VOLVO V60 R-DESIGN: safer than houses….

1168828_189097_volvo_v60_polestar_location_staticCARS these days come with a multitude of safety gadgets and built in features that a) you’ll never see, and b) hopefully you’ll never need.

On your average Volvo, you get more than most because that’s part of the thing about driving a Volvo – you want to feel REALLY safe.

So I prostrate myself at the feet of the member of the Swedish team who decided that they should include “City Safety” Collision Warning with Full Auto Brake into the spec list – because that’s why I avoided a side-on collision with an artic that pulled across in front of me on a roundabout.

My reactions are pretty quick but the V60 was quicker, hauling the car to a halt before the inevitable.

So there you are. Buy a Volvo V60 D4 R-Design Nav (£32,995) and it’ll do its damnest to keep you alive.

It helps that you’re buying into one of the neatest estates currently available.

1168936_189125_volvo_s60_and_v60_polestar_interiorSomething that is far away from the worthy but dull Volvos of old.
One with the looks that hint that it might be an enjoyable car to drive. Which it is..And one which has aerodynamic proportions diametrically opposed to the old housebrick styling of the past.

Volvo have set their sights here firmly on a new breed of owner – one a bit younger than their traditional customer base and who doesn’t necessarily need a tartan travel rug for the knees of his front seat passenger.

The new V60 has a sweeping, coupe-like roofline which instantly makes it their best looking estate so far. By a country mile.

And the good news is the smart new look doesn’t mean they’ve forgotten what most of us buy Volvos for – practicality. There’s still a good amount of boot space before you even think of folding the rear seats but watch your head when loading up as that sweeping roof line brings the clearance down a bit.

The two litre D4 diesel unit fitted here offers a very acceptable 190hp and 400Nm of pulling torque yet in manual form will give you a claimed 60.6mpg on the combined cycle.

It’s a smooth operator on the road with a good honest spread of power but the one thing you will notice is that the steering has a chunky feel to it – a deviation from the over-servoed offering of many manufacturers. In a way it’s preferable as you get a lot more feel fed back through the wheel.

1168922_189122_volvo_s60_and_v60_polestar_interiorYou’ll go a long way to find a tidier dash design than a Volvo and the V60 doesn’t disappoint – no car I know has a simpler ventilation system to operate and the main instrumentation is clarity personified: big digital speed display with the rev counter running round the outside ring, and a nice clear seven inch display screen. Swedish design to the fore again.

And safety with a big capital S – kit includes collision warning, pedestrian and cyclist detection, distance alert that shows up on the windscreen, lane keeping aid, blind spot info system with cross traffic alert, active bending xenon lights and a rear park assist camera.

The V60 maintains the fun-to-drive qualities and performance of its four-door S60 counterpart but offers more space and versatility.

FASTFACTS: Volvo V60 R-Design; £32,995 (range starts at £23,075); 1969cc four cylinder diesel, 190hp, 400Nm; six speed manual gearbox; top speed 140mph, 0-60mph 7.2secs; fuel – urban 62.8, extra urban 76.3, combined 70.6; CO2 104g/km.