View Full Version : V60 D3 R-Design (manual)

Friday 4th November 2011, 12:58
Having owned my V60 D3 R-Design for 9 months now, I thought I would write a brief review based on my ownership experience so far.

Handling - In a word, awesome! This is by far the best handling Volvo ever made, but only with the R-Design chassis. The standard S60/V60 chassis is not as capable. All the S60/V60 models are optionally available as R-Design spec, which from a handling perspective gives you lowered and uprated springs, faster and stiffer dampers, uprated anti-roll bars, faster steering rack and uprated bushes. Having owned an older S60 for 3 years and driven hundreds of other Volvos including many highly modified S60R models, it's clear that Volvo's previous chassis setups were a bit lame in comparison, relying on the electronics to give the cars some kind of decent handling capabilities (S60R being a good example). With the new S60/V60 R-Design, the chassis is superb without any of the electronics. In fact, the V60 R-Design chassis does away with the 4C system and is not even available as an option. My V60 is only FWD but it can certainly outhandle many RWD and 4WD cars in the dry, including the S60R (as those S60R owners who have driven mine have confirmed :) ) and you can power out of corners flat out without losing any traction. Even in the wet, the FWD copes well. The V60 has an electronic corner traction system which improves traction in corners by applying the brakes to the inside wheel, which results in power going to the outside wheel with the most grip and also pulls the car around. It actually feels like the car has a proper LSD, but it's all just clever electronics. The electronic stability system enhances cornering stability so you can slam on the brakes in a corner and not get the back end out at all - it's so stable that braking in a corner feels just as stable as braking in a straight line!

Performance - Mine is the D3 which is a 5 cyl 2.0 litre turbo-diesel, with 163 hp / 400 Nm standard. And with RICA there is a lot of tuning potential too (not just a remap). :) But even in stock form, the 400 Nm mid-range torque is great which means the car is very flexible to drive even in the higher gears. At 70 mph, the revs are approx 1700 rpm in 6th gear.

Comfort - The ride is very firm, but generally very smooth too. The uprated suspension means that on crap roads at 30 mph the car feels unsettled, but on A-roads and motorways the ride is lovely and smooth, with the car feeling very solid. What's most surprising is that even with the firm suspension, it does not crash the potholes at all, but simply absorbs them like they were not there. The only time you really feel the harder setup is when going over very sharp speed bumps (or ramps on temporary road surfaces) where both front wheels hit together - then you do get a harsh jolt if going too fast. On poor surfaces, the road noise can be more intrusive, but other than that the car is very quiet with no wind noise and almost no engine noise. In fact, on the new quiet road surfaces it's spookily quiet even at high motorway speeds. The seats are nice and comfortable, but not quite as comfortable as on the standard spec cars. This is because the R-Design seats are firmer and have extra lateral support which is great when you are pushing it around the bends, but not as nice as the standard seats when simply cruising. That said, the seats don't dig anywhere and they do support you everywhere comfortably. It's just that they don't have that luxury armchair feel of the standard seats. One thing I really like (not sure if it was done by design) is that the door shoulders inside the cabin are curved inwards (concave), which means you can comfortably rest your elbow on the door when driving - almost like it was specifically designed to fit your elbow!

Practicality - My other half decided that we should go for the V60 and not the S60, because it's obviously more practical. And I'm glad I did (I also think it's nicer looking than the saloon version). While it is clearly not as practical as the V70, it's more than adequate if you don't have a big family. I managed to take 4 adults to Heathrow airport with all their luggage, so it's more than adequate for my needs. There is extra storage below the boot floor to discretely store a laptop for example. The back seats are split in 3 so can be folded in several ways. There are plenty of storage areas and the glovebox is a decent size.

Audio System - The audio system is very impressive. When I purchased my car, I went for the R-Design Convenience pack which included an upgrade of the audio system to the mid-range version. I have to say, even though it's not the full Dolby Surround version, it sounds superb. You need to make some slight adjustments to the EQ to get the most out of it because the standard sound configuration lacks some sparkle (there are two equalisers, one which is just bass/treble, and one which is a full equaliser). Bass is powerful, punchy and rich with no distortion. Mid and treble is crisp and clear. You can play music from various sources, including a USB port, bluetooth streaming from any phone, iPod, CD. I normally use the USB port because I can put all my albums on one USB stick, so I never use the CD player. The only negavtive comment is that the rear passengers don't quite get the same high quality sound as the front passengers, which I can only assume is down to the speaker configuration.

