CONTINUING on from my earlier reviews of the V90 and XC40, the new V60 maintains Volvo’s unabated advancement in quality, style and design. Equally, the standard of build excellence now seriously positions it as a premium brand manufacturer. Similarly with regard to safety, the only thing safer than being strapped securely in a new Volvo is staying at home. Yes, you’ve probably guessed that I’m genuinely impressed by the modern Volvos. Why? Because not only are they still among the most structurally secure cars on the road, but the latest designs combine creativity with stunning looks.

Described by Volvo as a mid-sized estate (though large would probably be more accurate) from the T-bar front lights and radar-housing chrome badge, the rakish lines of the V60 estate ease the low smooth contours of the car rearwards past the upward-angling rear doors and the gesture-operated tailgate.

Forestry Journal: Volvo’s latest V60 combines style, economy and practicality.Volvo’s latest V60 combines style, economy and practicality.

Sat on Volvo’s new SPA (Scalable Product Architecture), better described as a multi-vehicle platform, all V60 versions sit on a double-wishbone front axle and coil springs with a multi-link rear axle and, interestingly, a transverse leaf spring. The R-Design Pro as tested also benefits from stiffer springs, more responsive dampers, thicker anti-roll bars, a 12 mm lower ride height and 19” alloys complete with 255/40 rubber. From the driver’s perspective, this gives the new V60 a far flatter, neutral on-road attitude and a stability of handling that belies the fact the car drives through its front wheels.

Another of Volvo’s now well-versed understatements, the interior is described as minimalist. It’s actually ergonomic, which means what’s there is what needs to be there, meaning there’s considerably more to the cabin than initially meets the eye, brightened up by the panoramic sun roof. The R nomenclature means nappa leather and fabric-clad sports seating with the leather continuing over most surfaces, brushed satin aluminium inserts, a thick-rimmed sports steering wheel and stubby transmission shift backed up by elongated digital instrumentation, one of the best heads-up displays you’ll currently use and central 9” tablet-style, multi-page, multi-function touchscreen that provides more types of connectivity than should exist. You also get the Bowers & Wilkins 15-speaker hi-fi complete with CD player and opera house setting courtesy of the dash-mounted speaker, an absolute must for music lovers like me

Forestry Journal: The V60’s 2-litre engine returns a consistent 36 mpg.The V60’s 2-litre engine returns a consistent 36 mpg.
(AC/DC never sounded so good).

Besides the copious head, shoulder and leg room the five individual seats provide, cargo space varies between 529 litres with the rear seats upright, expanding to 1,441 litres with the seats folded. Towing, courtesy of the folding hitch, varies between 1,600 kg in manual form increasing to 1,800 kg with automatic transmission, with an additional 100 kg roof rail capacity for those who insist on increasing aerodynamic drag.

Motive power is currently provided by conventional petrol and diesel units, though petrol–electric hybrids are due by the end of the year. The most powerful is the 250 hp T5 petrol, with the D4 diesels offering 190 hp. Least powerful is the D3 spec as tested that develops 150 hp, 320 Nm of torque and an unwavering 36.1 average mpg or well in excess of 400 miles per 55-gallon tank of diesel. 0–60 mph comes up in 9.6 seconds and onwards to a suggested top speed of 127 mph, where permitted of course.

Forestry Journal: Sports interior is comfortable and superbly laid out.Sports interior is comfortable and superbly laid out.

Mated to an 8-speed automatic transmission (although a 6-speed manual is available), the auto offers the options of sequential changing using either the shift or the paddles. There are also the various driving modes of comfort, eco and dynamic, or individual that allows for a combination of all three, the effect on the throttle response, gearbox reaction, steering and brakes quite noticeable especially when dynamic is selected.

Forestry Journal: The V60 rides on 255/40 rubber and 19” alloys.The V60 rides on 255/40 rubber and 19” alloys.

On the road, the V60’s low, wide stance translates into an estate car that feels planted to the surface. And with radars and 360-degree cameras all round, the V60 is probably more aware of its surroundings than the driver is. With excellent visibility, it is incredibly comfortable, undemanding to drive and responsive even in the environment-saving modes; the V60 is as much a capable long-distance tourer as it is a practical workhorse. Long gone are the days of the antique dealer and farmer’s favourite boxy 245 estate, but the V60 in many ways embodies its predecessor’s ethos while being far sleeker, the only slight vice being a minimal urge to push wide on fast corners, as much down to the car’s mass as its being front-wheel drive. The cure: just dial in a fraction more onto the steering wheel and the Volvo comes instantly back on track.

Forestry Journal: Camera and radar systems provide full 360-degree coverage.Camera and radar systems provide full 360-degree coverage.

Price-wise, the V60 range starts at £32,410 for the entry-level Momentum D3 manual diesel climbing to £41,460 for the Inscription Pro. The D3 R-Design Pro, seen here complete with a few extras, is all yours for £49,210, while the AWD D4 Cross Country is a reasonable £38,270 for what you’re getting. Hybrid prices, like the actual cars, have yet to be released, but as with all new cars, keep an eye on your local Volvo dealer for pending offers.