BALANCE†OF POWER

THERE ARE FASTER V60s, BUT THIS IS THE SWEET SPOT

FELIPE UBILLA

B

EING FAITHFUL can be a challenge, and with an enticing variety of cars coming through the Wheels garage recently, Iím afraid to admit that Iíve strayed. With the V60ís keys offloaded to others, Iíve been having my way with everything from small hatches to seven-seat SUVs.

Itís the different body shapes that get me. And all those drivetrains!†But after putting myself about a bit, it was nice to jump back into the Volvo. Itís made me appreciate the competence and power of the wagonís†drivetrain. Unlike some of the others Iíve spent time with lately, thereís no doubting its capability in overtaking and acceleration.

It may not be neck-snappingly quick, but with 187kW/350Nm on tap itís got plenty to call on when slotting into gaps in fast-moving traffic.

With the surefootedness afforded by all-wheel drive, the Volvo allows you to attack bends with confidence Ė though push harder through the tighter stuff and it can lose composure as its 1797kg becomes apparent.

Experiencing all those different powertrains got me thinking about power-to-weight ratios, and whatís Ďenoughí? Itís a pretty subjective thing. The Volvoís is 104kW per tonne, which for me is just about right. Iíve driven plenty of cars with double that figure and had a ridiculous amount of fun (Iím looking at you, Mercedes- AMG C63 S), but then they cost more than twice as much as the V60.

If you found an extra $24K down the back of the couch you could slot your backside into the V60 T8, packing 311kW and 670Nm. The hybrid drivetrain will get you to†100km/h in 4.5 seconds Ė a whole two seconds quicker than the T5. Thereíll be an extra 239 kilos to lug along, which will affect cornering ability, and the larger wheels stiffen a ride thatís already on the firm side, but these issues (and the extra spend) may be worth it to have a fuel-saving hybrid parked in the driveway. This monthís figure of 9.9L/100km for the T5 is 40 percent more than what editor Inwood was getting from his XC60 T8 long-termer in 2018.

But thatís not to take anything away from my T5, which is proving consistently to be a great all-round wagon. Would I seriously consider buying one? Definitely. Unless my couch coughs up 100K I could chuck in towards a C63 S AMG Estate...

FELIPE UBILLA

REPORT FIVE

VOLVO V60 T5 INSCRIPTION

Price as tested: $72,390

This month: 1019km @ 9.9L/100km

STOP THAT

The V60ís stop-start system could benefit from some greater finesse. I like fuel-saving functions, providing they donít become annoying, but the V60ís can feel sluggish to reignite the engine after a stop. And you have to dive into the infotainment screen to turn it off, every time you drive.