UK business is booming for Swedish car manufacturer Volvo with sales being the best in 20 years as they have shaken off their dated image of producing big boxy cars and estates and now have a range of stylish models incorporating new frugal and refined engines with low emissions writes Bryan Longworth.
I am reminded most days of those huge square Volvo estates of yesteryear when a local painter and decorator drives past my home in one of them full of decorating materials with ladders on top which was why I appreciated the sleek shape of one of the latest Volvo estate cars.
It was the Volvo V60 D4 Geartronic which Volvo say is for people who need the versatility of an estate but want the handling of a “sports sedan” in a stylish Scandanavian package which was very true and this must be one of the most attractive cars that Volvo has ever produced.
For the cool styling of the test car provided it with the appearance of a sports coupe light years away from the brick like shape of the aforementioned Volvo estate making it a formidable competitor for such rivals as the BMW 3 Series Touring and the Audi A4 Avant.
And to make the V60 even better it was powered by one of the latest D4 engines from Volvo a 2.0-litre 181hp unit with an eight speed automatic gearbox which had vital statistics of a top speed of 140mph, zero to 62mph time of 7.6 seconds, a combined fuel consumption of 67.3mpg and CO2 emissions of 109g/km
It was the Business Edition priced at ?24,645 which was loaded with options and accessories such as collision warning with auto brake, xenon headlights, the automatic gearbox and water repellent front side laminated windows plus other features which took the total price of the test car to £32,825.
One of the first features about the V60 that impressed in the well appointed cabin was the chunky and heated steering wheel which linked with impressive handling provided the vehicle with steering and handling qualities associated with competitors such as the BMW and Audi that are generally accepted as being among the best in the business.
I also liked the new D4 four cylinder diesel engine which Volvo introduced recently to their range because it provided a very smooth and quiet power delivery as well as being very clean with an outstanding fuel consumption.
Volvo has a reputation for being a very safety conscious company and the test car was fitted with their latest pedestrian and safety system whereby a sensor scans the area ahead of the vehicle and if a cyclist or pedestrian is in danger of being involved in an accident the brakes are automatically applied.
This latest estate does not have the carrying capacity of the gargantuan Volvo estate mentioned earlier but it does have a very useful load area that will be enough for most owners even with the rear seats in place.
The only feature I had to watch closely on the well designed instrument panel was the automatic speed limit indicator next to the speedometer because occasionally it displayed speed limits that were not the same as on some of the roads the car was travelling along.
But overall the V60 is a splendid estate with superb styling that is ideal for owners wanting something different from the the German premium car producers with even more style and it should really impress the bosses of the Chinese company now owning the Scandanavian motor manufacturer.
Model: Volvo V60 D4 Geartronic Business Edition.
Engine: 2.0-litre four cylinder diesel.
Output: 181 hp.
Transmission: eight speed automatic.
Top speed: 140mph.
Acceleration: 0 to 62mph 7.6 seconds.
Fuel consumption: 67.3mpg combined.
CO2 emissions: 109g/km.
Price: £32,825 including options.