An unassuming entry in our favourite car class Although some may not think it to be as pretty as it’s competitors, the S60 is not to be overlooked.
The S60 T6 is Volvo’s answer to the likes of Audi’s S4 and BMW’s 335i. Although some may not think it to be as pretty as it’s competitors, it is not to be overlooked. This number from Volvo is really quite easy on the eyes, and it’s stunning compared to the boxed-off wagons of Volvo-past. Over the past few days I had the keys to the latest model – the 2014 Volvo S60 T6 AWD. To be honest, I never really expected to have as much fun as I did driving a Volvo – however this car is full of surprises.
Unassuming on the outside the S60 is packing a 3.0L turbocharged I-6 pushing no less than 300 horsepower @ 5,600 rpm, and a generous 325 lb-ft. of. When I heard “Volvo” I used to think “Safe”, but after a few days in the drivers seat I think “Safe, fast, and really comfortable.”
My test car came fully equipped with just about everything in it Volvo has to offer on the S60 – from a heated steering wheel & rear seats, to Urbane wood inlays and a plethora of safety systems with more acronyms than you can shake a car at (BLIS, LCMA, CTA, WHIPS, and ROPS, to name a few). Volvo has really put a lot of equipment into this car, but when you sit down in it you don’t feel overwhelmed by flight deck’s worth of buttons. If anything, you’re overwhelmed by how comfortable the seats are – it’s a good thing there is a Driver Alert Control on the car to warn dozing drivers, the seats are that comfortable. The front seats are quite spacious with plenty of leg and head room, but passengers in the back seat can’t exactly be NBA players – the legroom is a bit tight for a sedan of this size.
Legroom aside, the cabin is a very comfortable place to be. For the driver the full-colour gauge cluster has 3 configuration modes (Eco, Performance, and Elegance). For everyone in the car, Volvo’s Premium Sound system is really quite good once you manage to pair your phone up to it (I ran into some issues when I was trying to charge my phone from the car’s built-in USB port while streaming audio through Bluetooth). There is USB connectivity for those who want to plug in their devices that way.
As I mentioned earlier, the turbocharged I-6 in this car is spitting 300hp out of it: it goes quick. I was actually really surprised how quickly the S60 picked up and found myself throwing the shifter into Sport mode and hammering down the throttle just for the heck of it. Volvo says the T6 will do 0-100km/h in around 5.9 seconds, and I believe them. The AWD system does a really good job of putting the power down as well. Paddle shifters are a nice touch although sometimes I felt the transmission was shifting before I would have wanted it to – there was also a noticeable lag between shifts during spirited acceleration. The car feels very planted even in the rain, and the CTC (Volvo slang for Corner Traction Control) system applies braking to the inside wheels and redistributes torque to the outside when any traction is lost under cornering. This along with that dictionary of safety acronyms installed on the car creates some serious peace of mind. The S60 is incredibly quick, but it isn’t ever scary – even when braking late into a sharp turn in the rain. My heavy foot saw me returning a fuel economy of around 12.5L/100km, which isn’t great, but those sprints sure put a smile on my face. One neat fact is that Volvo’s turbocharged engines can get away with regular fuel. As an automotive enthusiast though, I wouldn’t dream of putting anything short of 91-octane juice into an engine with forced-induction.
All of these electronic features and gadgets can be really great, but sometimes they can get in the way. The collision detection system seemed overly sensitive and ultimately I had to turn it off when I was driving downtown Toronto – it flashes some red LED warning lights and stops the music to play an audible alert to warn you if you are approaching another vehicle too quickly. I didn’t think I was being unsafe, but the car obviously disagreed, thankfully never to the extent of activating the automatic braking systems. Another feature with mixed blessings is the ability to fold down the rear headrests with the push of a button on the center console. This is really great to increase visibility, but a friend of mine found out the car doesn’t stop the headrests from dropping if you have a passenger in the seat. We named this the “Are-we-there-yet?” button. The fact that this button resides right next to the heated steering wheel toggle will keep rear-seat passengers ever-alert in the wintertime.
Overall though, the S60 T6 AWD is a really comfortable and surprisingly fun car. Although, with an as-tested price of over $57,000, it darn well should be. With very few changes this car could be a near-perfect sports sedan (I’m sure the optional factory Polestar software upgrade for the engine couldn’t hurt, either) and as you’d expect from Volvo, safety is a huge priority in the S60. The design is functional, the engine is powerful, and I can’t stress enough that the seats are stupendously comfortable. If you want an unassuming car, that can accelerate very nicely while making you feel like you’re on your living room couch, you had better look at the 2014 Volvo S60.
2014 Volvo S60 T6 AWD Gallery