In essence, this is an S60 estate. Now with an extended roofline, the already smart-looking S60 becomes even more charming. Conventional rivals like the Mercedes C-Class or BMW 3 Series, aren't nearly as arresting visually. You might call the V60 a compact family estate, but Volvo describe it as a 'sportwagon'.
The real headline news here is the Ford Group's much-vaunted 1.6-litre EcoBoost powertrain in the V60 T4. It has 180bhp and 240Nm of torque, while returning an impressive 13.3km/L. It's not a particularly charismatic engine but, it's usefully punchy in the mid range and the Ecoboost definitely has the edge at the top end where it gets a second wind. The Powershift gearbox is creamier than a tub of Häagen-Dazs, with smooth gearchanges up and down the 'box at an almost imperceptible rate.
It drives really well too, and not just for a Volvo. Keep away from twisty back roads and the V60 impresses with its stability and flat attitude. Highways are its natural territory, as it doesn't quite perform the 3 Series' magic shrinking trick when the roads get tighter.
The Volvo rides firmly but controls its movements well enough that you barely notice, especially at highway speeds. Overall, think Audi A4 rather than Mercedes C-Class.
Rival compact saloons will always outbox the 1.6-litre V60 T4, but the EcoBoost engine and Powershift gearbox gives it power and punch. You'll either like the sportswagon look of the V60 or you won't, but to us it has enough panache to pull it off. This is a car that ticks the right boxes and is further proof that Volvo's finding its mojo.
The important bits:
- 4 cyls
- 180bhp at 5700rpm
- 240Nm at 1600-5000rpm
- 0-100km/h 9.2sec
- Top speed 220km/h