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Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - craig-pd130

Collected my new company car yesterday, a Volvo V60 D3 ES (the basic trim level).

I'm intending to use this thread as an ongoing owner's diary, warts and all (if any present themselves).

It's replacing a 2008 Mondeo 2.0 TDCi Estate. The V60 rides better, with considerably less road noise and bump / thump in the cabin. The engine is a treat, too.

More coming as the miles rack up.

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - Avant

Craig - many thanks, and I'm sure we all look forward to more in due course.

Running reports are one of the things a forum like this is best at, so if others would like to start similar threads that'll be great. I'll do one on my Octavia vRS when it gets to 5,000 miles in a month or so.

Also, do use the 'reviews' facility on this site to post your car reviews to an even wider audience.

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - WellKnownSid

I too will be interested to follow the thread. We were given a brand new S60 D5 last week for our holiday - found the interior a very restful place to be (albeit in bright orange leather to match the paintwork!).

The only oddities were the sat nav (insisted that our destination could only be reached by two ferries and a toll bridge so we resorted back to TomTom!), and the auto box which was a bit hesitant pulling away from standstill (I wonder whether the extra gears meant it didn't have an old fashioned one-way clutch in D1) - and never really new what gear to be in, making for slow-then-lurching progress as the turbo kicked in at around the same time as the gearbox remembered to kick down.

The 4 hour drive back to the airport was much smoother - the lever spent most of it's time in S and I found the car would sail around the twisty stuff with just a well timed up/down waggle of the stick and a tweak in pressure on the right foot.

So, probably not the best auto box, but proof that the underlying chassis was actually rather good.

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - craig-pd130

@ Sid: interesting ... mine's base spec so it doesn't have satnav. I think the 'auto' is a Powershift jobbie (i.e. no torque converter).

Couple of hundred miles done at the weeked and the ride / handling / NVH suppression is impressive (on standard suspension and 205/55 16" wheels with Michelin Premacy tyres).

It rides at least as well as the Mondeo IV, corners with very little roll, albeit with a hint more understeer and a little less steering feedback, but MUCH less road and engine noise intrusion.

The Wife Acceptance Factor is high :)

Had a good poke all around the car & under the bonnet too, and it's very well put together (especially in the engine bay) compared with my previous Passat B5.5 and Mondeo IV. Couldn't find anything that needed tweaking or adjusting.

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - craig-pd130

700 miles up and just had its first proper tankful: exactly 40mpg, which is pretty good considering 75% of my mileage so far has been urban and in 30/40/50 limits.

I'm really liking the car. It's very quiet and relaxing, and the engine has fantastic go on tap with just a tickle of the pedal.

Niggles: car going back to dealer today to have centre rear seatbelt and buckle replaced: a week into ownership, the info display flashed up "SRS Service Urgent". Diagnostics showed the centre belt's pre-tensioner sensor was faulty.

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - Avant

A lot of diesel automatics / DSGs tend to be a bit sluggish pulling away from rest until they've fuly loosened up (which can take several thousand miles). An auto starts from idling (< 1000rpm) whereas with a manual you'll usually use 1,500 rpm to pull away (or about 4,000 if you're over 80 and wearing a hat).

A V60 is an interesting one to compare with my Octavia vRS estate - like an Audi A4 Avant, with a similar-sized engine and equipment you pay about £7,000 more. It'll be revealing to compare notes, Craig, as we go along: I'm very prepared to listen to any argument that the £7,000 is well spent, but I'll need convincing!

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - unthrottled

(or about 4,000 if you're over 80 and wearing a hat).

Which is exactly like an 18 year old wearing a hat backwards! They say that as one gets very old you become more like a child again.

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - craig-pd130

How new / recent is your Octy vRS, Avant? How are you finding it so far?

The price guides have the vRS 170 estate as £22,100, the V60 D3 ES is £25,700 but is a bit cheaper on BIK tax (maybe £100 / year as a company car), so they're not too far apart in that respect.

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - Avant

I've had this one since 11 March - 4300 miles so far. So far so very good - loosening up nicely. I'll do a running report when I get to 5000 miles.

You'd have to compare specs - it may be that a top-of-the-range Skoda equates to your V60 ES. I was comparing Octavia SE with V60 SE which may be misleading.

Anyway, no disrespect to the V60: one for the shortlist next time perhaps. Oddly, the 2.0 petrol V60 costs more than the diesel. I went for a petrol vRS this time as I'm doing 12,000-15,000 miles a year now, less than before, and it's £1,000 cheaper than the vRS diesel.

