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Stylish Volvo has all the toys

By Ashbourne News Telegraph  |  Posted: November 09, 2012

Volvo V60 D4 R-Design Lux Nav, £39,460

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THE V60 is undoubtedly one of the most handsome cars Volvo has ever produced. Its sweeping lines that pay tribute to the Swedish car maker’s design heritage are woven beautifully into this functional compact estate car.

In R-Design spec, big stylish wheels and sporty detailing all add up to a very visually striking car, and this latest model has every reason to want to stand out in the crowd.

Inside the V60 is no less attractive. R-Design styling details lift the familiar Volvo features, including the quirky floating dashboard, and the sporty figure-hugging seats are every bit as comfortable as you might expect from a Volvo.

The R-Design also gets choice smatterings of silver trim and under the bonnet of my test car was Volvo’s five-cylinder D4 which has plenty of grunt and feels surprisingly sporty for a diesel.

The R-Design also has a lower suspension set-up, which aids road holding and should sharpen up the handling but it doesn’t quite deliver on this promise.

While it always feels very composed, there’s still a little too much body roll and the steering feels numb. The suspension might be firmer and lower, it doesn’t seem to go far enough to sharpen the car up.

Thankfully, though, the ride quality is still acceptable and although ultimately you will find an SE spec model far more comfortable, the R-Design is still a lovely companion on long motorway runs.

Don’t expect a cavernous load bay, either.

While access to the boot is good, its capacity isn’t as good as you might perhaps expect from a Volvo. It’s a fair size, but won’t worry any of its rivals too much.

One option my test car came with is the Driver Support Pack which basically bundles a selection of Volvo’s cleverest driver aids into a £1,850 bolt-on package.

It’s a real mixed bag. while the Blind Spot Information System is better in the V60, it’s still not a patch on the new system appearing in its brand new V40 sibling.

The lane departure warning and collision prevention systems it offers are also hit and miss. If anything they’re over-sensitive and annoying a lot of the time, but perhaps it’s wrong to dismiss so quickly what could be lifesaving additions as they clearly do work very well.

Most impressive is its superb adaptive cruise control — which is an expensive option in itself but, bundled in with the Driver Support Pack, makes more sense. You can always switch the other systems off at times when they’re not likely to be needed.

The V60 is also available with a front view camera—a clever little protrusion mounted to the front grill that uses a lens to relay images from the left and the right when pulling up at an awkward junction.

It’s switched on by pressing a simple dashmounted button and, although it takes a while to trust it fully, it’s an excellent safety feature that you might seldom use but will certainly bless the day you coughed up £405 for it.

In R-Design spec the V60 is at its most attractive, and the extra detailing really sets it apart from some of its relatively mundane comptetition but in some areas it fails to live up to its sporty promises.

That said, unless you’re a really keen driver, there’s nothing to dislike about the way the V60 drives. It always feels safe and secure in every day motoring.

And although it probably makes better sense overall to opt for a more luxury-focussed trim, the thought of a visually appealing Volvo estate with eye-catching design features will certainly appeal to many style-conscious buyers that wouldn’t normally have looked in Volvo’s direction in the past.

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