Warming to the Volvo as the temperature soars

Volvo proving popular.
Volvo proving popular.

WHERE or not you buy into the science of anthropogenic climate change, you can’t fail to warm to a Volvo S60 that offers the running costs of a supermini hatchback. Powered by a 1.6-litre turbodiesel engine, the S60 DRIVe emits a mere 114g/km and will return a fuel consumption figure of 65.7mpg.

With a 113bhp 1.6-litre diesel to propel 1499kg of Swedish premium product down the road, it’s hardly surprising that the S60 DRIVe offers rather modest performance.

Sacrifices have got to come from somewhere after all, so the sprint to 60mph takes fairly leisurely 10.7 seconds.

While far from ponderous, you’ll need to get used to the reality of being pipped from the lights by some shopping hatchbacks.

If your ego can handle that crushing setback, you’ll find the rest of the S60 DRIVe’s dynamic make up rather pleasant.

The diesel engine’s 199lb/ft of torque arrives at just 1750rpm, so you’ll not need to trouble the sweet-shifting gearbox unduly on motorways, while the high gearing means that 121mph is possible where conditions allow.

Engine refinement is excellent and a 67.5 litre tank gives the S60 DRIVe a theoretical motorway range of over 1,000 miles.

Most customers will choose the sporty looking R-Design model but the comparatively compliant suspension of the ES version makes it a more cosseting and enjoyable drive.

The modest power output going to the front wheels doesn’t corrupt steering feel particularly and the S60’s stability control system remains one of the industry’s finest.

In profile, the S60’s four-door coupe shape has more than a passing resemblance to that of the Ford Mondeo’s which shares the same platform, but the S60 emphasises its elevated position with more sinewy lines and upmarket detailing.

The straight edges that used to characterise Volvo are banished in favour of gentle curves that ease into one another. The double headlights at the front and large brake light clusters at the rear mean you should be able to spot an S60 day or night.

There’s something refreshingly nonsense-free about the Volvo S60 DRIVe. It’s largely a gimmick-free zone and it doesn’t trumpet its eco credentials in a sanctimonious fashion.

It merely gets on with the job of serving up supreme fuel economy coupled with excellent emissions performance. It’s worth bearing in mind that 65.7mpg and 114g/km aren’t bad figures for a shopping hatchback instead of a solidly built junior executive car with space for five.

Somewhat bafflingly, most customers opt for the sporty-looking R-Design.

From this all we can really deduce is that there’s no shortage of people who want a sheep in wolf’s clothing. The best of the S60 DRIVe models resides at the opposite end of the range in the less ostentatious shape of the ES version.

Its more compliant suspension and higher profile tyres give a far superior ride quality and a lower tax bill as an additional sweetener. It’s an honest car that deserves to do extremely well.