Edited by Avant on 05/07/2011 at 00:06

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - craig-pd130

3000 miles up now and it's going very well indeed. The car itself is very nice and comfortable (8 hour driving days are stress free thanks to the excellent multi-adjustable seats and the quiet, calm cruising -- even my wife has commented how much quieter it is compared with my Mondeo IV and Passat), but the engine is bewitching. So relaxed and effortless, but with a torrent or torque available at the merest twitch of your foot.

It's averaged 45.5 mpg brim-to-brim so far. The fuel computer is 6% optimistic, which means cruising at 80 - 85 in 6th gives around 50mpg.

Niggles -- no clutch footrest and insufficient room to place left foot alongside the pedal; turning on the radio means having to press AND hold the 'on' button for 3 seconds. Same with turning it off. Plain silly.

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - jamie745

Glad to hear you're happy with the car Craig. Did you consider the slightly bigger V70 or were you very taken with the 60?

Also im not surprised to hear its better than the Mondeo, i think Ford's recent range has been a bit of a let down.

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - craig-pd130

I did look at the V70, but one of the reasons for changing from the Mondeo was that I felt my needs didn't demand a car quite that big again.

The V60 isn't much smaller in exterior dimensions than either the V70 or Mondeo (a couple of inches here and there) but it fitted the bill for me.

Don't get me wrong, I felt the Mondeo was and is an excellent car, and served me very well indeed. But the V60 has a much heftier punch, is more economical, handles decently, is a quieter cruiser (on the standard 16" 215 / 55s) and costs me less in BIK tax while costing the company the same in contract hire.

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - craig-pd130

5,000 miles up now, and still no complaints. The car continues to impress with its relaxed cruising, hefty overtaking punch and economy.

Brim-to-brim average is still 45.5mpg, the fuel computer is still about 6% optimistic.

I was concerned about the apparently smaller size of the boot compared with my previous Mondeo, but it swallowed all the gear for our regular summer holiday in Wales just like the Mondeo used to.

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - craig-pd130

Nearly 7,000 miles up and it's becoming an unlikely economy vehicle. Last two tankfuls have involved two-thirds motorway trips (cruising at 80ish) and one-third commuting / dad's taxi but both have been a genuine 50mpg brim to brim, despite the colder autumn temperatures.

Extraordinary given the punch and performance available. This has coincided with a switch to Shell V-Power diesel which seems to be giving a 3 - 4% economy improvement. The previous best economy was 48mpg.

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - Avant

Many thanks again, Craig. I see I undertook to do a 5,000-mile report on the Octavia: having failed utterly I'll do one at 10,000 - should be in January. It's still going fine, with economy (at just over 8,000 miles) improving from when it was new.

Some recent longish runs have given a sporting 38 mpg - not nearly as good as a VAG diesel of course, but when I had a diesel Mercedes B-class I was lucky ever to see 40 mpg.

I'm surprised that given the considerable cost of the V60 there's no rest for your left foot. It sounds a small thing but it could be a deal-breaker if you do a lot of long journeys. Fords used to be very bad for that, although I haven't looked at one recently.

Edited by Avant on 17/11/2011 at 21:55

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - craig-pd130

38mpg from a high-power petrol turbo in a medium-large car is excellent. Does VAG / Skoda recommend 97 / 98 octane juice for that motor?

I'd be interested to read your report, I considered an Octy estate (and a Superb estate) but there was a long waiting list for the 170PS diesels when I enquired. As mine's a company car, petrol doesn't make sense in terms of BIK tax.

With the clutch footrest issue, as often happens, I've got used to not having it. But for a couple of months it was an irritation, as my old Passat B5.5 and Mondeo had plenty of room to rest the left foot.

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - Avant

"Does VAG / Skoda recommend 97 / 98 octane juice for that motor?"

They don't say so in as many words anywhere: the label on the inside of the filler flp says ambiguously 'use super unleaded, minimum 95 octane'. I've ased this question of various sources, and the consensus is that

- it's not essential and ordinary 05 unleaded won;t do the engine any harm

- but it'll go better on 97 + and be more economical.

I've found that to be true and very roughly super unleaded pays for itself with greater economy, and the increased performance is a bonus. Mine is a DSG and with ordinary unleaded there's a slight hesitation when pulling away at low revs.

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - corax

With the clutch footrest issue, as often happens, I've got used to not having it. But for a couple of months it was an irritation, as my old Passat B5.5 and Mondeo had plenty of room to rest the left foot.

