ROAD TEST – Volvo V60

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Motors man Les Oliver puts the Volvo V60 through it’s paces on Sunderland’s roads

YOU’D hardly expect a car inspired by life on board a vessel in one of the world’s most gruelling sailing adventures to be all plain sailing.

But the Volvo Ocean Race editions are among the most luxurious and safest models the company produces.

VOR is more than just a limited edition badge.

To coincide with the improved specification available on these 2012models, all-wheel drive is now available in conjunction with the D3 engine in the V60.

Features included embossed leather upholstery, special alloys and an enhanced level of craftsmanship throughout.

Competing with the Audi A4 Avant and BMW’s 3 Series Touring, the V60 isn’t a large load-lugger like the cavernous Volvo estates of old. It only has a 557-litre boot expandable to 1241 litres, but this is in step with the opposition.

The 40/20/40 split rear-seat and flat load space mean it’s still a practical proposition for many drivers.

The V60 has handsome sportswagon styling and a good looking interior capped by an all-round premium feel.

The D3 diesel is the most popular engine in the range and its two-litre 163PS power demonstrated impressive alacrity while overtaking on long single-carriageway roads.

Acceleration to 60mph is achieved in 8.9 seconds with the six-speed manual gearbox, and the car is capable of a top speed of 137mph.

With start/stop technology you can expect a combined fuel economy over 55mpg.

As with all Volvos the effort to maintain the brand’s reputation for safety is high.

This car demonstrated this admirably as it was fitted with an optional Driver Support Pack costing £1,635.

This provides pedestrian detection with full auto brake, adaptive cruise control with distance alert, queue assist and collision warning, lane departure warning and driver alert control, blind spot information system.

I particularly liked the orange light that warns you when a car enters the blind-spot overtaking area in the outside lane.

Features like lane-departure warning can be a life-saver on a long trip. The system monitors your driving and even flashes up a cup of coffee symbol and message that it is time to take a break if it detects steering correction movements typical of drowsy driving.

Prices for the V60 D3 with start/stop Ocean Race Edition start at £27,485 and rises to £34,595 for the D5 AWD Geartronic.

The Ocean Race spec is impressive but when you add option packs it can whack up the purchase price considerably.

A convenience pack at £1,025 includes autodimming rear view mirror, autofolding door mirrors when you lock and unlock the doors, rain sensor, rear park assist, high performance audio and Bluetooth.

An optional family pack for £275 offers two-stage child booster cushions and power child locks for the rear doors.

TECH SPEC

Volvo V60 D3 VOR Start/Stop

Engine: 2-litre diesel

Power: 163bhp

0-60: 8.9secs

Top speed: 137mph

Economy: 55.4mpg

CO2: 132g/km

Price: from £27,485