Volvo V60 D3

R-Design Nav

Volvo V60, front static (2)
Volvo V60, front static (3)
Volvo V60, side static
Volvo V60, rear static (2)
Volvo V60, rear seats
Volvo V60, front seats
Volvo V60, dashboard
Volvo V60, boot
Volvo V60, front upright

FOR three days it felt as though the Volvo was defying the laws of nature - the further it went, the further it would go before the diesel ran out.

So, setting off on day one the handsome V60 estate told me there were 500 miles of juice left in the tank.

Some hours - and 130 miles later - there were more than 600 miles to go before the debit card was needed.

It went on like this for several days; no matter how long the journey the Volvo's crystal clear dash display always showed more miles to empty than before we set off. Uncanny.

After several days with the apparently physics-bending Swede we'd done 557 miles together and still there was fuel for 260 more in the tank. I like a car with 817 miles in it before the engine coughs and dies.

Brush away the magic and there's a more mundane explanation, of course. The car was delivered with its 67.5 litre (14.8 gallon) tank nicely brimmed, by a driver who had been getting a bit of a move on.

That put the car's electronic brain into pessimistic mood, so a few days with a lighter right foot (from yours truly) had the car frantically readjusting its distance-to-empty reading.

In the end the car managed 49.2mpg; a long way from the entirely magical near 71mpg it recorded in the official test, but still a satisfactory result for a car that whistled along in convincing style.

Sitting around mid-point in the V60 range (which stretches widely from £23,075 to the scary heights of the plug-in hybrid version at £52,325), this car had the sporty look and feel of the £1,700 R-Design pack available across the entire V60 family.

Lots of rival car makers offer so-called sporty options that do little apart from spoil the ride and add a bit of chrome and black paint (and something to the bottom line, of course).

Well, Volvo does the black and bright silver bit too (down to mirror caps, rear under-bumper diffuser and big chromed tailpipes) but goes deeper than some on the bits you can't see - and it makes a difference.

For as well as sculpted R-Design front seats and the obligatory contrast stitching to steering wheel, seats and gear-lever gaiter, there's sharper steering and lowered and stiffened suspension with its own recipe of anti-roll bars, dampers and bushes - even a strut to brace the body at the front.

It works nicely, giving the driver some of the lively response you'd expect in a more sporty (and expensive) car without hurting the ride quality, on good road surfaces at least. Bumpy bits can turn things a bit solid feeling, but Volvo has found a well sorted compromise with this R-Design application.

The non-sporty bits of the V60 are all solidly Volvo-like, in a good way. So there are safety systems galore to protect you and a dashboard designed to be useable without an intensive training session beforehand.

You pay for its elegant lines with a boot space that's more than enough but some way from huge, but the rear seat backrest splits 30/20/40 and easily folds down perfectly flat to make loading big items a bit of a doddle.

Standard kit includes sat-nav, smart 18ins alloy wheels, part-leather seats, DAB radio, Bluetooth, cruise control and climate control.

FAST FACTS

Volvo V60 D3 R-Design Nav

Price: £31,745

Mechanical: 148 bhp, 1,969cc, 4-cyl diesel engine driving front wheels via 6-spd automatic gearbox

Max Speed:130 mph

0-62mph: 9.1 secs

Combined MPG: 70.6

Insurance Group: 24

C02 emissions: 105 g/km

Bik rating: 18%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles

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