Volvo V60 D3 2012 Review

Volvo V60 D3 2012 Review

The spiritual successor to the ‘flying brick’ has had yet more corners chiseled away. It’s now like a brick that’s spent several years rolling around in the Muriwai surf. Of course, the bits that now bulge serve a purpose: they create deformable areas that assist with maintaining Volvo’s position at the top of the safety pile, along with a blizzard of available electronic aids (some of which are optional or only available on better specified models than the D3).

After I had digested the brochure’s waffle I took a good look around the V60. From the side you’ve got a strong swooping shoulder line. It’s handsome. At the back there are stretched high level taillights and at the front the headlights smear up the side of the sculpted bonnet. This is a car whose proportions work well.

Our test Volvo V60 didn’t come with a lot of the electronic driving aids that can impress your mates but it did come with a seat I would be quite happy to sit in non-stop for the full

1000+km it will do on a tank of diesel (except that my bladder wouldn’t let me). Touring is what this Volvo does with aplomb. Activate the cruise control, get your favourite playlist cranking on your MP3 player and chew through the kilometers like you’re in a luxury car that costs 30 grand more.

The six-speed Geartronic automatic gives a tall cruising gear that helps with fuel economy. It’s willing to change down if you need it for overtaking, or you can take control with the sequential mode.

In-built child booster seats in the rear are a convenient touch for those with children and also remind us that Volvo’s target market is concerned parents that appreciate the reputation for safety. There are plenty of airbags, plus traction and stability controls and Volvo’s City Safety feature.

City Safety is a uniquely Volvo bragging right. It detects if you’re about to have an impact (at less than 30kph) and slams on the anchors. I haven’t found anyone game enough to try it yet, but as you get a heavy discount off your car insurance premium inSwedenif your car is equipped with it, we should assume it’s going to save a lot of crashes.

It’s quiet, the suspension is compliant and the driving position is non-fatiguing. However, it’s not quite all lounging on a bean bag in the afternoon sun: there’s that turbodiesel-auto lag you get when you put your foot down from rest, it really needs a cubby hole accessible to the driver that’s not the inconvenient space behind the central console (which you can’t see very well), the interior is looking a little dated with its fiddly stereo controls, and it won’t auto-connect to my phone using Bluetooth (it prompts me every time, and often not within the first couple of kilometers).

But that’s about it. You’re investing in a large station wagon which will theoretically do 1200km on a tank of 67.5 litres of diesel without much compromise in performance. You’ll get to 100kph in 9.4 seconds – not rapid, but not bad either, and probably hampered by its lethargic take-off as it seems fairly good for in-gear acceleration and overtaking. It rides a wave of 400Nm of torque from the 2-litre, 5-cylinder turbodiesel that seems unfazed by chubby passengers or luggage. The engine only produces 120kW, but we know that it’s torque that matters for dealing with loads.

Should you require more in the way of electronic driver aids and other internal comforts such as heated seats and  automatic lights (which I expected would be on this model) you can move up the range right through to the top-of-the-line T6 R Design at $93,990, but there’s not that much to complain about with the lesser-spec D3 at only $71,990.

Pros

  • Awesomely comfortable on long journeys (passengers gave compliments, too)
  • Extremely frugal for the amount of junk you can fit in it
  • Quiet

Cons

  • Interior needs a rethink – fiddly buttons
  • Didn’t come with as much stuff as I thought it would (e.g. no heated seats, automatic lights, etc)

Price: $71,990

You might also want to check out the Volvo V60 D5, or the Peugeot 308SW (if you’re on more of a budget but still want a Euro).

Words and photos: Darren Cottingham

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