If there’s one thing we love discussing in the CarAdvice offices, it’s the “pick of the range”. That’s where we sit and chat about which model in a brand’s line-up is the sweetheart of the bunch – the perfect blend of practicality, pricing, equipment and power.
We had such a hearty discussion when we chose our 2015 Volvo V60 long-term loan car, with the decision being almost unanimous in favour of the Luxury specification of the Swedish brand’s wagon.
Powering the wagon is a new 2.0-litre four-cylinder Drive-E unit, which, in its S60 sedan sibling, can be had in T4 guise. The T4 is undoubtedly the pick of the S60 range, with 132kW of power and 240Nm of torque, but you can't get that sweet-spot engine in the V60. Instead, the base engine in that car is the T5, which has 180kW and 350Nm. Sporty!
The T5 is the version we had to go for in the V60. There's a cheaper diesel (the D4, with 133kW/400Nm), or the dearer T6 (which has a thirsty six-cylinder turbo petrol engine and all-wheel drive), but neither of those do it for us to the same degree as this smooth-revving four-pot petrol.
The T5 drivetrain sends power to the front wheels through a new eight-speed automatic, and there’s fuel-saving technology such as stop-start and claimed consumption of 6.8 litres per 100km – respectable, if not class-leading.
The Volvo V60 T5 comes in at a reasonable price of $60,990 plus on-road costs, and for that sum there is also a fairly healthy list of standard equipment.
Highlights of the V60 T5 Luxury include 18-inch alloy wheels, Volvo’s Dynamic chassis, bi-xenon headlights, puddlelights, foglights, satellite navigation, leather trim, a configurable digital instrument cluster, 10-speaker stereo system, reverse-view camera and rear parking sensors, and Volvo’s standard City Safety autonomous emergency braking system. There have already been a few interesting tales on that technology - we'll see how it fares over the next few months.
Its wagon body means it will make for a welcome buddy for those of us in the office who have kids – especially littlies, as the V60 gets Volvo’s clever integrated outboard booster seats in the back row. The practical body means those who like to take their pushbikes or surfboards with them will be well served, too.
As such, the main 'custodians' of this long-term loan Volvo are CA’s national sales director, Benn Sykes, who recently had a new bub and doesn’t mind throwing a board in the back, and founder Anthony Crawford, who will tell anyone who’ll listen about his nine-foot one-inch long board.
The guys will be living with the car over the coming months, trying to get a grip on whether the CarAdvice editorial team got it right when choosing this Volvo variant over all other options.
The initial responses have been good. Everyone – and I mean everyone – who has seen the car loves the look of it. Our tester is finished in a crisp white hue, and those stunning 18-inch Titania “diamond-cut glossy black alloys” certainly look the part.
When we first saw the blingy rims we were a little worried, as the reason we chose the Luxury spec was because its standard wheels are 17-inch units with higher-profile (and therefore chubbier, more bump-absorbing) tyres which enamour that variant with the most comfortable and compliant ride, possibly of all the Volvo models currently on sale. Time will tell whether the big rims ruin the ride for our testers.
Other initial feedback has centred around the interior – no, not Tony’s insistence that the drop-down rear seats should be electric or at least have release toggles in the boot. The chief chatter has been around the media system, or, more specifically, the buttons that accompany it.
There is an old-world keypad below the screen including the alphabetised numbers, which seems to have gotten the goat of most drivers of the car so far. That and the fact there’s no central rotary control dial (which is the preference of pretty much everyone in the CA offices) to manage the media system – instead, you need to jump between two twirly knobs either side of the console, which can be very confusing if you’re used to simpler systems like that used in Audi or BMW models.
In the first few weeks of our 'ownership' of the Volvo, those who have had a chance to drive the car have been complimentary of its drivetrain.
The new turbo engine is smoother and more refined than the one it replaces, and it’s a peppy little thing, too. Planting your right foot rewards with punchy response from low in the rev range, and the eight-speed automatic (also newly developed) swaps through the cogs commendably.
We’re yet to see impressive fuel consumption on the V60’s trip readout, though. In our mainly urban driving we’ve seen as high as 13.5L/100km. It must have been Anthony driving...
The weather over our initial time with the V60 has surfaced one or two complaints about its steering, though – namely that the wheel will wobble about in the driver’s hands under hard acceleration in the wet. This torque steer is endemic with front-drive Volvos, and slippery surfaces simply exacerbate the situation.
Others who have driven the V60 have also commented on how bad its turning circle is for the car's size – this is particularly frustrating when you’re trying to pilot its around some of Sydney’s tight suburban streets.
We’ll see how the 2015 Volvo V60 T5 Luxury copes in the hands of Tony and Benn in the coming months, so stay tuned for more.
Odometer reading at collection: 254km
Click the Photos tab above for more images by Christian Barbeitos.