Once in a while a new car comes along with relatively little fanfare, yet it’s so good that it literally blows you away.
The all-new Volvo V60 is one such vehicle. Obviously it’s not special in a supercar kind of way – it’s just that it does everything it’s meant to do exceptionally well.
Like all the current generation of Volvos, it ticks all the right boxes and the V60 is further proof that the Swedish brand is on a roll. After the XC90, V90, S90, XC60 and XC40, here’s another winner.
Critics claim Volvo is going down the Russian doll avenue and the V60 is just a scaled down V90. Look closely and you’ll see that the smaller car’s rear is more pert, it has a sexier profile and it’s better proportioned.
Drive it and you realise that it still feels more agile, yet it’s also cleverly packaged, delivering ample interior space, and a supremely relaxed cruiser.
Why would you want an SUV when you can drive an elegant estate than can transport a family and dog in consummate ease?
And most importantly of all, why would you buy an Audi A4 Avant, BMW 3 Series Touring or Mercedes-Benz C-Class estate?
Priced from £31,810, the V60 is initially available with two 2.0-litre turbo diesels (150bhp and 190bhp), paired with an 8-speed automatic or 6-speed manual, and an auto-only 250hp petrol unit. Smaller petrols, plus two plug-in hybrids will follow in 2019.
I tested the more powerful 190hp diesel in one-up-from-entry-level D4 Momentum Pro spec with an automatic gearbox.
Momentum is already generously equipped with LED headlights, a powered tailgate, two-zone climate control with ‘CleanZone’ air-quality system, a 9.0-inch centre console touchscreen, a 12.3-inch driver’s information display and rear parking sensors.
Momentum Pro (from £34,060) adds leather-faced upholstery, a head-up display, active bending LED headlights with adaptive shadow technology, hands-free opening for the powered tailgate, plus a heated front seats and a heated steering wheel.
Performance is impressive on paper, and it doesn’t disappoint on the road. For the record, it’s capable of 0-62mph in 7.6 seconds, a top speed of 137mph and it can return up to 61.4mpg, while emitting just 122g/km of CO2.
The drive modes allows you to choose between four different modes, including Comfort, Dynamic, Eco and Individual, though Comfort will do just fine because the ride and engine performance are just fine as they are.
Like all diesels, you know exactly what’s underneath the bonnet if you floor it, but it’s superbly refined in normal day-today driving and it’s always comfortable.
It feels dynamic to drive and body control in faster corners is excellent for any car, let alone a substantial estate.
Frankly, if there was one gripe, it’s that the automatic gearbox is a little hesitant to change at times, but it’s certainly no dealbreaker.
In short, not only is the V60 engaging to drive on more challenging country roads, but it’s a relaxing cruiser too, making long journeys an absolute pleasure.
Being a Volvo, it’s also very safe. As standard it comes with a City Safety package which includes autonomous emergency braking (it can spot pedestrians, cyclists and animals, as well as vehicles) and Oncoming Lane Mitigation (it helps drivers to avoid collisions with vehicles in an oncoming lane).
Talking of tech, my review car came with the optional Intellisafe Pro pack (£1,625) which includes cross-traffic alert and Volvo’s impressive Pilot Assist semi-autonomous driving system (a speed and steering aid with blind spot indication).
Naturally, the V60 is also beautifully put together and plush inside, oozing Scandi chic.
It’s spacious to sit in whether you’re in the front or the back, and there are plenty of clever storage solutions, while the class-leading boot space is 529 litres, extending to 1,441 litres of flat space with the rear seats down.
Verdict: The all-new Volvo V60 is, quite simply, one of the best new cars of the year. Safe, spacious and boasting serious kerb appeal, it’s a dream to drive and surprisingly economical.