The Volvo seats are so good that maybe it wouldn't be such an issue compared to a lesser car with unsupportive seats.

Glad to hear you're liking it. I love the shape of them, especially the back. Could be a future buy for me when they're high mileage :)

What's the stereo like? They're usually top notch.

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - craig-pd130

The seats are very good indeed. Almost infinitely adjustable. The bog standard Volvo stereo is also good, no doubt helped by the car's very low road & engine noise.

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - craig-pd130

Latest update is, well, not much to report. No faults, the car is still as punchy as you could ever reasonably want, and refined too.

I decided to start using Shell V-Power diesel a couple of months back, to see if it delivered any benefit in the Volvo.

The average brim to brim from the 5 tankfuls of V-Power is 46.6mpg.

The average brim to brim from the 5 tankfuls prior to the switch to V-Power (mostly Shell Fuelsave diesel) was 45.1mpg, in similar use & journeys.

So V-Power has given a 3% improvement in economy. While this only offsets half of the extra cost of V-Power, the switch also coincided with the onset of colder winter weather.

I'll continue with it. Overall since new, the car has averaged 45.75mpg

Edited by craig-pd130 on 16/01/2012 at 10:52

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - unthrottled

I'm surprised it is as much as 3% tbh. Is it noticeably quieter with the higher Cetane diesel? Should be more pronounced when the engine is cold.

Edited by unthrottled on 16/01/2012 at 13:55

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - craig-pd130

Hard to say, the engine noise suppression within the car is very good. You only really hear the motor when you exercise it with a large throttle input.

If pressed, I'd say the engine note when used hard is a little less throaty with V-Power but it's not a night-and-day difference.

I have noticed fewer DPF regenerations while on V-Power. In theory its GTL content should mean less soot produced overall, but I've yet to find the % of GTL content.

Edited by craig-pd130 on 16/01/2012 at 16:56

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - unthrottled

I have noticed fewer DPF regenerations while on V-Power.

Really? In theory, a higher cetane diesel should produce more soot because a higher proportion of the fuel is burned in a sooty diffusion flame, rather than a clean premixed one. I suppose if the combustion starts a little earlier, there's a bit more time for soot oxidation. Surprised it would make any noticeable difference though. Does a dashboard light indicate when DPF regens are occurring?

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - craig-pd130

As mentioned, V-Power has a % of gas-to-liquid fuel which is supposedly much cleaner-burning than conventional mineral-based stuff ... but I'm not sure of the %. V-Power is the only one to use GTL.

Regenerations are indicated by slightly wooly throttle response, the instant mpg dropping by around 30% and the range dropping too for the duration of the regeneration. Typically last around 10 minutes on a motorway, 15 minutes in urban driving.

Edited by craig-pd130 on 16/01/2012 at 21:15

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - unthrottled

The only convincing method I've seen of modifying fuel to produce less soot is to oxygenate the fuel. But this reduces the energy content-and hence fuel economy. It also has a nasty habit of forming varnish/gums in the hot fuel injection system.

As usual, when you go looking for hard data on the company website, there's nothing more than a slick website with pictures of Ferraris and men in white coats...

No mention of GtL.

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - craig-pd130

I think they've dumbed their site down quite a bit. Lots of mentions elsewhere about Shell's new GTL plant in Qatar which opened last year to ramp up production: these also explicitly mention the V-Power link.

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - craig-pd130

10,000 miles up, and the car continues with no faults, excellent performance and comfort, and surprisingly good economy in all types of driving, despite the DPF and other emissions-related encumbrances.

My stopwatch gives 40-60 in 3rd gear in under 4 seconds, and in 4th gear in 5.1, giving great A- and B-road punch and relaxed overtaking.

On motorways, 60 - 80 in 5th is 7.2 seconds, which makes resuming cruising speeds quick and easy.

Economy from new has averaged a genuine 45.5mpg (about 35% motorway / open road, 65% urban journeys of under 10 miles). The mpg computer is 6% optimistic. Zero oil consumption. Service interval is one year / 18,000 miles.

Factory-fit tyres (Michelin Premacy 215 / 55 16") are less than half worn on the front, negligible wear on the rear.

I really, really like this car. As the D3 ES is priced in the same range as the Mondeo / Passat / Insignia / 320 / A4 / 508 4-pot diesels, the 5-cylinder motor really does set it apart and gives it a really involving character.

