What are you driving?
This sleek looking estate is the Volvo V60 in its range-topping 'Inscription' specification, powered by the D4 diesel engine, likely to be a popular choice with buyers. It slots into the Volvo range below the larger V90 and lists among its rivals the Audi A4 Avant, BMW 3 Series Touring and Mercedes-Benz C-Class Estate. We'd also list the Skoda Superb Combi due to its price.
The D4 version gets the 190hp 2.0-litre turbocharged four-cylinder diesel engine. To that Volvo fits its eight-speed automatic transmission, which in this case sends power to the front wheels. It's a fairly conventional setup, but Volvo executes it very well. The engine can seem a bit coarse at times, mainly when worked higher in the rev range, which you'll need to do if you want to reach its maximum power output. The auto does tend to keep the engine speeds lower to make better use of the 400Nm of torque that's available, though.
Though this is one of the most powerful versions of the V60, it never feels particularly quick. The upside is that the fuel economy is quite decent, even if the automatic model isn't quite as frugal as the manual. Still, for the little difference between the two, the automatic should be nicer to live with and justifies the €2,000 or so price premium.
Name its best bits
The interior of the V60 has the same high quality that you would expect to see in a similar Audi or BMW. On range-topping Inscription models, there's leather upholstery and electrically adjustable front seats, which include seat heating as part of the Winter Pack. It features Volvo's own detailed Census infotainment system, although the unit in the V60 is a little smaller than that in the S90 and XC90. However, it's just as lovely to use and supports smartphone integration via Bluetooth and USB.
There is also a good selection of driver assistance systems, many of which work better than rival offerings. The adaptive cruise control's functionality is one of the highlights.
Anything that bugs you?
In certain instances, like when driving the V60 harder, the diesel engine can sound a bit uncouth. However, that is one of the few chinks in the Volvos dynamic and mechanical armour. The middle rear seat does see foot space compromised due to the chunky transmission tunnel as Volvo offers the V60 with all-wheel drive in some markets.
And why have you given it this rating?
As a complete package, the Volvo V60 does a competent job. From its sleek Scandi styling to the high quality of finish to the interior, numerous factors are adding to the V60's desirability. It's every bit as well-finished as other premium offerings although it does come with a price to match. The V60 makes for an ideal family car, but it lacks the engaging driving experience that you get from a BMW 3 Series. However, over long distances, it's superb, delivering refinement and economy in generous amounts.
What do the rest of the team think?
What a classy car the V60 is - I'd be very happy to own one. It looks ace inside and out, is civilised to drive and this D4 version has loads of performance. Shame the auto gearbox can be a bit jerky and no, it's not as good to drive as the rear-drive Germans, but most won't care about that.
Shane O' Donoghue - Editor
I really like the V60. Not only is it a spacious, comfortable, safe family car, but it's all that and not an SUV. It's also conspicuously handsome. I know it basically looks the same as a V90, but its tighter dimensions just seem to concentrate the niceness of the styling. Plus, it has a verifiably brilliant interior. It's only OK to drive, compared to rivals like the 3 Series and C-Class, but that's OK by me.
Neil Briscoe - Editor-at-large