Although the V60 is still very much an estate it has left the old image behind, basking in the title of sportswagon, another name for the plethora of so-called lifestyle estates that are on offer today.
Its swept down, almost coupe styling gives the car sizzling good looks and the Volvo R-Design treatment transforms it into a much more sporty being.
To improve agility, and make for an even richer driving experience, the V60 R-Design has modified suspension.
The front and rear springs are shortened by 15mm while spring rates are also 15 per cent stiffer, reducing roll and pitch, and improving responsiveness. Suspension bushings are also stiffer.
Rear R-Design dampers are monotube, not twin-tube, helping damper response time. This further improves the ‘connected feel’ of the car.
This car is pitched directly against the best that Germany can offer and it has to be good.
It proved itself so in a number of ways during my drive. In particular the T5 1,999cc four-cylinder petrol engine was punchy and very flexible linked to a smooth-changing six-speed transmission, giving a top speed of 143mph and a 0-62mph sprint of a respectable 7.1 seconds.
Combined fuel consumption of 34mpg is not headline news with this car which is after all a punchy petrol model and not out to break economy records.
What is exceptional is the car’s interior which takes functionality to new heights. In typical Swedish style there is the now familiar ‘flying-buttress’ console with a very simple but high quality control arrangement.
And practicality has not been forgotten because the rear seats fold 40:20:40 – the same as Volvo’s champion load-lugger theV70.
To improve carrying capacity the front passenger seat backrest can also fold forward, which helps to carry long items.
There are also twin booster cushions for children in the outer rear seats available, hooks for carrying and lockable under floor storage.
This lifestyler has a lot of emotional appeal, is extremely enjoyable to drive and can handle the goods when required.
It is the world’s first estate to offer Pedestrian Detection with Full Auto Brake, the innovative technology introduced on the S60. A digital camera and radar are used to scan the road ahead. If they detect a pedestrian, and the driver fails to respond to warnings, the car will self-brake.
Other class-leading safety technologies include City Safety – which avoids low speed impacts up to 30km/h (19mph), Driver Alert Control (DAC) to alert drivers who are tired or distracted and Blind Spot Information System (BLIS) which helps detects vehicles in the rear blind spots on both sides of the car.
In addition there is lane departure warning, active bi-xenon lights that follow the bends in the road and numerous secondary safety features.
All in all a very well thought out and highly thought out model in which highly technological aids do not spoil the sheer joy of driving.
Volvo V60 T5 R-Design
Mechanical: 240ps, 1,999cc, 4cyl petrol engine driving front wheels via 6-speed manual gearbox
Max speed: 143mph
0-62mph: 7.1 seconds
Combined mpg: 34.9
Insurance group: 32
CO2 emissions: 189g/km
BiK rating: 27%
Warranty: 3yrs/ 60,000 miles
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