However, I think it only makes sense at the lower trim levels: the higher trim levels take you to A4 V6 / 330d territory, where its virtues don't stack up so well.

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - craig-pd130

The first real problem has cropped up. I had the Volvo serviced yesterday.

On an extended drive today, I found that throttle response and torque delivery in 3rd, 4th, 5th and 6th gears had decreased VERY noticeably in the 1,500rpm – 2,000rpm band, compared with before the service was done. Before the service, throttle response was very sharp and torque was thump-in-the-back stuff. After, there's at least a second or more of lag in the higher gears.

The car is now sluggish with almost no ‘punch’ until the revcounter indicates over 2,000rpm. For example, 40-60mph in 4th gear before the service was always around 5.1 - 5.2 seconds on my private test road (which is pretty much what Autocar's road test data says it should be).

On exactly the same stretch of road, it's now 6.3 seconds at best after the service.

I reported to the dealer, they said it's a known issue and that Volvo has a service bulletin about it. My symptoms are 'identical to the bulletin', according to the dealer.

The fix is a 'turbo adaptation', which involves following a defined road-test routine (presumably using full throttle to demand full boost), then stopping, putting the car in 'sleep mode' with a special key sequence on the remote keyfob, then waking it up and following the road-test routine again.

Apparently the dealer (Rybrook Volvo, Warrington, they've been very helpful) has done several of these in recent weeks, and all have been successful.

They couldn't tell me why it had happened now, after a year and 13,000 very happy miles, but they are confident the process will fix the problem.

I will report back next week when I have it back from the dealer.

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - unthrottled

That fix is hilarious! If someone told me to drive a car in a certain way, put it to 'sleep' by pressing the key fob for five seconds three times (or whatever the procedure is), then repeating the exercise, I would burst out laughing.

Is it to reset/recalibrate the turbo vane actuation or something? Still, it is an easy and cheap fix so who's complaing?

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - craig-pd130

Well, if it works, I won't complain .... I was equally sceptical and questioned them closely on it, unfortunately I couldn't get them to send a copy of the bulletin so I could try to do the 'procedure' myself.

It is to recalibrate the VNT actuating mechanism, I've seen a similar 'boost adaptation procedure' factory service bulletin for Saab turbos before.

From what I can tell, the VNT mechanism on the Volvo is both vacuum- and electrical stepper-motor operated. There's a conventional vacuum switch and actuator, and an electrical controller on the actuator housing. I'm guessing the stepper motor fine-tunes the actuator's position, and that it's drifted out of calibration ... suspiciously while the car was in the service bay. Funny coincidence, that.

Apparently, the procedure *does* need to be done with an OBD device in the car (presumably to check the actual boost matches the expected output under given throttle pedal input, etc).

Edited by craig-pd130 on 08/06/2012 at 18:48

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - craig-pd130

An update - the procedure worked, normal lag-free performance is restored.

Apparently the Volvo bulletin only applies to the D5204T2/3 2.0 litre 163bhp single-turbo engine used in the D3 variants, and it also lists certain chassis numbers too.

Edited by craig-pd130 on 13/06/2012 at 16:19

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - craig-pd130

Just hit 30,000 miles, and very little to add to the above. Fuel consumption since brand new has averaged 46.8mpg brim to brim, which continues to be excellent given the available performance and the size of the car.

No problems at all, still on the factory-fit Michelin Primacy tyres which have about 4mm left on the fronts, and are scarcely worn at the rear.

It's a shame that Volvo is killing this engine in favour of its modular 4-cylinder lump, to my mind the 5-cylinder motor gives it real character that will be lost.

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - Avant

Again many thanks, Craig for keeping us updated. Your usage is very similar to mine with my Octavia vRS estate - 31,000 miles since March 2011.

Mine has been similarly trouble-free, and a new one, which will be my third vRS, is on order. The V60 is an attractive alternative, but I buy my own cars and it's just too expensive - up into 3-series and A4 territory. I agree with you about the 5-cylinder engine - one of Volvo's USPs which they are throwing away.

Volvo V60 - Owner's diary on a new car - craig-pd130

Your usage is very similar to mine with my Octavia vRS estate - 31,000 miles since March 2011.

Thanks Avant - any chance of a 30K appraisal of the vRS under your ownership?

With Volvo switching engines, it's unlikely that there will be any 5-cylinder V60s available when my lease is up in summer 2014, so the vRS will be on my test-drive shortlist.

I'll also look seriously at switching back to petrol after a decade of diesels, as these days there isn't too much difference in the BIK tax.

 

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