What is it?
Curvy and distinctive Swedish saloon that puts safety at the forefront of its not inconsiderable engineering prowess, the S60 is giving up some of its past Volvo identity to become another accomplished but indistinguishable Euro-box with competent road manners, good refinement and lots of kit at a keen price.
However, do be aware Volvo has just revealed a facelifted version, with far-reaching changes above and below the surface. This revised model goes on sale later this year.
The S60 is firmly sprung, giving it a slightly more sporting edge than we’d have expected from the brand that puts safety before breakfast on its daily to-do list. Volvo wanted this car to be a bit more exciting than past efforts and has tried to engineer and style it to complement this. It hasn’t worked. There’s plenty of grip and the body is controlled in corners, but the steering is lifeless and vague and the auto ’box not up to a performance role.
In a straight line, all the S60 engine variants are quick, but the 3.0-litre six-cylinder T6, with four-wheel drive as standard, gets its 304bhp down with the most confidence and powers out of corners better than the rest. But it’s expensive and next to pointless: we’d much rather have the throbby new five-cylinder D3 diesel, while those after more speed should choose the 215bhp 2.4-litre D5.
On the inside
The S60 feels a little tight in the cabin, especially when compared to something like the reasonably sized Passat or positively cavernous Mondeo that both undercut it. Volvo does make a lovely interior, though, managing to remain quite unique in the way it styles its console and instrument binnacle. Everything looks and feels very high quality in here, as close to the best German rivals as anyone else has got and more so in some areas of detail.
The front seats, as always with Volvos, are really comfortable and supportive and this feels like the sort of car you could do high miles in without getting tired or stiff . Unless you’re in the back, however, which is a bit pinched for this class.
The Volvo S60 is well equipped, with the entry-level model still equipped with posh toys like sat nav. Every car in the range also gets Volvo’s City Safety System that recognises pedestrians in the road ahead via a camera hidden in the rear-view mirror. It gives you a warning to brake and if you don’t, it does it for you. All very 21st-century Volvo, and occasionally just a little bit too much like Big Brother. All diesels emit less than 120g/km CO2: the D2, D3 and D4 all average an impressive 65.7mpg.