Cars/ First-drive/ Swede and Spicy - Volvo S60 First Drive Review

Swede and Spicy - Volvo S60 First Drive Review



Specs & Prices

Volvo as a brand has always amused me. It is not a flamboyant German brand yet it competes with the holy German trio of Mercedes, Audi, and BMW on the global turf with its limited offerings in its unique way. It holds its own and has earned the badge of “safety first” and probably that’s why when you buy a Volvo you buy into a safety net which it has woven around its brand persona. Having established that, we still need to fasten our seat belts and there is no better kick off the review of the Volvo S60 than by quoting the famous band Passengers, “ You only hate the road when you’re missing home.”

The S60 reminds you to take a break and have a coffee once it knows that you have been driving for a long stretch. The key can be configured to give your driver speed restrictions and not to be playful, more power in your hands that is and this luxury sedan drives and carries itself with confidence and comfort. Probably Volvo knows that with S60 it is going to make life difficult for Audi A4, BMW 3 series and Mercedes C class. Let’s just also say that for a change you won't miss buying an SUV in the lap of this Swedish luxury sedan. I literally drove this for 2 days straight with 7+ hours on the road without any coffee breaks and my back was well-rested and I was quite impressed with what the package has to offer. The missing chain is the price announcement and we will have to wait till Feb Mid to know that. If priced right, we will see a lot of S60s on the roads, surely.

The Ignition and the Exteriors

The start button itself will take you a couple of minutes to figure if it is your first time in a Volvo. It is not the usual push button but sort of a quarter-turn dial like you are cranking an old engine. The third-generation Volvo S60 is also an easily recognizable car from its other rivals, quite distinct I would say. The grille is also cooler now and in line with their entire product lineup. All models now come with the T-shaped “Thor hammer” LED headlights that turn with the steering wheel. Nothing to do the Marvel Thor, in case you are wondering. The C-shaped taillights are now more prominent and add to its appeal. The rear design is what will amplify its road presence and amongst its other peers, it definitely holds on its own.

Lets Step Inside

Inside, the look is simple yet distinct and can be compared with the V60. It has a nice touch of leather and even the metal effect trim on the dash doesn't look bad though the plasticky feel could have been improved. There’s the blind-spot monitor, rear cross-traffic alert, two USB-C ports in the back seat, keyless entry with an automatic trunk release, auto-dimming and power-folding exterior mirrors, and the company's Care Key that allows an owner to set limitations on the vehicle's top speed.

You'll spot oval hallmarks like on the engine start knob and the vertically oriented 9" screen which is easy to navigate. It doesn't take up the entire screen when you connect it with the Apple CarPlay or Android Auto. You can control and operate most of the car’s system via the infotainment screen. The car has built-in Spotify and if you need any help in parking, the 360-degree camera with bird's eye view will come as a saviour. However, a few physical buttons would have come handy especially when you are driving as fiddling with a touch screen is cumbersome and not very intuitive.

The seats are one of the most comfortable in any car and the driving position is bang on. There are plenty of options available to adjust the steering wheel and driving seat, so no matter how strange the driving position you prefer, you'll feel more than comfortable in this one. When my hands are on the steering, the armrest feels a little bit squishy but it might feel comfortable for others, depending on body status. The rear seats have acres of leg and headroom, and if you want to be driven around then you will not grumble and this is where it scores over the Germans.

Down here, there's a sizable hump on the floor which will definitely convert a middle passenger's journey into an uncomfortable ride but if you drive along with two rearseat passengers, then there’s nothing to worry about. If you pull the middle armrest down, you'll have loads of storage to put down your phone, coffee cups and maybe squeeze in that odd dumbbell to do your bicep curl!

The Boot is a bummer

The boot of S60 is quite compatible in size; it's nice, wide, and can digest up to five carry-on suitcases, which is one less than the 3-series. There's no underfloor storage, although there's space for a spare wheel in there. Compared to its rivals it's not that bad but it only has one fixed rear bench which means you can't fold down the rear seats for more storage.

Driving - Ignore the coffee breaks, its comfortable to continue driving

It can sprint from nought to 100 km/h in just a shade over 6 seconds. The S60 T4-incription trim, the one one that’s available on sale in India, will use a 187bhp, 300Nm four-cylinder petrol engine that comes mated with an eight-speed automatic gearbox. The 2.0-litre engine comes with three driving modes - comfort, eco, and dynamic, and dynamic is my favourite mode. Because this car sits in the sweet spot in the entry-level luxury sedan space and quite dynamic in many aspects, if the pricing on the meter is pinned right than the sales will accelerate faster than it does 0-100.

To conclude, the S60 will look good parked in your garage, will make you look and feel comfortable when you are sitting in the rear seat and the driver’s seat is fun and comfortable. Overall, a great package!

TopGear Magazine July 2024