OUR RESIDENT KNOB JOCKEY GRUDGINGLY LEARNS THE ART OF THE SWIPE
G OING INTO the third month in my tenure of the Volvo V60, I can’t help but feel a bit guilty whenever I approach the car. Possibly like a lotto winner who bought a mansion in a ritzy suburb, or a person who found an incredibly attractive partner who actually likes them for their personality, I really feel like I don’t deserve this car. Realistically, I’m probably more suited to a beat-up VK Commodore.
From its handsome exterior, to its premium-feeling, well-thought-out interior, there’s a real sense of occasion to every trip in this car.
There was one aspect had me concerned when I was handed the keys though – the infotaintment. Call me oldfashioned, but there’s something I miss about having tactile buttons and knobs to control the most-used functions.
Maybe it’s a legacy of messing around on the old stereo EQs trying to find the perfect sound balance, or being able to type a text message without looking at the screen on my old Nokia 7110. Or instinctively finding the air-con controls on my old Mazda 3.
Having almost every control accessed via the touchscreen infotainment panel is not something I’m a massive fan of, so I approached the V60 with some apprehension. While the Wheels garage has hosted both the COTY-winning XC60 and XC40 SUVs, the latter was the only one I managed to spend some (limited) time with; not enough to fully get to grips with the Volvo system called Sensus.
I’ve got to say the Swedish boffins have done a stellar job in following the KISS ethos of Keep It Simple, Stupid. The HVAC controls are nicely spaced, and once you get used to their location, they’re an, er, breeze to use. The sub-menus are easily accessed with sideways swipes and are logically structured.
But how does the V60 stack up against its rivals? In our February issue, we pitted the Volvo against the BMW 330i Touring and it fell just short – but I would argue that it’s the better option for a family hauler. Why? Well, its main weaknesses, comparatively, were rearseat space and the fact its all-wheeldrive system adds extra weight, making it less of a driver’s car.
I’d contend that for most families, rear-seat passengers are less than five feet tall, and that the all-wheel-drive layout, which increases traction in the wet, provides greater peace of mind if you’re sharing driving duties with your partner.
After three months, the only chink in the V60’s equipment armour I can identify is its lack of auto windscreen wipers – a minor oversight, but with so much packed into such an attractive package, it seems like an odd exclusion.
VOLVO V60 T5 INSCRIPTION
Price as tested: $72,390
This month: 933km @11.2L/100km