Quite enjoyable to drive thanks to good body control and fairly comfortable ride, but it's not as fun (or as quiet) as some rivals
Incredibly comfortable driver's seat, but dashboard layout could be clearer
Designed to keep you out of trouble, including City Safety anti-collision system as standard
The V60 feels very well put together and Volvo has a decent reliability record
Plenty of space for passengers and boot is very practical, if not as big as some rivals'
All models get alloy wheels, climate and cruise control, and sat-nav can be added separately to almost every trim level
Volvo's V60 may not be the most exciting car on the road, but it's still pretty good to drive. The ride is a touch firm but things become unsettled only on particularly poor road surfaces. The car feels impressively secure and composed on bends and turns, too, so it's a shame that the over-sensitive steering lets the side down. The V60 isn't as refined as the best compact executive estates, either, with too much wind noise, a rather vague gearshift on manual cars and some slightly gruff engines. We like the 1.6-litre DRIVe diesel the most, which is brisk enough for most needs and promises the best fuel economy.
Like other Volvos, the V60's seats are fantastically comfortable - they're both spacious and supportive. The only exception is the centre rear seat - the passenger here not only has to straddle a huge hump in the floor (which houses certain mechanisms) but must suffer a very hard seat back, presumably because it also carries a drinks-cum-knick-knack-holder on its reverse, which can be folded down to be used by the outer two passengers. Folding this down also creates a window through to the boot which means it's ideal for carrying longer items, such as skis, while still providing four seats. Driver visibility is good, but the dashboard is a little overladen with buttons and the on-screen menus that control some functions are quite confusing.
There's not quite as much boot space as you'd find in key rivals such as the BMW 3 Series Touring or Audi A4 Avant. However, the rear seats fold completely flat without the need to flip the bases or remove the headrests, so it converts very easily into a cargo transporter. There's enough head and legroom for four adults, too. Younger children on booster seats may struggle to see over the high rear window line, however. Alloy wheels, cruise control and climate control are standard on every V60, with SE adding smarter trim, Bluetooth and an upgraded stereo. SE Lux adds leather, electric seats and active headlights, while R-Design trims add stiffer suspension. You can also upgrade every trim except the Business Edition to add sat-nav.
Volvo's reliability record is generally good, and the brand came seventh out of 27 manufacturers in the 2013 JD Power owner survey, while owners rated the V60 'above average' for mechanical reliability. The V60's safety credentials are impressive, too, with all models including six airbags, stability control and Volvo's City Safety system which prevents low-speed collisions. The options list includes an array of advanced safety features including a pedestrian detector. The car scored the maximum five stars in crash tests by Euro NCAP, including 94% for adult protection and a respectable 82% for child protection. The Hyundai i40 and Toyota Avensis offered slightly better child protection in the same tests.
The V60 may not be as spacious or as good to drive as the equivalent Audi, BMW and Mercedes rivals but it is cheaper - and considerably more comfortable - and you'll be able to pay even less if you take advantage of discounts available from dealers. The Volvo won't hold on to its value as well as the German cars do, however. Fuel economy and CO2 emissions are competitive, if not quite as good as the best.