Barely 10 days before the Volvo V60 was due to be returned to Volvo South Africa, it still had around 1 000 km to cover in order to reach its targeted 20 000km.
Fortunately, we love it when a plan comes together. Its custodian, Ian McLaren, was kind enough to lend it to me for a planned long weekend holiday. Our destination was the idyllic village of Nature’s Valley, just 30 km east from Plettenberg Bay.
If you drive along the N2, Nature’s Valley is 530 km from Cape Town, but I decided on the picturesque Route 62 instead. In total it only added around 80 km to our journey.
With my mother and wife on-board, luggage for 9 days, food for a week, books, magazines and body-boarding equipment, there wasn’t a lot of space left over. The fact that the rear seats can fold down in the traditional 60:40 split also helped, especially if you still want to fit one passenger in the rear.
With the tyres inflated by a few extra bar, we happily cruised towards the south coast. Although the traffic didn’t allow me to drive at constant three-figure speeds, it clearly helped with a reduction in the V60’s average fuel consumption. We achieved an average of 9,5 litres/100 km on our outward journey. On our return trip, with one fewer passenger and her luggage, we managed to bring that down to 9,2 litres/100 km.
The Volvo’s 2,0-litre turbocharged petrol engine proved that 177 kW and 320 N.m is really more of luxury than a necessity. When overtaking a truck or slower-moving traffic, you know you can rely on the engine to execute the manoeuvre as quickly as possible. Otherwise, I found the cabin to be quiet and well-insulated from exterior noise. This was even the case on a 35 km fairly smooth section of gravel road we drove on. The leather seats were comfortable for both front and rear passengers.
Ian has mentioned this before, but I can confirm it first hand: The lower section of the loading really should be better protected. Every time you pack or unpack equipment, gear or luggage there’s a possibility that it will scratch the paint or the boot door’s rubber, never a good thing.
This trip just proved to me again that if you don’t venture off-road, a station wagon is usually the better and more convenient option compared with a compact SUV.
What I liked on this trip: Noise intrusion is minimal, power when you need it
What I didn’t like on this trip: Loading area above rear bumper needs to be more rugged
*Look out for a full video wrap-up of the Volvo V60 in a future issue of CAR magazine followed by a video report on CARmag.co.za.
Previous long-term reports on this car:
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