2011 Volvo S60 T6 | road test

Posted on Dec 28, 2010 by

The S60 really impressed us in both looks and driving

AT A GLANCE

FOR

  • Sharp looks
  • Great handling
  • Premium feel

AGAINST

  • Sat nav display screen could be bigger
  • Disappointing sound system

SUMMARY

The S60 is our nomination for Surprisingly Impressive Car of 2010. It snuck up on us quietly and then wowed us by being an absolute cracker. The mid-size executive sedan, which we drove in T6 AWD form, is really great, with sharp, dynamic looks, a powerful engine, superb interior and great handling. There’s very little that we don’t like about it.

Handling and performance are excellent on the 300bhp T6 version

PERFORMANCE

The T6 engine is a 3.0-litre, turbocharged straight six putting out a refined and smooth 300bhp. It’s superb, with power available anywhere in the rev range thanks to plenty of low-down torque and barely a trace of lag from the turbo.

Acceleration is great thanks to the four-wheel drive, reaching 100kph in just over six seconds, and the gearbox is silky smooth and quick shifting.

HANDLING AND RIDE

Handling in the S60 is crisp, whether the chassis is set to Comfort or Sport mode. The steering is perfectly weighted and very quick and direct, giving an athletic feel to the car. It turns in really beautifully on a balanced chassis and has lots of grip. All these factors combine to make it genuinely fun to drive – not something we expected from , but very welcome indeed.

The interior is simple, stylish and very well put together

The ride is brilliant. A rear seat passenger even remarked during our test drive how smooth it was, which is particularly impressive given the dynamic qualities of the suspension.

COMFORT

The interior is fairly standard Volvo fare, which means pleasantly simple Scandinavian design. Some nice chrome swoops and other touches to give it a sporty air, which in our test car consisted of some swanky brushed aluminium.

The floating centre console is very cool, with a storage area located behind the air conditioning controls.

Everything feels really solid and expensive and build quality is on par with anything else out there. All the switches are nicely damped, there’s soft touch material everywhere and the plastic don’t feel brittle or cheap.

Simple, but effective

The driving seat is very comfortable and nicely supportive.

PRACTICALITY

There’s a good size boot on the S60 and plenty of room front and back for up to five occupants. Storage wise, there are door bins in the front and rear, two good-sized cupholders up front and space under the centre armrest for storing things.

FEATURES

The S60 comes loaded with some excellent features, including one of the best adaptive cruise control systems we’ve tried. It’s very smooth when slowing and speeding up, unlike some competitors, although we would like to be able to adjust the target speed in 1kph increments rather than 5kph.

The Blind Spot Information System is very useful and works well, flashing a light by the wing mirrors if a difficult-to-detect vehicle is lurking. An HUD-style red warning light turns on if you’re too close to the car in front and flashes if the in-car computer thinks you’re in danger of hitting the car in front. Fail to react and it’ll brake for you. Clever.

In case you hadn't realised, we really like the S60

We like the full iPod integration with an easy to use interface, although the sound from the stereo in our test car was disappointing. Even after fiddling with the settings, it was too bassy and lacking in mid-range.

The sat nav is also intuitive via the crisp if slightly small display. It’s not a touch screen, which for us wasn’t a problem but may reduce boasting rights for the tech-conscious.

SAFETY

Volvo is renowned worldwide for its safety and the S60 is therefore predictably crammed full of kit, including an advanced electronic stability control, corner traction control and a new pedestrian detection system that will automatically brake the car if someone steps out in front of it.

Driver Alert Control will sound an alarm if it detects the driver falling asleep at the wheel while the Lane Departure Warning system alerts the driver if the car wanders out of its lane. Front, side and curtain and knee airbags are also included.

Volvo's have always had a reputation for safety and the S60 is aptly equipped

COSTS

The S60 range starts at 113,000 AED for the 1.6T, while the top-of-the-range T6 we drove starts at 149,900 AED. In comparison, the 3.2 V6-powered Audi A4 is 185,000AED and has less power, while the 300bhp BMW 335i is more than 200,000AED. This makes the Volvo something of a bargain in our eyes.

The official combined fuel economy for the T6 is 9.9 litres per 100km, which gives it a theoretical range of around 680km from its 67.5-litre fuel tank.

Volvo offers a three-year, unlimited mileage warranty on the S60.

2011

Engine: 3.0-litre turbocharged straight six cylinder
Max power (bhp/rpm): 300/5,600
Max torque (Nm/rpm): 440/2,100-4,200
Transmission: Six-speed automatic
Driven wheels: All-wheel drive
Kerb weight: 1,711kg
Price (AED): 149,900

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