Volvo V60 Driving, Engines & Performance | Top Gear
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Saturday 2nd December


What is it like to drive?

You're not supposed to drive the V60 like your hair's on fire. Not that the non-PHEVs will complain if you do – they’re actually very well composed when you press on. The V60 contains its body roll well, there's little understeer and the steering does let you place it with fluent accuracy on the road. It doesn't feel unwilling or lardy, although in the T6 and T8 (despite a decent turn of pace) you can feel the extra weight of the battery under braking.

It just doesn't encourage keen driving. There's little of the engagement and interaction you'd get from a BMW 3 Series or even a Mercedes C-Class. The steering has little feel despite its accuracy. In hard cornering, throttle adjustments bring very little change in the car's attitude. That's the sort of predictable stability that all Volvos wear like an iron shield of invincibility. But there are moments when an amusing road opens up ahead and you regret that nothing about the V60 would dream of egging you on.

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Run me through the engines…

The B3 petrol gets 161bhp, which means slow progress with 1.7 tonnes to shift – 0-62mph takes a whole 8.2 seconds. The B4 ups things to 194bhp, while the AWD B5 gets a much more respectable 247bhp for 0-62mph in 6.9 seconds. Having said that, it's the least efficient on paper at 38.2mpg: both the B3 and B4 manage around 45mpg.

As discussed there are two plug-in hybrids, and both are rapid. The 335bhp T6 chalks off 0-62mph in 5.2 seconds, while the larier 399bhp T8 drops that even further to 4.3s. Both weigh over two tonnes, mind, just FYI.

What else do I need to know?

The eight-speed auto gearbox is smooth enough for very relaxed driving, but it is a bit slow-witted off the line and sometimes fails to shift when you’d expect. If you fancy taking control yourself there’s a plus-minus gate on the lever.

Many of the systems in big Volvos are getting better with each new model. We chatted to an engineer about the way the V60 has a less shuddery secondary ride than the S90, V90 and XC90. He said the reason is improved engine mounts (when any car goes over a bump the engine will shake and it's a bit of an art to control it).

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In other respects the V60's ride in the adaptive dampers' Comfort setting is decently supple and quiet, if perhaps not quite a match for a C-Class's unflustered consistency. Volvo’s four-cylinder engines can be a little clattery too.

What about safety?

On the motorway, you can (if you opt for it) be assisted by radar cruise and the steer-helping (but definitely hands-on) 'Pilot Assist' feature. It holds lanes much more smoothly and tenaciously than when it was launched on the XC90. Even if you go fully DIY, the steering's centring is calibrated to hold a lane well.

Volvo's City Safety system, standard across the range, doesn't just detect vehicles, people and cyclists. Its sensors are now calibrated to react to large animals (since few of our cities have roaming moose, you need to know that despite the name, it also works beyond town limits). And, in a first, it'll also do the very quick calculations needed to recognise the rapid closing speeds of a head-on collision and apply useful braking to soften, although not avoid, a ghastly crash.

Highlights from the range

the fastest

Volvo V60 2.0 T6 [350] Recharge PHEV Plus Dark 5dr AWD Auto
  • 0-625.4s
  • CO2
  • BHP350
  • MPG
  • Price£48,325

the cheapest

Volvo V60 2.0 B3P Momentum 5dr Auto [7 speed]
  • 0-628.6s
  • CO2
  • BHP163
  • MPG
  • Price£34,570

the greenest

Volvo V60 2.0 D3 Momentum [Leather] 5dr
  • 0-629.9s
  • CO2117.0g/km
  • BHP150
  • MPG
  • Price£34,650
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