Volvo V60 T5

R-Design Pro

Volvo V60 R-Design, front action 2
Volvo V60 R-Design, front action
Volvo V60 R-Design, front static
Volvo V60 R-Design, side static
Volvo V60 R-Design, rear action 2
Volvo V60 R-Design, rear action
Volvo V60 R-Design, rear static
Volvo V60 R-Design, front seats
Volvo V60 R-Design, boot 2

SO you've been a BMW driver for years. A committed fan who sticks with what he or she knows and likes.

Sure, occasionally you'll glance at the opposition to see what Audi or Merc have to offer. But rarely will your eyes stray further afield than perhaps a Jag or a Lexus.

And the idea of getting behind the wheel of a Volvo? Well, you would be more likely to buy a pair of Hush Puppies.

Well, it's time to think again. The new breed of Volvos are something else. Long gone is the slippers-and-lab's Swede is svelte, swish and sporty. Cool even.

The V60 is the estate version of mid range saloon and takes on such established machinery as the Audi A4 Avant, BMW 3-Series Touring and the Merc C-Class estate, all smart mid-management models that are at the top of their game.

But so too is the new Volvo. In T5 guise there's a 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine that produces a healthy 250bhp without depleting the wallet too much on petrol bills. It's matched to an eight-speed automatic which helps deliver a happy medium between gutsy acceleration and relaxed town driving or motorway cruising.

With a cosseting cabin - lots of soft, high grade plastics for the dash and soft Nappa leather seating - and low noise levels, it's one of those cars that feel less stretched or accelerative than the figures suggest. In fact, it will top 145mph and despatch 62mph in 6.7 seconds which puts it firmly in the brisk sector.

Driven by its front wheels, although four-wheel-drive is available, road holding is not only safe and secure but rewarding when you want to press on. Roll angles are kept well in check although the ride is complaint over all but the worst surfaces.

These days, Volvo has the jump on most over premium cars when it comes to cabin design. Not only is there plenty of standard kit such as sat nav, dual zone climate control and nine-inch touchscreen, but the architecture of the fascia is more like an elegant lounge than car.

Largely free from buttons, the touchscreen is refreshingly intuitive and although minimalist by nature, it both looks great and works well. The R-Design Pro model tested also had optional sound system by Bowers and Wilkins that further lifted the ambience...and the decibels. Price £2,500.

Thanks to a longer wheelbase than the previous version, legroom both front and rear is ample for most. It's not the roomiest estate for luggage however, partly because of the sloping rear quarters, nevertheless its 529 litre capacity will be enough for most families. When the rear seats are folded this increases to 1,441 litres.

Giant strides have been made on making sporty petrol engine more economical and the 2.0-litre four-pot fitted to the T5 is a good example of the progress made. My average of 38mpg over some fast routes proved agreeably close to the official WLTP combined figure.


Volvo V60 T5 R-Design Pro

Price: £40,020

Mechanical:250bhp, 1,969cc, 4cyl, petrol engine driving front wheels via automatic gearbox

Max Speed: 145mph

0-62mph: 6.7 seconds

Combined MPG: 38.7

Insurance Group: 35

C02 emissions: 160g/km

Bik rating: 35%

Warranty: 3yrs/60,000 miles


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