Volvo S60 – A Swedish 3-series?

When the Volvo S60 was released in 2012 it had gone through a major revamp compared to its older cousin, everything on the car had changed, for the better. Driving the change was trying to make a dent in BMW 3-series and Audi A4-sales. We took the Volvo S60 D3 2014 for a test-drive.

Volvo S60 2014 front

Volvo design

When seeing the Volvo S60 you will notice that it follows Volvos new design concept, common to most recent Volvo models. Although the design is still Volvoish it look better and sportier than the previous S60-series, the headlights are bigger and shaped more aero-dynamically. The rear of the car looks great with more straight Volvo-lines. Looking at the interior things are shaping up, it’s clear that Volvo is not trying to copy their German competitors too much, instead they go their own way with a cleaner Scandinavian design.  The driver environment is comfortable and logical, it’s quiet even at higher speeds and the seats are best in class.

A good choice by Volvo is that Bluetooth comes as standard on the S60, finally at least one car-manufacturer has come to it senses, on many other cars it’s still an accessory.

Volvo S60 interior scandinavian design

Engines and power

There are a number of engines available for the Volvo S60, we tried the turbo-powered diesel, D3, 2014. Other engine options available are Volvos super-economical drivE-system (which is basically a small diesel engine at 115 hp), the D5 (215 bhp). The S60 can also be bought with several petrol engine options; T3, T4, T5, T6 (150, 180, 240, 304 bhp). The T5-version will be the base version in North America while the T3 and T4 will be available in Europe.  There is also a power version S60 Polestar.  Volvo S60 is FWD but has an AWD option, to be honest it’s really no use unless driving in some real harsh conditions, the S60 is stable from the very beginning, also during the winter.

What’s it like to drive?

Driving the Volvo S60 is somewhat of a revelation, you expect the old usual Volvo-driving capabilities, too sensitive steering at high speeds and somewhat dull. But the new Volvo S60 is completely different.

In our test run on a normal highway the Volvo S60 D3 never seemed to run out power, also it was surprisingly quiet and comfy. The suspension worked the occasional bumps like a charm, although the suspension is a bit stiff when driving slower across pot-holes etc.  Driving the Volvo on twisty roads is even more fun, the chassis is balanced well and the acceleration even in the D3-version that we tested is surprisingly good.  However the S60 comes in short against its German rival, the BMW 3-series, it doesn’t deliver the fun compared to the BMW, and the price is not that different.

Volvo S60 rear

Pros and cons – Volvo S60

Pros:
Fun and stable to drive for a Volvo
Bluetooth from the start
Good everyday engine range
Scandinavian interior design, finally some differentiation in car design!
Doesn’t try to be German
Volvos safety record

Cons:
Not as fun to drive as the BMW 3-series
Pricy (we are almost talking BMW money)

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