Volvo announced a new version of the V60 this week, it’s the world’s first diesel plug-in hybrid. The front wheels are powered by a five-cylinder 2.4-litre turbo diesel and the rear axle is powered by an electric motor producing 70 horsepower.
Meanwhile…. The V60 Volvo Ocean Race D3 (above) I have been testing is no stranger to technology and (for a price) has some of the most up to date driving enhancements around.
Named after the world’s most challenging sailing race, it’s special features include 17″ Pontus alloy wheels and various VOR styling and motifs throughout. It dips a toe into Volvo’s golden heritage, and while more elegant than sexy it oozes sophistication. It’s a proper ‘grown up’ car, but one that can still turn heads.
Boring old Volvo drivers of the past wouldn’t it touch with a bargepole.
Safety has always been top of Volvo’s list, and the V60 is no different, obtaining a maximum 5 star Euro NCAP crash rating. It’s not a nice thought, but if I HAD to choose a car to crash in, it would probably be a Volvo.
There are systems to keep you a safe distance from vehicles ahead and should a pedestrian stray, alert sensors both visually and aurally will react instantly (and scare the life out of you).
Volvo have a bold ‘Vision 2020’ mission statement, and their goal is ‘a future when nobody will be killed or seriously injured in a Volvo by 2020‘.
As a commitment to its customers that beats ‘free tax for the 1st year’ hands down.
I tested the manual 6-speed V60 and the car was fitted with excellent ACC (Adaptive Cruise Control) and Distance Alert (approx £1300 extra).
Ok, here is the scenario…
You are on a dual carriageway doing 60mph, you set the cruise control to stay at 60. The car in front suddenly slows down, the very clever ACC ‘knows’ this, and slows your vehicle to a safe distance behind it.
When the car in front speeds up again, so will your V60 (up to 60mph or whatever you have set it to). It’s slightly unnerving at first, and I was hovering over the brake pedal waiting for it to slow down but you get used to it quickly. It’s a similar set up that works well in other top-end vehicles (including the Audi A6), and definitely a window into the future of motoring ‘Total Recall’ cab style.
The system is better suited to an automatic gearbox because if you have to slow right down you’ll need to change gear anyway, so your feet will still be called into action.
Speaking of feet, it’s a small issue, but for a car that is so geared up to driver comfort I was surprised there was no foot rest by the pedals.
Everyone travelling inside this car for long periods will be comfortable, and there are useful Isofix pop-up mini chairs for your smaller passengers that remove the need for a booster seat. If you have the cash, don’t skimp on the electric seat warmers (one of life’s little luxuries, especially this time of year).
The back seats fold down easily and you have got a large 430 litres of space to fill. Although technically I think the V60 is a Coupé, if you buy an estate car you’ll never be short of friends. I found a couple who needed my help in a matter of days.
The interior finish is good and the dashboard of the V60 is top drawer (quite literally), a few more buttons than I would have liked, but the control panel is easy enough to get to grips with, as to is the built in Sat Nav.
As for actually driving the car, the advanced all-aluminium 2.0 litre five-cylinder turbo diesel engine has plenty of poke when you need it and would reach 137mph if you can find anywhere to go that fast. The 6-speed manual gearbox isn’t bad and there is usually always power to spare, personally however I feel the V60 is more suited to an Automatic gearbox.
The brakes are good and not surprisingly it’s much happier on the open road than battling through the urban rush hour. Its long bonnet and overall size (4628mm long) make it feel like a big car and this (together with the manual gearbox) may be why I felt the driving experience to be pleasant, but more detached than I expected. Then again it could have been because (for a lot of the time) the V60 was driving itself.
D3 (163hp) Start/Stop Volvo Ocean Race Edition
0-60mph: 8.9 sec
Top Speed: 137 mph
Combined MPG: 55.4 mpg
CO2 Emmissions: 132 g/km
Current on the road price (from) £27,735.00
For more info visit www.volvocars.com