Volvo has brought out a sleek estate car with the appearance of a coupe. Edward Stephens discovers that it has more than just good looks.
When Volvo decided to build an estate version of its popular S60 saloon it was determined it would be different.
This was to be an estate car for people who don’t like estate cars. For those who do, the Swedish company reasoned, there was its larger, squarer V70 model.
And so the V60 sportswagon was born. A sleek estate with the appearance of a coupe. But looks can be deceptive. For, although it’s got curvy lines, the V60 can accommodate a generous amount of luggage.
This is a well-thought-out, sensibly designed estate, with lines which are pleasing to the eye and hard not to like.
When it comes to carrying long loads the V60 is particularly accommodating, too. The rear seatbacks divide in a 40/20/40 split so you have a variety of possible permutations, allowing you to carry long loads and still have some back seats occupied.
Best of all, the seatbacks fold down at the touch of a button – which also automatically drops the headrests. And I particularly liked the fact that when you open the rear hatch at night the car’s rear lights come on automatically – warning other motorists that you are standing in the road.
My test car was the 1.6-litre, 115bhp DRIVe diesel – a car aimed at drivers seeking economy combined with respectable performance.
Having covered around 450 miles in a week, the 67-litre fuel tank was still almost half full and the on-board computer told me there was some 285 miles worth of fuel left in the tank, which is pretty impressive for a large car.
The DRIVe uses a stop/start system to help extend its range but, even with it switched off, it can be surprisingly frugal.
The 1.6-litre engine is mated to a super smooth six-speed manual gearbox and, at the legal limit on the motorway, the needle on the rev counter registers just over 2,000 revs.
Low gear acceleration is adequate rather than remarkable but at higher speeds it’s more responsive and is a particularly flexible motorway cruiser, responding instantly to any demand for more power.