Volvo V60 estate (2010) first official picturesMon, 05 Jul 2010
Volvo has unveiled the new V60 estate car, a sleeker kind of estate from the traditionally boxy Swedes. It's the wagon version of the new S60 and it has overtones of the BMW 3-series Touring in the metal. Trust us; we've seen it. It's sleek and lower slung than previous Volvo load luggers and reflects a definite shift in emphasis.
As with the new S60, reviewed in the current July 2010 CAR Magazine, the Scandinavian firm is inching away from its sensible roots and Gothenburg describes the new V60 estate as a sports wagon complete with a 'coupé-like roofline.'
Although it looks nice, the boot space is compromised as a consequence at 430 litres with the seats up, comparing badly with its key rivals; the 3-Series Touring (460l), A4 Avant (490l) and C-Class Estate (485l).
UK customers will get the V60 with 'dynamic' chassis settings as the default setting, which Volvo tells us gives the car the kind of character that makes you want to take out on a country B-road just for a laugh. A Volvo 'sports wagon' and country roads. Interesting.
Even though Volvo insists that the V60 is moving away from its boring and boxy past, the V60 stays true to its safety roots. Like the S60, the V60 features advanced stability control, quickly detecting and nullifying the effects of a potential skid. Coupled with individual wheel braking and torque-vectoring, understeer should be all but cut out.
The new V60 also features advanced pedestrian protection, which notifies the driver if the system detects a potential collision. The computer is also able to automatically bring the car to a standstill if driving at speeds under 21mph and significantly reducing the speed if over this figure, with the focus on minimising pedestrian injury.
Volvo is introducing a range of new engines in the V60 estate that mirrors that in the S60. A four-cylinder 2.0-litre turbo petrol engine produces 203bhp and 221lb ft of torque, while a 240bhp version will be released later in the year.
As well as this, two 1.6-litre versions are being introduced to the range. Derv lovers are given a choice of two five-cylinder engines, a 2.4-litre D5, and a new 2.0-litre D3, alongside an eco friendly 1.6 DRIVe model.
We'll have to wait and see if Volvo sells the 40,000 V60s in Europe that it's predicting, but by the looks of it, coupled with the first drive of its S60 sibling, it might have a very strong chance. Whether it can convince the market it's not an estate car, however, is a different matter.
By Mark Passer