20 Oct 2013

Volvo V60 D3 R-Design first impressions and gallery

I've got a Volvo V60 D3 on loan for a week.  I've had it two days and driven 200 miles.  Here's an initial review and photo gallery

Anyone who's read a Speedmonkey review knows our car reviews are honest and free from commercial considerations.  You'll also know I've got a sweet spot for sports cars with a decent chunk of power and that handle like a roller skate.  I also dislike diesels, naff interiors and cheap materials.

Bear all of that in mind when I say the 136bhp, diesel, estate, Volvo V60 D3 R-Design is utterly brilliant and quite simply one of the best cars for cruising around our overcrowded, poorly paved isle.

It costs £33,195 but the test car costs £41,005 with options, which include too many items to recount here but the most important of which are Geartronic Transmission and (£1,485) and Driver Support Pack (£1,900).  You should allow for these when speccing a V60.  The Driver Support Pack includes adaptive cruise control which is utterly fabulous.

I drove down a boring M4 (full of lane-hogging morons), into Wales and halfway through Barry, almost entirely using ACC, just to test it out.  As long as you make sure the speed you set is relevant to the road it does everything else.  You can even see the brake pedal moving.  It works in traffic but after you've come to a complete halt you need to tickle the throttle to get it going again.

This, and the fact the interior of the V60 is better than those in similar cars from the big three German car companies make this the ideal motor for drivers who spend a lot of time on the road.

The 5-cylinder, 2-litre engine is the most refined diesel I've driven aside from the Range Rover SDV8.  The iPhone integration is simplicity itself.

The materials used in the cabin are all great and the design and splashes of aluminium look fantastic.  The seats are some of the best I've ever sat in.

The lights are typical Volvo, which means they are the best on the market.  You get your own personal patch of daylight in the dark and can leave high beam on all the time, as it dips itself when other vehicles hove into view.

In short I'm having a ball in the V60 despite the fact it breaks all my rules of what a makes a good car.  It's front wheel drive, it's a diesel, it's automatic and it doesn't have, much power.

0-60mph takes 9.8 seconds, but you don't really notice.  It's one of those cars, like the Honda Civic 1.6 i-DTEC, that has so much vim you forgive the lack of acceleration and appreciate other aspects of it.  Such as the 57.6mpg and 129 g/km of CO2, which means it'll be cheap to run.  Over 200 miles I've averaged 42.3mpg, and driven it quite hard.

With all that good stuff, what's wrong with it?  Really, only lack of flappy paddles.  The auto gearbox is good, but it does need paddles.  You have to mash the throttle to get speed out of a corner.  Pulling on a paddle is so much more refined.

I'm running the V60 for a few more days and will publish a full review afterwards.  If it ever stops raining I'll record a video review too.

Volvo V60 D3 R-Design

Article by Matt Hubbard