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Long-term test: Volvo S60 D5 Sport - on sale now



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One word to describe the Volvo S60: underrated. That’s probably because the car falls between the mass market ubiquity of the Mondeo and the premium domain of the 3-series.

Priced from £19,995 for the 2.0-litre petrol, the S60 is a competitive offer. Our test car, the 185bhp 2.4-litre D5 diesel, starts at £22,903 – around £800 more than the Ford Mondeo 2.2TDCi, but between £500 to £1,600 less than the nearest models from BMW, Mercedes and Audi.

Are they worth the extra money? Quality-wise, no. The S60 feels premium and our test car hasn’t suffered from any technical niggles or trim rattles. Safety-wise, it’s another winner – but you’d expect nothing less from Volvo.

Look closely at the cost and the Volvo appeals even more. The base model is laden with equipment that most rivals have as expensive options.

Our Sport version adds 17in Orpheus alloys, colour-coordinated bumpers and rear spoiler for less than £2,000 to the base model’s standard DSTC, dual-zone climate control and six-speaker audio system. (It’s also packed out with other options, like sat-nav, TV and iPod connection, which takes the price above £31,000 – a little too ambitious.)

Compared to the best premium cars, performance is the one area where the S60 falls a little short. But it’s an enjoyable drive, with the D5 unit pushing out greater power than its rivals and a quicker sprint time (0-62mph in 8.2s). But against the 3-series or A4 it doesn’t handle as well or have quite the sporty impact its moniker suggests.

Does that matter? Probably not. The Volvo has sufficient charms to appeal to both private and company car drivers – it deserves respect.

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
Mileage now: 3,695
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: Stereo controls mounted on steering wheel hub – too easy to hit by mistake

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