Volvo S60 an

excellent diesel

Volvo S60, front
Volvo S60, side
Volvo S60, rear
Volvo S60, interior
Volvo S60, rear seats
Volvo S60, boot

CHASING around looking at secondhand cars with my son-in-law was a bit of a chore a couple of weeks ago.

I didn't mind sorting the four wheeled wheat from the chaff, but driving around strange city centres, with their frantic traffic and so many appalling drivers, was never my idea of fun.

Trying to get back to the motorway to head for home, every road was the usual late afternoon car park, so I used the sat nav in the Volvo S60 to thread my way through side streets, and eventually out onto country lanes.

Thank the stars the majority of drivers don't try this and leave the smaller roads for me. I was out of the city and into suburbia in no time.

We eventually found said son-in-law an honest Ford C-Max - just the right size - at a good price, but it's amazing how much tat is out there being passed off as good. It was always thus I suppose.

Just remember when you're buying secondhand: as low miles as possible, full service history and 12 months MoT. And if anything feels wrong about the car or the seller, walk away with your money tight in your pocket.

The S60 was a brilliant car for the search through secondhand dealers and the optional eight-speed automatic gearbox took much of the strain of city driving, while still having a decently quick kickdown for overtaking on the open road.

Add a real average of 44mpg over a week and this is an executive car to be reckoned with.

Volvo is now using the same 2.0-litre diesel engine in all models of the S60, with different power outputs.

But it has just announced that the new S60, to be built in the USA and launched within the next year, will have no diesel engines, using petrol/electric hybrids instead.

Perhaps they're a little ahead of time with that when their diesels are so good, but only time will tell.

The present car has three different outputs from the same 2.0-litre engine - 120, 150 and 187bhp. I drove a D3 150bhp model and it had more than enough urge for everything I needed.

It's smooth, quiet and responsive and while other cars in the class might be a little more engaging to drive, the Volvo is ahead in the comfort stakes, with fairly soft, forgiving suspension helped by the company's excellent seats.

The steering is not perhaps as precise as some might like but grip is very good despite some body lean through the corners.

There's no doubt about the quality, or about the excellent safety, which of course, is second to none.

In Business Lux spec, it boasts excellent equipment, including sat nav, leather upholstery, traction and stability control, battery charging while braking, intelligent airbags, active head restraints, radar rear parking sensors and a camera, hill holder and climate.

It also comes with cruise, heated mirrors, multi-function steering wheel, DAB and MP3 compatible stereo, and Bluetooth with music streaming.

FAST FACTS

Price: £27,980

Mechanical:150bhp, 1,969cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 8-speed automatic gearbox

Max Speed:130mph

0-62mph:9.5 seconds

Combined MPG:63

Insurance Group: 27

C02 emissions:113g/km

Bik rating:26%

Warranty:3yrs/ 60,000 miles

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