Other interesting stuff - The V60 does not come with a spare tyre, not even a space saver tyre. It comes with a puncture repair kit where you inflate the tyre with the supplied pump and puncture repair solution. I've not had to use this yet (fortunately) but we'll see whether this is better than a proper spare tyre. I imagine for a small puncture like a nail, it will work fine, but for a blow-out it will be no use at all.

I like the blue R-Design dials - they are a nice touch, but they are not back-lit - they are lit from the top like the old S60R was. Personally I think back-lit would have been nicer, but i still like it. The rest of the R-design trim is really nice too, both inside and out.

On the diesels there is no oil dipstick!!! The car checks the oil level for you and will warn you if you need to top it up. You can manually check the oil level on the dashboard menu if you want. This may work great on new cars, but I would imagine that as a used car 10 years from now, these features may become problematic for future buyers.

There is no engine temperature gauge - nowhere!!! You have no idea how warm the engine is. I guess when you think about it, as long as the ECU can detect an overheating situation, then you have nothing to worry about.

Visually, you can spot the R-Design models from the standard ones because they all have the unique Ixion 5-spoke R-Design alloys, polished aluminium door mirrors, different front bumper, rear diffuser and twin chrome tail pipes.

The turning circle is superb!!! Yes, even with the 235/40 R18 tyres. :)

Reliabilty has been 100% perfect - nothing has gone wrong so far.


Overall, I love the V60 R-Design. It's lovely inside, nice to drive with great handling, it's practical, and it's nice looking. I would highly recommend it to anyone who doesn't need the extra space of the larger V70.

Friday 4th November 2011, 13:22
One of the things that seems to be happening on new cars is that they are slowley trying get rid of as many gauges as possible, first oil temp then boost gauge and now engine temp.

Things like boost gauges and temp gauges are usefull for helping spot when theres problems.

A temp gauge is not only good for knowing if a car is overheating, but also if the car is taking longer to warm up.

I miss oil temp gauges, good for knowing when you can start thrashing it! lol

Anyway, good writeup and sounds like a good car.

Friday 4th November 2011, 13:36
Excellent write-up Mr. Tuner! Very informative and, for those thinking of buying one, very useful.

Friday 4th November 2011, 19:13
I think one of these will be my next car, I really like them. Very good review, would love to test drive one

Friday 4th November 2011, 19:52
Good Review... remember we love photos too :D

The Flying Moose
Friday 4th November 2011, 20:26
Thanks for the review Adam.

Certainly a good insight into the new 60 series ownership. I remember having been out in yours and returning to the 850 that the 850 felt of similar build quality to a fiesta... in no way a comparrison to the modern Volvo.

Slightly concerning as you mension about the dipstick as I guess it only takes one sensor to be out and you could potentially sieze your engine without even knowing.

Friday 4th November 2011, 20:30
Adam, cheeky ask but if yours is a manual can I have a quick go at some point? My left foot rubbed on the steering rack on the first P3 S60's and just wondering if this is still the case?

Friday 4th November 2011, 23:15
Good Review... remember we love photos too :D

I have some crappy pics which I took when the car was new, but hopefully once the weather improves (and I finish redecorating the house) then I will get some nice ones done.

Adam, cheeky ask but if yours is a manual can I have a quick go at some point? My left foot rubbed on the steering rack on the first P3 S60's and just wondering if this is still the case?

LOL that's a pretty original excuse to have a go in someone else's car!!! :) Yes, it's a manual - no problem at all if you want to try it out.

Friday 4th November 2011, 23:21
Had a lone of a V50 D3 R design for a few hours a couple of weeks ago. Cracking engine for a 2L diesel. Put my 163 D5 to shame with its refinement!

Friday 4th November 2011, 23:44
Had a lone of a V50 D3 R design for a few hours a couple of weeks ago. Cracking engine for a 2L diesel. Put my 163 D5 to shame with its refinement!

Yeah, that's the first thing I noticed too, compared with the old S60 D5. I guess that's the result of 10 years of development, since the D5 first came out in 2001.

It's also a huge improvement over the 136 hp 2.0D 4 cyl engine.

Wobbly Dave
Friday 4th November 2011, 23:46
I am expecting a phone call now - so I can have a ride in this beast, Ad ;)

Friday 4th November 2011, 23:57
I am expecting a phone call now - so I can have a ride in this beast, Ad ;)

We'll definitely have to meet up before Christmas!

Saturday 5th November 2011, 16:57
LOL that's a pretty original excuse to have a go in someone else's car!!! :) Yes, it's a manual - no problem at all if you want to try it out.

Goes with my original (though they aren't, just made to feel like they are) sized 14 feet lol