They say beauty is in the eye of the beholder but for the Volvo V60 that’s simply not true – everyone loves the look of this classy estate.
Britain’s love affair with the estate car is long and well documented. We Brits simply love a load lugger, thanks to their propensity to swallow pretty much anything you throw at them.
Dogs? No problem. Blow up paddleboard and a bbq? Down in one. A ridiculous amount of Ikea boxes that only a lunatic world purchase without a van? The Volvo’s your man/car.
That might sound like it’s coming from someone with experience of them all, and you’d be right. Whatever I’ve thrown at, or in, the Volvo V60 it’s swallowed up with room to spare.
During the last few months, it’s helped with an office move, a post-lockdown garden centre raid and countless trips to the beach.
I’ve been testing this Volvo out for what’s approaching 10 months and in that time I’ve come to realise that you simply don’t need anything other than an estate car.
Don’t get me wrong, some SUVs float my boat – but they’ll never look as handsome as a tourer. More than once now I’ve been stopped at petrol pumps or in car parks and told I own a ‘great looking car’.
I lent the Volvo to a colleague the other week and even they came back with a report of how they’d been stopped by a couple who were desperate to know what the colour was. It’s Maple Brown if you’re wondering.
I’ve used that story to chastise my colleagues who laughed me out of the office (back when we were allowed in there) when they heard I’d ordered a brown car.
I think it helps that the V60 has the blond leather interior which not only makes it look like a cup of well-stirred coffee, but has an air of country estate about it.
The 20-inch, 10-spoke alloys fill the arches perfectly and the Thor-hammer headlights, smart body kit and lowered sport chassis (£400 option) make this – and I know I’m biased, but I’ll say it anyway – the best-looking estate car on the road.
I know it’s winding the clock back a little, but during the colder months I must say the heated steering wheel and heated windscreen wipers were worth choosing, but I’m not sure the Head-Up Display that comes as part of the same Winter Pack would be something I’d pick if they were available separately.
It’s £1,000 all in and I mostly drive around with it off.
Recently, there have been a few irritations. The Apple CarPlay isn’t reliable and sometimes needs a full reset for it to work again. I’ve tried changing the cable the phone’s connected to and it’s not my handset as others have experienced issues too.
The doors can be frustrating as well. They’re supposed to open when you place your hand around the handle and it senses the key, but one in five times it won’t and you have to try it several times before it opens. And it seems to be happening far more frequently than before.
I’ve mentioned it in previous reports, but the built-in sat nav might as well not be there. It’s not great and when the CarPlay is working, Google Maps beats it hands down every time. All of these are small chinks in the Volvo’s otherwise Viking-strong armoury.
I love the 360-degree parking camera, which makes getting into even the tightest spots a breeze, and for £700 it’s worth choosing.
I can’t recommend the Bower and Wilkins premium sound upgrade (£2,500) highly enough either. You won’t miss live concerts cancelled by coronavirus with this on your drive, that’s for sure.
My time, though, with the V60 is nearing the end. I was supposed to have it for 8,000 miles which normally takes six months or so to clock-up, but thanks to lockdown it’s remained with me for what will be nearly a year by the time it goes back.
For my last few weeks, I’m going to ponder the question: is there anything I’d change on the specification should I order again? I will feed back what I think in my end of term report. Until then, I’ll be continuing to be at the forefront of the campaign for Make Brown Cars Again…
Engine: D4 Diesel
0-60mph: 7.6 seconds
Max speed: 137mph