We have the AWD, R-Design equipped Volvo V60 T6 Polestar in for a road test and review. Can a 329bhp, 4WD Volvo estate make sense?
Not any more you don’t, especially if you choose the Volvo V60 T6 Polestar Volvo estate.
Despite a lifetime of safety first and a reputation as the family transport of the chattering classes, Volvo has had a penchant for a swift car or two for a long time, and even swift, sure footed and appealing Volvo estates are nothing new.
Nearly two decades ago Volvo bolted a 2.3 litre Turbo lump in the 850 Estate to create the 850 T5, which could still carry a wardrobe or three but do it a lot more quickly – 0-62mph around 7.5 seconds – even if it did eat front tyres for breakfast.
But Volvo’s newest estates are a lot less boxy, and a lot more appealing, than the old 850 and perhaps the most stylish is the V60 (as we discovered when we reviewed the Volvo V60 D3 last year) which looked good – inside and out – even if its performance didn’t set your hair on fire.
Now we have the latest and quickest Volvo V60 T6 Polestar in for a week of fun and frolics, a Volvo V60 Estate that actually does promise to set your hair on fire. Well, singe it thoroughly, at least.
Volvo V60 T6 Polestar – inside and out
What we love about Volvo is they don’t feel the need to bolt tacky go-faster bits on to their cars to signal a performance intent. That means the V60 T6 we have – with its R-Design pack – does enough to make the V60 look more aggressive and purposeful, but does it so subtly it’s more a feeling than a visual bombardment of bolt-on bits.
Inside is Volvo stylish too, with a very Scandinavian feel (there’s a shock) and a simplicity to the controls that makes a change from the usual Germanic fare in swift, premium cars. In fact, apart from the R-Design logos and a more sporty feel, the interior could almost be from a stock V60 (although the comfy seats are a nice two tone dark grey and cream).
The V60 T6 is practical too with a decent load-lugging capacity, although it’s not a patch on the old 850 or even something like the Mercedes E Class Estate – the Volvo pays the price for its slick design with a more compromised load capacity, but then would you buy a T6 to carry a wardrobe round?
At £33,780 the V60 T6 Polestar is sensibly priced for a premium feel, swift and stylish estate, although Volvo has gone a bit mad on the options on this car. They make it more appealing, but they also put it in a different league on price – £42,950.
Those extras include the Polestar Performance Pack (£660), Driver Support (£1635), Premium Pack (£1280), Geartronic (£1485) and Convenience Pack (£1025). It’s all very nice, and it does make the V60 T6 more appealing, but most of it you could do without – apart from the Polestar Pack – if you were trying to get in to the V60 T6 on a budget.
So, good looking, comfortable and with lots of toys (even in standard spec the V60 T6 is decent), the Volvo scores points for its looks and cabin and the fact it’s not just another German premium estate car.
Volvo V60 T6 Polestar – Performance on the road
Let’s face it, the only reason to buy the V60 T6 – especially with the Polestar upgrade – rather than something like the look-alike V60 D3 with the R-Design pack, is for the performance. And the V60 T6 acquits itself very well.
With a 0-60mph the right side of 6 seconds, great mid-range urge and impressive grip from its four wheel drive set-up, the V60 T5 is a fun drive. It powers along open roads with joy, although the B Road blast isn’t perhaps as fulfilling as you’d expect.
There’s no doubt the V60 T6 has plenty of urge, and you can power out of bends very well, but there is perhaps a little too much roll in the bends and the steering, although nicely accurate, doesn’t tell you what’s going on as much as you might like.
But the urge of the 324 horses and 325lb/ft of torque – coupled with the reassuring grip of the AWD – still conspire to make the V60 T6 a fun back-road blaster. The gearbox works well to pick the right ratios – although a more modern auto ‘box would be nice – and the brakes are competent, if not stunning.
Floating around town the V60 T6 is quite firm – odd, as it feels a bit softer on the bends – but it can soak up motorway miles with real alacrity; quiet and comfortable with terrific urge at the end of your right foot if you get baulked.
The V60 T6 perhaps doesn’t have the depth of ability of some of its German competition – although that could be fixed with a better gearbox, a set of dampers that keep body roll more in check on the bends and slightly meatier brakes – but it does offer real performance, and fun, if you want to play.
Volvo V60 T6 Polestar – Verdict
The Volvo V60 is a refreshing change from the Teutonically efficient lines of the competition in the hot estate market. Its lines are more organic and the interior is a nice place to be. The quality of materials on offer in the V60 probably isn’t as high as that of the German cars, but it’s presented in a much more friendly and human way.
The performance in this really quite warm Volvo V60 T6 Polestar is accessible and appealing; it can blast with the best and, in a straight line, is pleasingly quick.
Not only is the V60 T6 Polestar quick, it sounds good too and won’t get the ire of other motorists working overtime to keep you from getting out of a junction. Volvos appeal to the British driver’s psyche as benign and non-threatening so you can have your cake and eat it with a car that can lug loads, look good, shift when you want it to and still get treated as a ‘sensible’ Volvo driver by other road users.
Yes, there are areas that could do with addressing. An auto ‘box suits the V60 but the Geartronic box needs to be replaced with something a bit more modern. The brakes are efficient but could do with more bite and the dampers could do with a tweak to make the V60 sit flatter in the bends – and an extra dose of quality materials in the cabin wouldn’t go amiss.
But the whole package is better than the sum of its parts. The Volvo V60 T6 Polestar is a very appealing car.
Volvo V60 T6 Polestar Specs
- Engine: 2953cc, 324bhp
- Performance: 0-62mph 5.5 seconds / Top Speed 155mph
- Economy: 28.5mpg – Official / 22..6mpg – Test
- Emissions: 237g/km
- Price: £33,870 / Price as tested £42,950
- Test car supplied by Volvo UK