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Volvo V60 2020 review: T5 Inscription

The Volvo V60 has a sleek and sophisticated, understated style.

Are wagons the new SUVs? Not exactly. But looking at the Volvo V60 you’d be hard pressed not to be magnetically attracted to it. It’s just so well designed.

Wagons are a good fit for families because they have the interior space of an SUV without the bulk, and to be honest, I lean towards them aesthetically.

Wagons are a good fit for families. Wagons are a good fit for families.

This V60 I test drove is the V60 T5 Inscription and it’s second in a range of four models. 

It competes with cars like the Audi A4 Avant and VW Passat and costs $62,990 before on-road costs and extras - of which there are a few.

Here’s how it did over seven days of driving for this week’s family review

How does it drive?

The Volvo V60 is a very smooth operator on the road. There are no lurchy bits, no awkward stop/start motions at the traffic lights, no jerky gear changes. Everything works really well together. 

There is a 2.0-litre turbo-petrol engine and that is a good amount of power to get up hills quickly without the engine growling. It breezes along highways so I felt confident while overtaking. 

The V60 is a smooth operator. The V60 is a smooth operator.

The whole V60 range is AWD which gives you better traction on unstable road surfaces and when it’s wet.

And while it might not have the bulk of an SUV, it certainly has more length, so you’ll need to find larger car spaces. Still, I managed to squeeze into the tightest car park on the school run this week.

There’s a hi-res reverse parking camera and you can switch the view to 360 degrees when you need it.

The whole V60 range is AWD which gives you better traction. The whole V60 range is AWD which gives you better traction.

What does it look like?

Volvos (that’s plural, not a typo) have a coveted, understated luxe look. It’s sleek, sophisticated and you almost feel like that rubs off on you when you’re driving them - one of the best things about this V60’s exterior.

The elongated design is chic and everything from the headlights to the tail-lights oozes style. 

The elongated design is chic. The elongated design is chic.

Inside gives you the same feeling. There are premium finishes throughout which are still understated and never flashy, that’s not the Volvo way.

Instead it speaks through choice of fabrics - nappa leather performated seats (an extra $2950 - the standard seats are listed as leather, so I’m sure they would be fine regardless), a leather steering wheel, and a mix of matt black, metallics and high gloss black finishes around the centre console. 

The multimedia screen is a centrepiece. It’s large and tablet shaped which makes it functional, as well.

The multimedia screen is a centrepiece. The multimedia screen is a centrepiece.

The test car was fitted with a large panoramic sunroof which extends down to the backseat. It’s part of the 'Premium Pack' which also includes tinted rear windows and a premium sound system for $5200.

The thing about a Volvo is that while it’s super luxe, it’s never too much or too over-the-top. It’s the stealth luxury car. 

The thing about a Volvo is that while it’s super luxe, it’s never too much or too over-the-top. The thing about a Volvo is that while it’s super luxe, it’s never too much or too over-the-top.

How spacious is it?

Interior space is great for a family of four. The front has lots of leg and headroom, even with the sunroof it’s good for the taller members of my family, and you don’t feel too close to the passenger seat either. There is enough airspace for both people in the front. 

The front has lots of leg and headroom. The front has lots of leg and headroom.

The back is nice and roomy with enough space for my two children aged six and eight. I’m comfortable back there at 161cm and there is so much space between my knees and the seat in front that taller teenagers and adults will have plenty of room to sit for long journeys. 

The back is nice and roomy. The back is nice and roomy.

And the boot is large. At 529L it’s bigger than a lot of mid-size SUVs, though the shape is different - it’s wide and long rather than high.

At 529L it’s a bigger boot than a lot of mid-size SUVs. At 529L it’s a bigger boot than a lot of mid-size SUVs.

That’s a good thing because you don’t want to stack things so high that it blocks your vision out the back window.

The V60 was able to fit the bulky CarsGuide pram as well as the bulky baby capsule side by side, and I tried to do the same thing in the next mid-size SUV I drove but couldn’t fit both. Which is saying something. 

The V60 was able to fit the pram and baby capsule side by side. The V60 was able to fit the pram and baby capsule side by side.

You’ll have enough room for groceries, school bags and sporting equipment.

How easy is it to use every day?

There’s a lot of automation going on, from keyless entry to the boot opening and closing with a button, to the sunroof and the front seats which are power adjustable. You still have to turn the park brake off to drive but it turns on automatically.

There are two cupholders in the front, a lockable glove box, a small spot for keys and a phone, bottle holders in each door and a decent sized centre storage bin. 

Rear passengers get two cupholders and two other storage spots for iPad and games console in the centre armrest, plus their own climate control which my children really appreciated in this hot weather.

Climate control in the back is great for children in hot weather. Climate control in the back is great for children in hot weather.

What’s the tech like?

The 9.0-inch multimedia screen looks great and is functional. Apple CarPlay and Android Auto is standard which means you can control the tech with the touchscreen and it’s easy to use maps to navigate and a streaming app for music, plus making calls without actually touching your phone is a joy. 

This car is fitted with Bowers & Wilkins speakers as a part of the Premium Pack ($5200) and the sound is excellent. 

This car is fitted with Bowers & Wilkins speakers as a part of the Premium Pack. This car is fitted with Bowers & Wilkins speakers as a part of the Premium Pack.

How safe is it?

There are seven airbags in total that cover driver and front passenger and side curtain airbags that extend to the back row. Advanced safety includes auto emergency braking with pedestrian and cyclist detection, rear AEB, lane keeping assist with lane departure warning and blind spot monitoring and rear cross traffic alert, collision warnings and park assist.

The Volvo V60 hasn’t been ANCAP tested yet but scored five stars on the Euro NCAP test. There are two ISOFIX points and three top tether points to fix child car seats in safely. 

There are two ISOFIX points and three top tether points to fix child car seats in safely. There are two ISOFIX points and three top tether points to fix child car seats in safely.

How much does it cost to own?

The Volvo V60 T5 Inscription costs $62,990 before on road costs and extras. This car was fitted with the Premium Pack ($5200), the nappa leather front seats ($2950), the power outlet in the back seat ($1400) and metallic paint ($1400). It takes the total to $74,040.

Fuel consumption is a claimed 7.3L/100km and it’s covered by Volvo’s three year/unlimited km warranty. Servicing is required every 15,000km or 12 months.

The V60 is covered by Volvo’s three year/unlimited km warranty. The V60 is covered by Volvo’s three year/unlimited km warranty.


The Wrap

I had a great week driving the Volvo V60. There were boxes to be picked up which fit easily in the car, there was enough space for the family, it feels luxe and it drives beautifully. I don’t think you have to go to the top of the range to get a great car but you may want to anyway because that’s the one with the hybrid engine.

I gave it a family rating of 8.3 out of 10 and my kids gave it an 8.5. They loved the rear climate control and the giant sunroof. 

Likes

Beautifully designed
Large interior and boot
Great safety

Dislikes

Lengthy to park
Warranty could be better
Pricey paint options

Scores

Nedahl:

4.2

The Kids:

4.3

$62,990

Based on new car retail price

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