My week with the 2013 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design starts with some nostalgia. I have always been known to show a great amount of interest in cars. Even as a toddler, my dad would point out cars on the road and I would be able to name each and every one. It didn’t matter if it was in the middle of the day or at night, I could identify any car even if all I could see was the headlights.
From day one, I have had a fondness for automobiles with especially sleek designs. With the evolving automotive industry, cars are no longer the heavy hunks of metal we were exposed to in the 70s. Standards have changed and several safety features have become completely standardized throughout this industry. The preservation of life has been integrated with comfort features and certain auto manufacturers take safety more seriously than others.
The 2013 S60 T6 is Volvo’s entry-level luxury car that has everything from a bajillion airbags, a Blind Spot Information System, laser-guided cruise control, and what seems like a never-ending list of safety features. Adding to these safety features are luxurious bits such as a premium audio system, power-folding mirrors, a navigation system, etcetera.
This midsizer is packed with some absolutely unbelievable equipment. For instance, the Driver Alert Control (DAC) collects steering wheel movement data and actively monitors your driving behaviour. It then compares your normal driving style to particularly erratic manoeuvres and corrective measures to suggest when it’s time to take a break. The Road Sign Information System uses the camera in the front grille of the S60 and displays speed limits and other road signs in the information module screen. The City Safety collision avoidance system helps the Volvo brake if it senses cars that are stopped or moving slowly. Even if the driver doesn’t apply the brake, the car will forcibly assist in avoiding low-speed collisions.
It’s also been proven that the S60, much like essentially everything else Volvo makes, is a class leader in terms of driver/passenger safety. Thankfully, I didn’t have the opportunity to test out its plethora of safety features. All of Volvo’s measures definitely do give me peace of mind though. After learning all the things this car will do to help save its occupants in any sort of accident, it’s pretty hard to justify any other brand of vehicle for a growing family.
One of my personal favourite cars in the entry-level luxury segment is this very car with the turbocharged 5-cylinder engine. I drove the S60 T5 equipped with all-wheel-drive this past winter and genuinely loved it. This beast however, had the Polestar 3.0L inline 6-cylinder engine running with 14.5psi of boost from the turbocharger. This is not to be confused with the Polestar model offered in Europe, but it’s nearly as good. This combination leads to a peppy 325-horsepower and 354 lb-ft of torque. Unlike a few of its competitors that have implemented dual-clutch transmissions, Volvo uses a 6-speed automatic.
I consider myself a pretty spirited driver and found that this Volvo pleased me in ways that I would never have imagined it could. Putting my foot down put the biggest grin on my face; the sound from the blow-off valve is great and there’s extremely satisfying spool from the turbocharger. The all-wheel-drive system worked impeccably during my rainy day jaunt through the back roads of Halton Hills, Ontario. The S60 gave me full confidence in the straights as well as around corners. It definitely does torque steer a little bit and feels a tad front-heavy, but nothing to really complain about. My heavy right foot gave me a combined fuel number of 9.9L/100km over the course of the week. Not bad at all.
One issue I do have with the car is the audio equipment. The S60’s competitors offer some great sound options; the Audi S4 has the Bang & Olufsen, the Lexus IS has the Mark Levinson setup, and the Cadillac ATS has a great Bose system. For a premium sound system, the Volvo’s speakers aren’t able to produce lows at all. Midrange and high notes are acceptable, but for a luxury car, I wasn’t really a fan. The navigation user interface lacked the “premium” feel that I would expect for over $50,000. There are cars on the market that are tens of thousands cheaper than this one with a better setup. On the other side of the spectrum, the Bluetooth is incredibly easy to use. Overall, the entertainment setup in the S60 is acceptable, but didn’t quite meet my expectations.
With its as-tested price of a pretty reasonable $52,070, I came away pretty impressed with the S60 R-Design. It’s not exactly the S60R performance queen of a decade ago, but the sleek design, countless hours put into research and development, and especially the absolutely extraordinary seats, I can definitely see myself in this car for many years to come.
2013 Volvo S60 T6 R-Design Gallery