Let me be unorthodox and begin this review by stating up front - the Volvo V60 will not be coming to India any time soon. It's a shame really because that's the fate so many capable yet misunderstood station wagons share in our market. Oh well, that said - now you're wondering why you should read on. Well here's why - the V60 is very close to the upcoming S60 - its sedan sibling that will definitely come to India. And that no one has as yet driven! And I am hoping that by the end of this review I can get some of you to switch over to my side - those who like station wagons! For the rest it's a good sense of what to expect from the S60! So let's go!
Also Read: All-New Volvo V60 Revealed
It has been some time now that we have got used to receiving capable, well-built, gorgeous Volvos. The XC90, S90/V90, XC60 and XC40 stand testimony to that. And so the V60 being all of that is hardly surprising. There are wagons and then there are V60s. The new generation of this model is simply stunning - as wagons go of course. The front end screams Volvo, and is lithe and very slim compared to the last generation car. Yet the metal packs in some musculature that travels back to the wagon rear. The headlamps and taillights are replete with LED treatment, and yes you do get the signature Thor hammer DRLs and vertical LED signature motif at the back. The 19" 5 multi-spoke alloy wheels on my test car are pretty, and the V60 also looks good in this 'maple brown metallic' paint shade. The V60 shares Volvo's SPA (scalable product architecture) with the XC90, S90/V90, and XC60. And naturally so does the soon-to-be-launched S60 that I have already mentioned. And while it looks every bit like the V90's younger sibling, it is not as aggressive, muscular or wide looking as that car.
I guess it's time I told you what variant I am driving. This is the current range-topping V60 in Europe - the T6 AWD. This petrol-engined, all-wheel-drive (AWD) with me is also kitted out in the highest Inscription trim. That means I've got the bells and whistles on this one. More on that. The engine is the 2-litre 4-cylinder petrol with 304 bhp and 400 Nm on tap. There is a slightly more powerful 333 bhp Twin-Engine iteration of the T6 too. Or you can opt for the 245 bhp T5. On the diesel side there is the 2-litre D3 (147 bhp) or D4 (186 bhp) option. And the V60 has a plug-in hybrid T8 variant coming next year too.
The T6 engine gives you decent performance. Top speed is 250 kmph and the T6 will do 0-100 kmph in 5.8 seconds. The 8-Speed Geartronic auto transmission is quick enough, though I wish the Inscription also had paddle shifters (apparently only the sporty R-Design trim gets those). The car has the customary drive modes - Eco, Comfort and Dynamic - that can be operated by rolling the textured metal control toggle near the gear shifter. I do feel the modes seem to give you varying degrees of throttle response, but not much change in the steering or on the chassis side. I'm keeping it in Eco for the most part to try and be frugal, but realise that a kickdown on the accelerator still gives me near desirable results.
Of course in Sport mode that response is definitely more appealing. The 2-litre 310 bhp motor is pretty good on the whole. Being a smaller car than its platform sharing buddies, the 4-cylinder unit does well to give you quick manoeuvring and overtakes. Despite the obvious length, wheelbase and D-pillar on this car, you don't get any sense of roll whatsoever. Of course there is a touch of understeer but the V60's sharp steering will see you through for the most part. In fact I'm almost having to remind myself this is an estate and yet is letting me push through corners, twists and turns with abandon. That I am in Germany and am also frequently finding myself on no speed limit stretches of the autobahn is certainly helping! The AWD works well enough, but will not give you the precision of say an Audi Quattro or BMW xDrive. Still the V60 is hardly the car that you would typically put through the paces, and certainly shines through for its intended usage.
The cabin is Volvo standard - which means impeccable material quality, light palette, crisp interface and the Sensus touchscreen. The light driftwood inlays in particular get my attention, as does all the safety equipment on board. Everything from active cruise control, blind spot warning, pilot assist, lane keep assist, autonomous braking in city traffic, multiple airbags - its all pretty much standard. Impressive as always. The seats are very nicely cushioned and keep you very comfortable. I am especially happy with the precise position I have been able to electrically adjust on my driver seat. The Bowers & Wilkins sound system, is great and the car with me also has head-up display and a panoramic sunroof. Fancy isn't it?
And I have to say I have spent my time using pretty much all the creature comforts and driver aids. I have had the pilot assist on mostly all the time. It also helps when you have to adjust something on the Sensus touchscreen - like the AC temperature for instance. The screen is very cool, but like all touchscreens that are increasingly becoming standard, it does mean taking your eyes off the road longer than you'd like to operate the function on said screen. And so having adaptive cruise control governing my speed, and pilot assist keeping me in my lane, and also turning the car for me - is nice! Needless to say the pilot assist means I have to keep at least one hand on the wheel at all times. Lots of steering mounted controls (that are easy to use) and a well appointed digital virtual cluster interface round things off. Like I have wished on all the other recent Volvos, I'd have liked the V60's instruments to change colour dramatically when switching drive modes. The navigation works well though, and it also helps to have the map instruction show up at the centre of the virtual cluster and on the head-up display. As also the speed limit from the road-sign recognition readouts.
So I am liking the V60 more and more. And even though I know that means nothing to you, it certainly points me towards thinking about its sibling waiting in the wings. The sedan alter-ego - the S60 - will be here soon and indeed in India next year as well. So I am thinking about it, with a grin on my face. Coz if the wagon is reasonably fun, so well-appointed, and oh so sexy, how nice will the sedan be? Just as nice I reckon...but a lot sportier I hope! Can't wait to drive it, that's for sure. And lucky for me - that day is not far. Nope not far at all!