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Driven March 2011
Volvos have always been nice, functional and safe cars. But they’ve never really been very good looking cars. While other manufacturers had discovered curves, Volvo was still designing cars with a ruler and pencil. Perhaps, this is why Volvos were associated with the older generation. So why are we excited about this Volvo S60? Just look at it. Volvo say’s it naughty, I bet old people say it’s vulgar!
We like the new crouching tiger look. Never has a Volvo looked so aggressive; full marks for that. With this new look, the S60 aims squarely at the younger generation of buyers. It is certainly doing well on the looks front, but perhaps the bigger battle is taking the 3-series, A4 and the C-class head on, which, are very established players here in India and have good amounts of snob value going for them. We drove the S60 Summum D5. It is the same 5-cylinder diesel doing duty in every other Volvo car on sale in India. It belts out 205bhp with 420Nm of torque.
Volvo claims it will hit 100kph in 7.8 seconds and that’s pretty good. Especially when you consider the six-speed automatic transmission isn’t as young as Volvo thought. It takes its own time to shift and you have to get used to it. It does well enough if you aren’t in Richard Burns mode all the time. But if you are, do take a look at the petrol T6.
On the inside, the S60 is quite a nice place to be in. And if you’ve driven a Volvo before, you’ll be right at home. The comfy front seats that I like to call ‘Darth Vader’ thrones provide support in all the right places. The saddle brown leather upholstery with wood trim gives the Volvo a nice luxurious air about it. It isn’t very flamboyant, but still nice.
Out on the road, the D5 is a pretty good performer. Its free revving nature means this twin turbo does well pottering around at city speeds as well as high speed dashes across the country. And it’s pretty efficient to boot with an overall figure of 9.5kpl. Handling is decent, the S60 does feel a bit heavy around corners. It doesn’t like to be hustled too much. Ride quality is good, with a hint of firmness at low speed. Overall, the S60 makes a good highway cruiser.
The S60 is all trims, comes packed to the gills with safety equipment, apart from the regular ABS, airbags affair. You get blind spot indication, active bending lights, adaptive cruise control that will stop the car if the idiot behind the wheel doesn’t. With the amount of safety kit on offer, it seriously takes skill to crash this car. The S60 range starts at Rs. 27 lakh (ex-Delhi). The top-end Summum variant retails for Rs. 32 lakh (ex-Delhi).
In a nutshell, the S60 comes across as a breath of fresh air in a market that’s filled with Audis, BMWs and Mercs. It may not have the snob value of the Germans. But who said herd mentality was a good thing?