We all remember the previous-generation Volvo S60. It was the sexiest car in its class but as the competition got stiffer, sales slowly dwindled and Volvo stopped production of the S60 for a while until the current-generation model came along earlier this year. It takes on its German competition. And while the previous-generation model came with the option of a diesel and a petrol engine, this new S60 comes solely with a petrol engine producing 187bhp. Let’s see what’s special about the new car.
When it comes to the styling, the new Volvo S60 looks nothing short of pretty; in fact, it could be mistaken for being an S90, but once you get up-close and notice the difference in its size, you’ll know this is a baby S90, and who’s complaining? It’s an attractive car in every sense of the word. Up-front, it gets a lot of chrome on the grille, flanked by the Thor-hammer LED headlamps and a sporty bumper. The bonnet of the Volvo S60 appears long but elegant with a ‘V’ pattern to it. The cabin is pushed all the way to the back and the strong beltline gives it some character. At the bottom of the C-pillar, there is a kink which gets highlighted in chrome. Move to the rear and you will see C-shaped tail lights, but unlike the bigger S90, the Volvo S60 gets its number plate on the bootlid. If you know your Volvo Cars, it won’t be difficult telling one apart from the other. Volvo Cars have built the S60 on the brand’s Scalable Platform Architecture and this is the first car in its segment to come with a transversely mounted engine. The S60 is powered by a 2.0-litre, four-cylinder petrol engine producing 187bhp and 300Nm of torque with power being sent to the front wheels through an 8-speed automatic transmission. The car also gets three drive modes: Comfort, Eco and Dynamic.
The Swedish car manufacturer has been renowned for passive safety, so the S60 gets a Euro NCAP five-star crash test rating. And there’s a whole lot more as well: adaptive cruise control, lane-keeping assist, adaptive cruise control, Pilot Assist and radar- and sonar-based emergency braking and avoidance.
Luxury and more
The moment you get into the car, you are perfectly at ease; this is a car that aims more at luxury and comfort than sportiness. The seats are huge and supportive, the cabin is immensely spacious and visibility out the front windscreen is good. The interior oozes high-quality materials, although the all-black theme isn’t to our liking. The leather is what impresses you most and the soft-touch dashboard feels expensive to touch; you get absolutely the same levels of quality on the S60 as you do on the rest of the Volvo range. This is one among the best cabins you can find yourself in, in this segment. The huge volume-control knob gets a chrome finish and there are multiple details that appear well built, like the solid steering wheel and the shutters on the central console. The S60 looks very similar to all other Volvo cars on the inside; you get the tablet-style touchscreen which works efficiently, and the absence of physical buttons for the air-conditioning is very welcome. But this also makes adjusting fan speed while you’re driving a bit troublesome and the icons on the screen are rather tiny. However, the screen is clear and the touch function works nicely and the black background helps, particularly at night.
Space at the rear is good; legroom is available in ample amounts and the powered front passenger seat can be moved forward by dabbing on a button on the screen. What also adds light to the cabin is the massive sunroof. But remember, at the rear, you sit low with your knees up, and since there’s a central tunnel, the third passenger at the back will not be seated in proper comfort. The backrest of the rear seat is supportive and we’re happy to note that the digital AC controls at the back are the result of good thinking. The boot of the S60 is huge in terms of depth and can swallow in large amounts of luggage. There’s also a button that locks the car when the boot closes and that makes it quite convenient. In terms of features, the S60 is equipped with wireless charging, a sunroof, valet and activity keys and four-zone climate control.
Out and about
The Volvo S60 is an easy and a very relaxing car to drive, be it within urban conditions or out on the highways. The engine responds well at slow speeds, the steering is well weighted and precise and it will impress you with stability and confidence at high speeds. The ride quality isn’t as good as you’d expect it to be because we could feel some firmness over rough roads and a thud does filter through every now and then. However, once you up the pace, the quiet suspension do a good job in absorbing bumps and the ride is flat for the most part, which means passengers won’t get unsettled. Around corners, you’re better off in a BMW 3-Series, because the S60 is not one that enjoys bends. There is body roll and it feels a bit too lethargic when you try pushing it.
The 2.0-litre petrol engine is a unit that is best driven at a relaxed pace because it sounds stressed and gets a bit loud after 5000rpm. In Dynamic mode, the transmission doesn’t feel too lively and performance is acceptable. We managed a top speed of about 180kph and while performance may not be the S60’s forte, what certainly is, is its laid-back dynamics that is sure to lure a lot of Indian car buyers.
The best Volvo?
It’s hard not to like this car for so many reasons. It has that big-car feel to it, which is counted in, in a market like ours. The interior exudes high levels of quality and there’s plenty of room as well. You get a lot of equipment as well, and there is no car that can match it for its multiple safety systems and features. The other point that’ll attract buyers is the fact that it looks like a smaller S90; Indian buyers seem to love the idea of having a smaller version of a bigger car. But if outright performance and handling is what you’re considering, then the S90 isn’t for you. This is a car that is well put together, is comfortable to be seated in and looks very stylish. It offers the buyer a lot of value for the price you pay and what more could one possibly ask for?