs here), was exemplary, even with the optional 19s at the corners. The suppression of exterior noises making any sort of meaningful impact on the passenger compartment is top-drawer and all-encompassing, while the usual Volvo ergonomic excellence (the seats! The comfy seats!) mean long distances are a doddle. We also saw back an overall 44.6mpg from 350 miles behind the V60's wheel, with a best economy of 52mpg attained on a steady motorway run.

And what of the D3 engine's performance? Well, it was more than adequate. Equipped with a six-speed manual - another first for us and SPA Volvos, as all our previous testers have been automatics - with a pleasingly precise if rather knuckly throw, it meant getting the smooth and quiet 2.0-litre turbodiesel into its sweet spot was no hardship, although it can feel a little 'laggy' if you bog it down too much in the rev range. However, there's little doubt that the 150hp D3 is more than capable of dealing with the V60's reasonable kerb weight of 1,620kg in a wide variety of situations, so there's no reason to avoid it. Yes, we'd probably say a D4 auto would be just that touch more fitting for the V60's general elegance, but the D3 manual does not detract significantly from the overall driving experience.

Thus, it's another full house for a new Volvo product. Honestly, the V60 D3 is so appealing and loveable that you spend your time looking back at it longingly, after you've parked it, locked it up and started to walk away. And, capable cars though they all are, the likes of the A4 Avant 2.0 TDI 150, the 318d Touring and the C 200 d Estate can never manage to muster up the same sort of longing desire that these Volvos do. So while we're super-keen to try the incoming Cross Country and R-Design variants, it's already clear that the V60 is stupendous from the top to the bottom of its very range. Vive la Scandinavian revolution, eh?

Alternatives:

Audi A4 Avant: always a class act and the latest model is a strong all-rounder, as A4 Avants always have been. Doesn't quite have the 'want it' factor of the V60, though.

BMW 3 Series Touring: we're waiting for an all-new Touring, given the 'G20' seventh-gen Three has just arrived. Strangely, recent iterations of BMW's compact wagon have been curiously uninvolving to drive.

Mercedes C-Class Estate: probably the nearest contender to the V60, the C-Class wagon has been improved by a midlife facelift that brought in the quieter 2.0-litre turbodiesel engine on entry-level models.


Matt Robinson - 26 Nov 2018









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2018 Volvo V60 D3 Momentum Pro manual. Image by Volvo UK.2018 Volvo V60 D3 Momentum Pro manual. Image by Volvo UK.2018 Volvo V60 D3 Momentum Pro manual. Image by Volvo UK.2018 Volvo V60 D3 Momentum Pro manual. Image by Volvo UK.2018 Volvo V60 D3 Momentum Pro manual. Image by Volvo UK.

2018 Volvo V60 D3 Momentum Pro manual. Image by Volvo UK.2018 Volvo V60 D3 Momentum Pro manual. Image by Volvo UK.2018 Volvo V60 D3 Momentum Pro manual. Image by Volvo UK.2018 Volvo V60 D3 Momentum Pro manual. Image by Volvo UK.2018 Volvo V60 D3 Momentum Pro manual. Image by Volvo UK.








 

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