The One Where We Review a Volvo V60.

There are some upsides to being a blogger.

One of them – to be honest – is that people send you a lot of really cool stuff to try out.

The downside?

Sometimes trying them out does not go exactly to plan.

For example:

Last month was the MAD Blog Awards, which involved me taking three ginormous banners, six suitcases full of brochures and product samples, three video cameras, three tripods, one regular camera, an admin assistant, and an overnight bag down to London.

Fortunately the lovely people at Volvo came to my rescue and loaned me a fabulous Volvo V60 estate car for my travels. Let me start by saying there is LOTS to recommend about this car. For storage, the boot isn’t HUGE, but it’s generous, and the back seats lie completely flat which makes it ideal for storing large items. The cabin is generously proportioned, the seats are comfortable, and the car (diesel) costs around £100 to fill up and then drove for over 800 miles before the ‘low fuel’ warning light came on. I drove to London and back – 600 miles or so – and there was still a quarter of a tank of diesel left. AMAZING.


The car has lots of added extras including the new City Safe system, designed to prevent low-speed accidents, and an eco feature that stops the car if you take the car out of gear at traffic lights (although you can turn these features off if you find them too distracting). The fuel economy is good, offering around 65mpg. There’s a visual reminder on the dashboard (to the right in the photo above) that prompts you to change gear to maximise fuel efficiency.

Unfortunately, when people loan you a new car, they don’t always show you how the thing works. Which is how I came to spend 10 minutes sitting outside my house looking vainly at the driver’s manual, trying to work out how to START the car. Eventually I figured it out (put your key fob into the slot on the dashboard, push down the gas pedal, press the start button) and drove to Flea’s school. I was late and in a rush because it was a half-day and OBVIOUSLY I’d forgotten until Flea’s Dad phoned to remind me.

As I pulled into the car park only 5 minutes late, I realised I had no idea how to put the handbrake on.

There is no handbrake on a Volvo V60.

There is an electric parking brake. According to the manual, pushing down the brake pedal while pulling the button activates the electronic parking brake. Achieving this took some trial and error. And let me tell you friends, trial and error is not what you need when you’re parked on a slight incline, directly in front of the head teacher’s shiny new Audi. Every time I took my foot off the brake to confirm that, no, the brake wasn’t engaged yet, I got another inch closer to the shiny Audi’s front grille.

I aged about 10 years in 10 minutes. And that’s before I drove the shiny new car into Central London.

The Volvo V60 comes complete with its own sat-nav system, which worked perfectly well directing us from Lancashire to London. Once inside Central London, it fared a bit less well.

Our first inkling of trouble came when the car tried to tell us to turn left onto Tottenham Court Road.

“I’m fairly sure Tottenham Court Road is one way,” I said to Lindy. “We’ve got to turn right.”

The Sat-Nav didn’t agree.

“Make a U-Turn where possible. Turn right, and then turn right,” she said.

We ignored it, and continued driving along Tottenham Court Road in the legally approved direction.

A few minutes later, we were driving through Marylebone in search of the Hammersmith Flyover.

“Turn right onto Green Street,” said the Sat-Nav.

“Erm, that’s not Green Street,” said Lindy. “Where’s Green Street?”

“Make a U-Turn where possible,” said the Sat-Nav.

We kept going. How wrong could a Sat-Nav really be?

“Welcome to Belgium!” said the Sat-Nav. “Take a right onto Hallenstraat.”


“Where’s my iPhone?” said Lindy.

I was worse than useless, having been reduced to helpless giggles by the Sat-Nav, who was apparently directing us through the centre of Brussels. Eventually, we managed to mute the Sat-Nav and we relied on the iPhone for directions instead. Lindy took to eating chocolate out of the left-over goody bags to calm herself down…


Once we got back onto a motorway, the Sat-Nav chirped up again: “Welcome to the United Kingdom!”, but still, I’d suggest updating the Sat-Nav in any vehicle before driving it for the first time.

Overall, though, I was hugely impressed with the V60. It’s spacious, the fuel economy and time between fills is nothing short of amazing, and the seating is comfortable. It’s not as much fun to drive as the gorgeous XC90, but if you need a solid family car, that’s efficient, then this one would come pretty high on my list.


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