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Car reviews - Volvo - V60 - Polestar

Our Opinion

We like
Tough and sporty looks, adjustable suspension for excellent handling, high level of safety features, premium cabin, impressive acceleration and grip, addictive engine note
Room for improvement
Poor rear visibility through rear windows, small cargo area, brakes could be beefed up

Gallery

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Volvo logo2 Feb 2015

By RICHARD BERRY

Price and equipment

AT $102,990, plus on road costs the V60 Polestar is $3440 more than its sedan sibling making it the most expensive Volvo currently on the market. Until the arrival of the new-gen XC90 in August.

Distinguishing it from lesser wagons is an exterior features list that includes 20-inch Polestar alloy rims (plus a space-saver spare), Polestar front splitter, rear diffuser and roof spoiler, solid-black grille and black wing mirror covers, Polestar badging and bi-Xenon active-bending headlights with LED daytime running lights.

Standard inside are Nubuck leather sports seats, while the door trims and Polestar steering wheel are covered in the same material, there’s Polestar tread plates, a floating carbon-fibre centre stack, illuminated gear shift knob and alloy pedals.

The V60 Polestar comes loaded with in-car technology such as an adaptive digital instrument cluster, keyless entry and ignition, Volvo’s Sensus connect infotainment system with a 7.0-inch screen and navigation, 12-speaker Harman Kardon sound system, heated/power front seats and rain-sensing wipers.

Audi’s S4 Avant is the V60 Polestar’s direct competitor in terms of size, performance and its $108,500 price tag. BMW doesn’t have an answer to the V60 Polestar, but Mercedes-Benz does with its new hi-po 450 AMG Estate due to land here next year for about $110,000.

In the meantime another sporty load-lugger to consider is HSV’s Clubsport R8 Tourer Aussie muscle wagon for a lot less dosh at $76,490.

Interior

The minimalist and stylish cabin of the regular V60 gets an even more premium and sporty touch in the Polestar version. Up front those leather seats are as comfortable as they are hugely supportive, while looking sexy with their contoured design and blue stitching. In the back, the seats are a bit flatter and harder but legroom is ample.

It would pay for many car company design bosses to sit in the driver’s seat of a V60 Polestar and stare at the digital instrument cluster for a while because it’s not only beautiful, it’s easy to read, accurate and clever with its adaptive display.

The transparent and illuminated shifter is a nice touch, too.

The V60’s sleek and tapered profile means it won’t be the roomiest wagon in your suburb and its 430-litre cargo volume falls short of the 490 litres in Benz’s C-Class Estate.

And in another example of form winning over function is the lack of rear visibility through the high and tiny rear windscreen – although this is compensated for by the reversing camera.

Engine and transmission

In the V60 Polestar’s snout is a 3.0-litre 258kW/500Nm turbo-charged six-cylinder petrol engine which yells loud enough make the entire street sit bolt upright in their beds when Sport mode is selected and opens the lungs on the full-flow exhaust with 3.5-inch dual tips. Apologies to the neighbours – much time was spent driving like this, so addictive is the sound.

Transmission is a six speed automatic with power being sent to all four wheels through a revised Haldex all-wheel drive system.

Volvo claims an average combined fuel consumption of 10.3 litres per 100km, but ours was returning 16.1L/100km most likely thanks to a heavy right foot.

New for the latest V60 Polestar is improved throttle response and launch control.

Ride and handling

The 2015 update to the V60 Polestar saw Volvo replace the 19-inch wheels with a 8.0 x 20-inch version and in doing so the Swedish car-maker had to then revise the suspension, too.

Some cars have adjustable suspension that can be set with a push of a button, but the V60 Polestar requires the driver to get out and adjust the shocks manually. It sounds crazy, but it’s better in many ways because up to 20 settings for each wheel can be selected to tailor the car’s ride and handling to exactly how you like it.

It’s not hard to do – there’s a screw on the side of the shock absorber which clicks when you twist it for each level of firmness.

Our test car was set on 10 for both front and back and it proved ideal for everyday road driving. It’s firm enough to ensure flat cornering, without a bone-jarring ride.

As a daily driver the V60 Polestar does feel special even if other commuters may just think it’s just a Volvo with a spoiler. What they don’t know is this car is special, having been tuned, tested and honed in Australia before being unleashed on the rest of the planet.

Sure it’s not as quick and hardcore as a Mercedes-Benz C63 Estate, but it’s a capable beastie that will give almost anything sitting at the traffic lights a scare with its 0-100km/h time of 5.0 seconds.

Grip from the 245/35 ZR20 Michelin Pilot Super Sports is seriously impressive, but brakes (Brembo 371mm x 32mm at the front and 302mm x 32mm at the rear) could be beefed up for more stopping power.

Safety and servicing

Volvo has long been a synonym for safety so its no surprise the five-star crash rated V60 Polestar comes standard with an extensive suite of protective features such as its City Safety system, Emergency Brake Assist, Collision Warning and Auto-Brake, Lane Departure Warning, Queue Assist with Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, automatic high beam control and Blind Spot warning with Cross Traffic Alert. Of course there’s ABS, stability control, plus front and rear parking sensors.

Verdict

The V60 Polestar may be the most expensive Volvo in the showroom, but you’ll be hard pressed to find this combination of premium quality, performance and safety for a better price. A tough-looking exterior and refined cabin make this a beautiful beast.

Rivals

Audi S4 Avant $108,500 plus on-road costs – 245kW/440Nm
Just a tenth of second slower from 0-100km/h than the V60, the S4 is a ballistic weapon for track and road but a bit more practical with its larger cargo volume of 490 litres. Those not into the Volvo’s heavier steering may prefer the Audi’s lighter tiller.

HSV’s Clubsport R8 Tourer $76,490 plus on-road costs – 340kW/570Nm
Thought the S4 Avant was the hi-po load king? Well HSV’s Clubbie wagon has an 895-litre cargo capacity and can still haul itself from 0-100km/h in five seconds thanks to its 6.3-litre V8 LS3. Oh and it’s almost 40 grand less giving you brilliant bang for buck.

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