After my week-long test drive, here are my thoughts on the Volvo V60 D6 AWD R-Design PHEV.
Day – 1 Volvo V60 D6 AWD R-Design PHEV First Impressions
Waiting for the Volvo V60 to arrive, I was actually quite excited about the concept of this car, I knew the V60 in its standard format would be good, but I was keen to see how changing it into a Plug-in Hybrid Electric Vehicle (PHEV) would improve the car and how it would differ to the standard V60 model.
The V60 R-Design arrived and I was pretty happy with the look of the car. From a distance there is no easily identifiable differentiator between the hybrid and the standard model, which is good for those who don’t want to shout about the fact that it is a PHEV.
Looking around the car, the only real tangible compromise for the car being a hybrid is that you lose a fair amount of boot space to house the electric motor and batteries. The length and width of the boot remains the same but the floor height comes up, so although it’s an estate car you are actually getting significantly less space than you would expect from this type of car.
Day 2 – Testing Out the Hybrid System
Time to put the V60 into Pure mode and test out the all-electric driving capability. When in Pure mode, just using electric power to function, the car has 70bhp and 200Nm of torque and can do up to 78mph; plenty to move the car around. Volvo say that the car can do up to 31 miles on electric power alone, for most people this is enough to get to and from work every day. But from my experience of driving the V60 in Pure mode, it achieved slightly less than the 31 miles range. Despite this, I was still very impressed with how the car felt driving in this mode, and driving through heavy traffic, which is a daily occurrence on my commute, you feel smug for not using or wasting any fuel.
Taking the car through town to the office was no problem at all. Travelling at speeds up to around 50mph the car felt perfectly normal and was exceptionally smooth due to the fact that you are not picking up any vibrations from the engine.
Day 3 – Volvo’s Styling of the V60
I’m certainly a fan of the design of the current generation of Volvo range, and the V60 is one of the best looking of them all. Starting with the front of the car, I love the updates to the central grill, the grooves in the bonnet, and the lower bumper details. The Volvo’s good looks continue all the way to the rear, and being the R-Design version you will notice there is a twin exhaust system that is surrounded by a rear diffuser adding quite a sporty taste to the car. I think the exterior car design gives a great first impression, and it’s safe to say I like the look of the car overall.
The V60 always seems to look practical and ready for an adventure.
Day 4 – Safety Systems for Modern Life
Driving a big car in a busy town or city could be deemed quite daunting for some drivers. Taking this into account Volvo has made lots of improvements to make town driving a little easier. To mention a few, the Volvo was fitted with Adaptive Cruise Control and Distance Alert, Collision Warning with full auto brake, Pedestrian and Cyclist Detection, Lane Keeping Aid, Driver Alert Control with Active High Beam, and Blind Spot Information System.
The most outstanding feature is the full auto brake technology; this limits the chance of you causing an accident whilst driving at low speeds. If you fail to brake quick enough when approaching another car in front of you the car will perform an emergency stop. I wasn’t brave enough to test the system but I have every faith that it works as expected and can certainly see how it could prevent accidents.
Day 5 – Video Shoot
We took the Volvo out to produce some video content of the car and whilst shooting the video we took a close look at all the design features of the car. Have a look at the video below to see some of the finer details of the V60. Notice specifically how deep the red paintwork looks at night time and how somehow the Volvo seems to fit into any environment that we put it in. I was very impressed with the looks of the Volvo.
Day 6 – Photoshoot
The next day we were out and about taking some interesting photographs of the PHEV. We know that the V60 is a very practical and economical car but still with that edge of exploration about it. So we went out with the objective to try and find a shoot that would show the adventurous side of the car.
Here is one of my favourite pictures from that photoshoot. You can see the V60 travelling across a loose surface creating lots of dust and a lot of mess, but still looking modern, stylish and impressive all at the same time. For me, the beauty behind these pictures is the fact that the car is running on electric power at the time in near silence, but the picture is something that you would often relate with loud exhaust noise and large engine cars.
We, of course, got a selection of other pictures from this photoshoot, ensuring that we captured the car in different environments, and showing off different elements of the car. Take a look at the pictures below.
Day 7 – Fully Tested and Approved
What a week I had with the Volvo V60 PHEV. I covered a few hundred miles and there was still plenty of fuel left in the tank. I really like the hybrid elements of this car; I can see how people want to use alternate fuels but don’t want to compromise their long distance journeys abilities and I think the Volvo V60 PHEV bridges this gap very well.
I could happily live with this car and was very sad to see it go back after my test drive.