Volvo S60

2016 Volvo S60

The Volvo S60 is appealing for its striking good looks and first-rate safety scores, and it backs that up with sharp handling and premium trim and engineering.

This second-generation S60 was introduced as a 2011 model then updated for 2014 and 2015.5, most recently with a new grille, bumper, and hood, new LED running lights and headlights. For model year 2016, Volvo S60 carries over with only minor changes beyond those.

All-wheel drive is an option, front-wheel drive is standard, and a dizzying variety of powertrains is available. Standard is a recently introduced 2.0-liter turbocharged four-cylinder engine that makes 240 horsepower on Regular gasoline and gets an EPA rating of 25/37 mpg City/Highway, 29 mpg Combined. With it, Volvo says the S60 T5 Drive-E can accelerate from 0-60 mph in 6.0 seconds, a very brisk performance. It comes with an 8-speed automatic with Sport mode and front-wheel drive.

The all-wheel-drive S60 T5 AWD comes with a 2.5-liter five-cylinder rated at 250 horsepower and lower EPA figures: 20/29 mpg City/Highway, or 23 mpg Combined, also on less-expensive Regular gas. It comes paired with a 6-speed automatic and 0-60 capability of 6.6 seconds, still quick by anyones stopwatch.

The S60 T6 Drive-E comes with a more powerful turbocharged 2.0-liter rated at 302 hp, 24/35/28 mpg, and a very quick 0-60 performance time of 5.6 seconds, with the 8-speed automatic.

The performance-oriented S60 R-Design holds a turbocharged 3.0-liter six-cylinder that produces 325 hp propelling it to 60 mph from a standstill in just 5.4 seconds. It comes with the 6-speed automatic and EPA rating of 18/26/21 mpg.

If not luxurious, Volvo S60 models feel like premium vehicles, in terms of trim, ride quality and quiet operation. Due to its lower stance and stiffer sports suspension, the S60 R-Design transmits more noise and road harshness.

With its sharp handling, the S60 competes at the sportier end of the premium and luxury spectrum, though its more quietly competent than all-out luxurious. In that respect, the S60 comes closer to an Acura or Infiniti than to anything from BMW or Mercedes-Benz. A little larger than a compact BMW 3 Series or Acura TLX, the S60 is smaller inside than a midsize Audi A6. Performance falls closer to a Buick Regal GS or BMW 3 Series.

Assembled in China, the S60 Inscription model features an extended-length body. Fit and finish on the Inscription we tested appeared identical to S60s built in Europe.

Maintaining its reputation for safety, Volvos S60 got a five-star rating in every category from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. By the numbers, at least, its one of the safest cars you can buy. An extensive selection of electronic safety systems is available, though many are optional.

2014 Volvo S60

The 2014 Volvo S60 features fresh styling and an upgraded interior. Launched as a 2011 model, the S60 is a premium compact sedan that fits in the same class as the BMW 3 Series, Audi A4, Mercedes-Benz C-Class, Cadillac ATS, Lexus IS, Infiniti G, Buick Regal, and Hyundai Sonata.

Volvo S60 comes in a broad range of models. The 2014 S60 lineup starts with the Volvo S60 T5, which uses a 2.5-liter turbocharged inline-5 making 250 horsepower, 6-speed automatic, front-wheel drive standard, all-wheel drive optional. The midlevel S60 T6 AWD, the most popular model, comes with a 300-horsepower turbocharged and intercooled inline-6. Topping the line is the S60 R-Design, which raises the power to 325 horsepower and 354 foot-pounds of torque, a lot of power; R-Design features a sleeker nose, firmer suspension, 18-inch wheels, more seat bolstering, a unique steering wheel and racier instrumentation.

Styling revisions for 2014 begin with new body panels from the windshield pillars forward. A new hood and front fenders surround a widened grille on the 2014 Volvo S60. Headlights have been reshaped for 2014, and a new lower front spoiler has bright trim. Horizontal LED daytime running lights are new for 2014. Also, 17-inch Pandora alloy wheels are standard on the 2014 S60 T5. A new instrument cluster is installed for 2014, with white-illuminated buttons. The tire-pressure monitoring system now lets the driver know which axle has the problem.

Many optional packages have been upgraded for 2014. Among them: Premier trim gets new 17-inch Sadia alloy wheels for 2014, while Premier Plus gains a rear park assist camera, grocery bag holders, and quick-fold front passenger seat. Platinum trim gets auto-dimming, power retractable outside mirrors. The optional Climate Package adds a heated windshield and steering wheel, while the Technology Package adds Cyclist Detection to its Pedestrian Detection system. A new Sport Package for 2014 includes sport seats, paddle shifters, 18-inch Titania alloy wheels, and Volvo's Dynamic Chassis. A new Blind Spot Information System Package includes cross traffic alert, lane-change merge aid, and front/rear park assist. The 2014 S60 T6 now comes standard with paddle shifters (optional for T5), a first for Volvo. New Advanced Quick Shift shortens gear-change speed by 20-30 percent for third to sixth gears, and up to 50 percent from first to second. New 18-inch Titania alloy wheels go on the S60 T6 AWD sedan, which gains Keyless Drive. T6 options now include 17-inch Sadia alloy wheels, or 19-inch diamond-cut alloy wheels with a lowered sport chassis. The S60 T6 R-Design AWD gains a digital compass, plus a Homelink remote garage door opener.

The Volvo S60 is stylish, clean and sophisticated. Same with the interior.

The S60 T6 uses Volvo's Dynamic Chassis, while the S60 T5 uses the Touring Chassis. Differences lie in the stiffness of bushings, springs and dampers. Each chassis delivers excellent handling. The all-wheel-drive T6 offers secure cornering. Even the front-wheel-drive T5 features Corner Traction Control by Torque Vectoring, which moves torque to the outside wheel/wheels to help steer the car around a turn.

The T5 engine is a 2.5-liter inline five-cylinder turbo, making an impressive 250 horsepower with 266 foot-pounds of torque. The EPA estimates the front-drive T5 will get 21/30 mpg City/Highway. We think the T5 offers good value, considering its power, safety engineering, comfort and style.

The T6 engine is a 3.0-liter turbocharged intercooled inline six-cylinder, making 300 horsepower, and 325 pound-feet of torque at a low 2100 rpm. Wonderfully smooth and quick when passing on two-lanes, it gets an EPA-estimated 18/25 mpg City/Highway. The pumped-up S60 R-Design gets the same fuel economy rating.

The S60 R-Design makes 25 more horsepower and 29 more foot-pounds of torque than the 300-hp T6, thanks to ECM programming for more boost, fuel, and sharper throttle response. It's quite noticeable in track driving, where it's a good thing the suspension is stiffer. Despite Torque Vectoring, it still understeers when cornered at the limit.


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