Long-term report: Gripes a thing of the past as we’ve grown to love our brown Volvo V60
The early electrical gremlins with our long term Volvo V60 have disappeared and now James Baggott is enjoying one of the best estate cars around
I often get asked which car I’d shell out my own money on and while the model often varies, the manufacturer rarely does – it’s Volvo that does it for me.
Over the last few years, I’ve been very lucky to run several Volvo long-termers and this very latest V60 is arguably one of the best.
But then I’ve probably written that about the V90 diesel, and the V90 hybrid I had before that. In fact, you probably won’t have to delve too far into my past reports to realise I have somewhat of a penchant for the Swedish brand.
Why? Well, it’s all about the quality. A number of manufacturers claim their cars offer a premium experience, but when you scratch beneath the surface you find that they don’t always live up to expectations.
I’ve long had this problem with Audi. It’s another brand I’m rather fond of, but its disastrous handling of the emissions scandal meant engineers were forced to ruin their gearboxes with a stutter to the point that some were frankly dangerous to drive.
In the Volvo, you don’t get that. This is the D4 Diesel model and with 190bhp it’s remarkably quick. The automatic gearbox, unlike its German rivals, is swift to swap cogs and never am I left wondering at what time of the day the car will decide to select a gear – not something I could say about its rivals.
It’s inside where the quality really shines. The interior is beautifully crafted and now several months into my tenure and approaching 6,000 miles, it is still as good as the day it arrived.
The seats are superbly comfortable and I love the single iPad-style infotainment system. Ok, sometimes it is a little bit laggy when it comes to choosing certain things on the screen, but overall it is simple to use and brilliant to interact with.
Since my last report, the gripes I originally experienced with the blind spot warning light randomly illuminating have disappeared completely. You may remember it went back to Volvo for some software tinkering and that obviously did the job.
Following that episode I’ve used the Volvo to head to the Alps for a ski holiday with my daughter. This, of course, was when the weather was colder and before we had to worry about things like Covid-19.
The 1,500 miles were covered in luxury and with winter tyres on it scampered up and down the snowy inclines I threw at it in the resort. What’s more, with the huge top box in place and despite my daughter’s attempts to fill the car with a metric ton of cuddly toys, there was surprisingly still room for sensible things like clothes and food.
We travelled over there thanks to Brittany Ferries – a rather enjoyable and comfortable crossing from Portsmouth I must add – and it was handy to be able to turn the alarm off so easily. Again, it’s all easy to find on that infotainment system which meant my cruise across the channel wasn’t rudely interrupted by an errant car alarm.
I also introduced her to the joys of Blue Monday on the incredible Bowers & Wilkins stereo system. I was probably more impressed than her by the sound quality and clarity – not to mention the steering wheel’s ability to hold up to some very serious dad drumming.
Looks-wise, I’m pretty biased, but I think the Inscription Plus pack, brown paintwork and tan interior is a wonderful combination. It certainly gets a lot of looks when I am out and about and is far better than I could have ever imagined when I ordered it.
Problems? Well, there are few to report now the early electrical gremlins have disappeared and, if I’m honest, that’s unusual for me. If you’ve read any of my reports before, you’ll know I like a good moan.
That’s testament to the quality and all-round goodness of the V60. If I was pressed for a moan, I’d say it can feel a little cramped in the front compared to the V90, but then what do you expect? It’s smaller.
I wouldn’t have guessed as much when packing the rear, though. I’ve carried countless boxes of magazines to events, rubbish to tips, Ikea loads of furniture home and of course a car boot worrying-amount of cuddly toys to the Alps. All of which it completed with little issue.
I do sometimes have a problem with the key not being sensed by the doors, so they don’t open the first time I pull the handle, but usually trying the rear door instead fixes the issue. But I’m scraping the barrel of complaints with that one.
Yes, the price might look a little eye-watering, but I can honestly say I think it’s worth it. For a quality, practical and enjoyable to drive estate you can’t go far wrong with a V60… especially in brown.
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