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Car reviews - Volvo - V60 - 5-dr wagon range

Launch Story

Volvo logo30 Mar 2011

By BYRON MATHIOUDAKIS

VOLVO’S Australian volume aspirations have been boosted with the arrival of the V60 ‘sports wagon’, just six months after its international debut at the 2010 Paris Motor Show.

Priced from $54,950 for the base T5, the Swedish-built mid-sized five-seater hits the ground running, offering as much as 224kW in terms of power ($67,950 T6) or as little as 7.1L/100km in fuel consumption ($60,950 D5), to take on the established Teutonic wagon triumvirate of Audi A4 Avant, BMW 3 Series Touring and Mercedes-Benz C-class Estate.

Touted as a five-door ‘coupe’ thanks to its wedgy styling, shallow glass area and typically strong Volvo shoulder line, the V60’s main goal is to accumulate more young buyers for the one-time ultra-conservative brand.

Surprisingly, the wagon’s key dimensions (2776mm wheelbase and 4628mm overall length) are shared with the latest S60 sedan on which it is based, but the cargo capacity rises from 380 to 430 litres due to the extended roofline. With the rear seats down, this increases to 1241 litres.

The transverse-mounted engine drives either the front or all four wheels in the optional all-wheel-drive models.

All three Euro 5-emissions engines in the V60 range at launch feature forced induction.

First up is the T5’s 2.0-litre twin-cam 16-valve GTDI four-cylinder petrol powerplant, an aluminium unit with a novel new steel (rather than cast iron) turbo, which produces 177kW of power at 5500rpm and 320Nm of torque from 1800 to 5000rpm, for a 7.7-second 0-100km/h sprint time on the way to a 205km/h maximum speed. It returns 8.7L/100km and 205g/km.

A highly modified form of this engine will ultimately power the upcoming Ford Falcon and Mondeo EcoBoost models.

The T5 employs Ford’s Powershift six-speed dual-clutch transmission while other V60s use Volvo’s six-speed Geartronic torque converter automatic. No manual is available for now.

Better fuel economy is available from the 2.4-litre twin-cam five-cylinder D5 – a twin-turbo diesel familiar to XC60 owners, pumping out 151kW at 4000rpm and 420Nm from 1500 to 3250rpm. It is just 0.5 seconds slower to 100km/h than the T5, has a top speed of 188km/h and returns 7.1L/100km and 188g/km.

Topping the line is the T6, which uses the company’s proven 3.0-litre in-line six-cylinder twin-cam petrol engine, delivering 224kW at 5600rpm and 440Nm from 2100 to 4200rpm. Putting the ‘velocity’ in V60, it reaches 100km/h in just 6.2 seconds on the way to an electronically limited 250km/h, while consumption and emissions ratings are 10.3L/100km and 247g/km.

Underpinning all models is a MacPherson strut front and multi-link independent rear suspension system, and electro-hydraulic powered rack-and-pinion steering. For $800 extra, a speed-sensitive set-up is available.

Volvo said it has improved the steering feel, added stiffer springs and bushes, and added more damping in the V60 over other Volvo and Ford models that employ the companies’ EUCD platform.

The V60 is available with Volvo’s optional $4175 FOUR-C (Continuously Controlled Chassis Concept) active chassis that uses electronically controlled dampers to create a range of settings from soft (comfort) to firm (sporty handling).

The Haldex AWD system has been recalibrated for a more dynamic set-up.

The maximum braked-trailer weights are 1600kg for the T5 and 2000kg for the other two models.

Volvo claims that Scandinavian design and influences formed a large part of the V60’s interior architecture, with an emphasis on family practicality remaining a long-time brand tradition.

As a result, the newcomer includes what is currently the only 40/20/40-split rear seat with individual fold-flat capability in its class, combined with a fold-flat front passenger seat for added flexibility and exceptionally long flat cargo floor opportunities.

Other attributes include rear seat headrests that can be folded electrically, a 1095mm-wide tailgate for easier loading, hidden storage areas within the cargo area and outboard rear seats with Volvo’s integrated child booster cushions.

Safety remains a Volvo byword, with all V60 models boasting Pedestrian Detection with full auto brake. This can detect if a pedestrian steps out into the road in front of the car and, if the driver does not respond in time, will automatically activate the brakes.

Also fitted is the City Safety device pioneered by the XC60 two years ago, which automatically brakes the car if the driver fails to react in time to a braking vehicle or (metallic) static object ahead.

The two technologies boost an already lavish level of safety gear that includes Emergency Brake Light (EBL), ABS brakes, a full suite of airbags, whiplash protection headrests, stability and traction control and Volvo’s ROPS rollover protection system.

Optional safety equipment includes a third-generation Adaptive Cruise Control system that combines Collision Warning with Full Auto Braking (CWAB), Queue Assist, Pedestrian Detection and distance alert technology and Lane Departure Warning combined with Driver Alert.

Standard features include climate control air-con with a cabin pollen filter, cruise control, one-touch electric windows all round, retractable and heated exterior mirrors, a powered driver’s seat with memory for seat and mirrors, leather trim, remote central locking, auto wipers, rear parking radar, Bluetooth connectivity and alloy wheels.

The base model has a five-inch colour screen, radio/MP3/CD/USB eight-speaker audio with steering wheel-mounted controls.

Finally, Volvo offers its R-Design upgrade, bringing sportier looks via a body kit and other exterior (and interior) enhancements, along with a 15mm lower chassis for improved driving dynamics.

Volvo Car Australia hopes to sell around 500 V60s this year, with the T5 accounting for the largest share of volume.

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