Tested: 2011 Volvo V60 D3

The avant-garde confusion

Many of my reviews start with confessions or apologies and this one’s no different. The last Volvo I tested was an utter disappointment but I’m not about to apologise for poking holes in it, much rather confessing that I wasn’t looking forward to testing this V60 estate.

Volvos underwent quite a metamorphosis in the past few years to evolve from the boxy definition of reason into cars that tempt the masses with Nordic avant-garde design. Especially their insides, with loony two-tone colours and wafer-thin dashboard components, got my thumbs up.

I’m unsure about the exterior’s design and proportions but hasten to add that they define an inimitable style – that drooping nose flanked by glitzy lights, the sloping profile (with stylish coupé elements in this model) and the curvy rear lights are unquestionably Volvo.

I kept calling this the V30 or V50; because the car’s tight body belies the S/V60 size and space on offer. Volvo estates of old were an eight meter long symphony of right angles, but this Scandinavian station wagon looks positively taught and funky by comparison.

Its interior is wonderfully different, very well put together, and oozes Swedish charm wherever you look. The differing leather textures, bizarre seats, swooping silver door inlays, minimalist buttons and dials with chunky lettering are just as pleasing as the car’s features list.

All powered and automatic goodies are present, noteworthy inclusions are anti-whiplash front seats, B-pillar air vents and about a million airbags. The options list is quite substantial, often confusing, but Volvo does offer combo packages to make your purchase a little easier.

Our test vehicle was fitted with a super-crisp radio/CD/mp3 sound system that could almost be maxed out, Bluetooth telephone interface, a very noisy parking assistant and City Safety – Volvo’s low-speed collision avoidance system. Six friends, a blanket and an empty parking garage helped to confirm that it works flawlessly.

The V60 is available in so many derivatives (seven, to be precise) that it was delivered with a colourful brochure to explain the differences between the T3, T4, 2.0T, T5, D5, T6 and this here D3 model. All T models are turbo-charged petrol models, D means (turbo-) Diesel, and the numbers, as far as I can work out, bear no significance whatsoever.

The D3 motor is a 1984cc 20-valve in-line four-cylinder turbo-Diesel worth 120kW (163hp) or 400Nm. Our six-speed manual model claims averages of 5.5L/100km and 144g CO2/km, noting 0-100km/h in 9.4 seconds (we managed 9.7) and a top whack of 220km/h. So, umm… What’s the “3” in D3 for?

This engine gets rather lazy after 3,000rpm so the shortly stacked six forward gears help to keep things moving. Fifth and sixth aren’t spaced far enough from their forbears in the shift pattern, but in all fairness, I never hit third or fourth by accident and the tall final drive helps with fuel efficiency.

The V60 is easy to drive with its light clutch, vicious brakes and meaty steering; the turning radius isn’t great and although it demands 50ppm Diesel, the range from its 68L tank is phenomenal. Road holding and ride comfort are both good. Yes, good. Volvo estates don’t do power-slides or lap times.

Torque-steer, under-steer and axle hop stay within tolerable limits and remind you that you’ve bought the wrong car for hooliganism. This Volvo’s strength lies in its comprehensive features, quiet and frugal engine, family friendliness and sophisticated manners.

Prices range from a reasonable N$317,700 to an unbelievable N$499,900 with the D3 Manual costing N$362,700. Included in this competitive price is the 5 year / 100,000km Volvo Plan and the further choice of five wheel designs and 15 colours.


Gallery


Prices

May 2011

T3 Manual…………………………..N$317,700.00
T4 Manual…………………………..N$341,900.00
T3 Manual R-Design…………..N$342,900.00
T4 Powershift………………………N$359,300.00
D3 Manual…………………………..N$362,700.00
2.0T Manual………………………..N$366,000.00
T4 Manual R-Design…………..N$367,100.00
D3 Geartronic……………………..N$376,800.00
2.0T Powershift…………………..N$382,100.00
T4 Powershift R-Design……..N$384,600.00
D3 Manual R-Design………….N$387,900.00
T5 Manual……………………………N$390,300.00
2.0T Manual R-Design………..N$391,300.00
D3 Geartronic R-Design………N$402,100.00
T5 Powershift……………………….N$406,300.00
2.0T Powershift R-Design….. N$407,300.00
T5 Manual R-Design…………….N$415,500.00
D5 Geartronic………………………..N$418,300.00
T5 Powershift R-Design………..N$431,600.00
D5 Geartronic R-Design………..N$443,600.00
T6 AWD Geartronic…………………N$474,700.00
T6 AWD Geartronic R-Design…N$499,900.00

 

Performance

0-10km/h:    0.7s
0-20km/h:    1.5s
0-30km/h:    2.0s
0-40km/h:    2.6s
0-50km/h:    3.4s
0-60km/h:    4.0s
0-70km/h:    4.9s
0-80km/h:    6.7s
0-90km/h:    7.9s
0-100km/h:    9.7s
0-110km/h:    11.6s
0-120km/h:    14.2s
0-130km/h:    16.3s
0-140km/h:    19.0s

0-100m:        6.8s / 80.3km/h
0-200m:        10.5s / 104.0km/h
0-300m:        13.6s / 117.2km/h
0-400m:        16.5s / 130.8km/h

0-60mph:    9.1s
1/4mile:    16.5s @ 81.4mph (131.0km/h)

=====ADDITIONAL NOTES=====

Temp       17°C
Climate     Cool, overcast
Altitude    101m
Road        Dry tarmac, level
Occupants  Driver, no passengers
Fuel level    2/3

Leave a Comment