Volvo S60 – Sophisticated yet simple
For a country that gave us Spotify, H&M, and ABBA, Sweden is an understated nation. The Swedes are well known for their elegant and simplistic approach to design. Take IKEA’s modular furniture range for instance. Their minimalist look and simplicity are appreciated all over the world. Volvo – Sweden’s best-selling car brand for the world – has similar traits of being modern and stylish. Unlike most other European luxury cars, these attract their own clientele. These customers are sophisticated yet simple, much like the new S60.
If the S90 is to be seen as the sedan equivalent of Volvo’s flagship XC90 SUV, then it’s easy to liken the S60 to its crossover sibling, the XC60. For all intents and purposes, it is a scaled-down version of the S90. The horizontal LED bar in Thor’s hammer extends out from the headlight, like in the XC60. The radiator grille is typical Volvo with vertical slats in concave form. The side profile is very stately and in my opinion, it is one of the best to proportion in its segment. The rear is dominated by ‘C’ shaped tail lights slightly different from its big brother. Simple 18-inch multi-spoke alloy wheels complete the exterior. An R Design model with aggressive styling will look even better when it arrives later.
Interior is pure Volvo, with its signature dash design and vertical multi-media touch interface. It has minimal switches, a smoothly operating touch system, good quality graphics, and reversing camera. The quality of materials used is of the highest quality and lifts the ambiance considerably. The Harman/Kardon sound system performs better than in most other cars. Seats are comfortable, like in most Volvos and you will love the angle of the head restraint. The rear seat is supportive and roomy but is best suited for two. The boot is deep and has space for a space saver wheel, and is accessible via a small hatch in the centre of the backrest – good for long objects.
The engine is a 2.0L petrol, inline 4 cyl with 190bhp and 300Nm. It has enough grunt to propel the S60 in a smart way, but this car is at its best when driven in a gentle manner. The engine feels strained after 5000rpm and the gearbox isn’t very eager to shift up or down when you are in a hurry. 0-100kph takes a leisurely 9.4 seconds and like all new Volvos, top speed is limited to 180kmph. If you want better performance, all its rivals are faster and more fun.
The driving dynamics have come a long way from old Volvos, but it is no match for the others in its class. The steering lacks the connected feel and the car feels lazy to change directions when driven hard. There is too much body roll, but it isn’t because the suspension is too soft. There is a hint of firmness in the ride which improves as speeds rise. Like most Volvos, the Lane-keeping assist (on roads with proper marking) and collision avoidance perform as expected.
It may not be the best to drive, but if you aren’t looking at it as a sports sedan, the S60 has a lot to offer. It has a big car feel inside, very comfortable front seats, high-quality interiors and comes loaded with tech that none of the rivals offer. It feels sophisticated and looks much better with sharp lines that will age well. If you want something different from the German trio (A4, 3 series, C class) and the only Brit (Jag XE), the Volvo S60 is the one for you.
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