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Long term road test: Volvo S60 D5 Sport



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After three glorious months, our big comfy motorway cruiser goes back to Volvo. No more will we experience the sensation of other road users thinking the S60 is an unmarked police car, fearing to overtake as a result.

But feeling like a motorway cop is far from the only bonus of life with the D5 Sport. The sweet, torque-laden five-cylinder turbodiesel engine devours the longest runs with ease. Choose sixth gear from the futuristic looking gaiter-less selector and it provides civilized, quiet cruising.

Drop it down a cog or two and the 295lb ft at your disposal really makes itself known.

Despite the ‘Sport’ spec, our S60’s trump card is definitely straight-line performance. Although it feels as solid and reassuring as you’d expect from a Volvo, pushed hard, there is noticeable understeer and the car’s bulk becomes apparent.

Certainly, compared to rivals such as the BMW 3-series, it will feel un-engaging but then, arguably, Volvo buyers aren’t looking for the ultimate driving machine. Instead the car will attract safety conscious customers who have an eye for individuality. And on this front, the S60 scores highly.

Build quality is also as good as any Germanic offering, although all direct competition have superior CAP residual values.

At both 30,000 miles and 60,000 miles intervals at three years, the BMW 320cdSE and Mercedes C220 Cdi both trump the Swede. The closest is the Audi 2.7TDI, which scores 40% and 36% respectively versus the Volvo’s 36% and 31%.

Unlike the competition, however, the S60 does come loaded with equipment. The D5 range starts at £23,155, with the Sport costing £25,005.

Our test car’s extensive list of options (including metallic paint, leather upholstery, heated front seats, headlight washers, sat-nav, television and an iPod connection), push the price to more than £31,000 – a rather more ambitious figure.

On balance, the CCD team was a big fan of the D5. Collectively, staff covered 4,787 trouble-free, comfortable miles, many of which accompanied by the distinctive sound of five cylinders being worked hard – and it still returned 38mpg. What more could you ask for?

Price: £31,298
Engine: 2.4-litre, five-cylinder turbodiesel; 185bhp @ 4,000rpm; 295lb ft @ 2,000-2,750rpm
Performance: 0-62mph: 8.2sec; top speed: 143mph
Transmission: Six-speed manual
Test Period: December-February
Start mileage: 180
Final mileage: 4,967
Efficiency: 38mpg (actual); 174g/km CO2
CAP RV 3yr/30k: £9,050 (36%)
CAP RV 3yr/60k: £7,825 (32%)
Key rivals: BMW 3-series, Audi A4, Mercedes C-class
Likes: Excellent engine, well built, quality feel
Dislikes: Handling lacks crispness

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