The Volvo S60 is a small saloon car which is Volvo's answer to zi' Germans. The S60 rivals the likes of the Mercedes-Benz C Class, BMW 3 Series and the Audi A4. It may not seem like an obvious rival at first, but once you get into the specification of the S60, it really shows that Volvo has tried to capture the attention of your everyday C-Class/A4/3er customer.
So, is it better than its rivals? Is it worth cross-shopping for when looking for a small saloon? Volvo sent me a S60 D2 to find out if it really is something for the Germans to worry about.
The Volvo S60 D2 features a turbocharged diesel 4-cylinder 1.6-liter engine which outputs a decent 115 bhp. Equipped with this decent amount of power, the S60 can hit naught to 60 mph in 11.9 seconds. If you decide to push hard enough you can hit a cool top speed of 118 mph.
These figures may not seem exciting enough, however, it's all in the name of economy and affordability. The gearbox however, is impressive itself. The S60 features a 'Powershift' 6-speed wet-clutch electronic automatic transmission which delivers the power of the car efficiently.
The gearbox is set up for maximum efficiency and does an excellent job to deliver it. One of the best things about this 'Powershift' gearbox is its sport mode. Simply push the gear-lever leftwards and the car will feel tauter as the throttle will become incredibly sensitive to any input. It's a great thing to have especially when you're in the need to get off the line as quickly as possible.
The suspension is nicely damped too giving you perfectly flat cornering which is great on a nice twisty road.
The Volvo S60 starts at £20,550, however, our test car was just over £27,000 which is quite steep for its specification. However, our test car was equipped with Volvo's new 'Sensus Connected Touch' system which is frankly awesome. You get apps like Spotify and Deezer in-built so you can stream your favourite music wherever you are which was great for me as it saved me from the hassle of connecting my phone.
You can even connect to the internet too. However, I did have quite an issue connecting to the internet because it seemed the internet in the Volvo S60 would work under its own accord which was irritating.
The sound system in the S60 was excellent, you could turn up the volume all the way and still hear vocals clearly. The speakers also picked up very low bass frequencies which sounded great.
I wouldn't say the S60 excels in comfort, but don't get me wrong, it is a very nice car to be in, it just doesn't have that special finesse or sense of occasion its rivals have. The test car we received was the Business Edition which is very basic, it didn't have any leather seats or leather on the dash, it was all a bit, well, dull. However, equip the S60 well enough and it'll increase its interior appeal.
The seats are very supportive and comfortable too which isn't surprising as Volvo seats have always been nice to lay your bum for decades now!
However, that 'well-damped' suspension has a trade-off – it's just way too stiff for town roads, the S60 hits potholes which sends a jolt through the cabin, it isn't entirely pleasant, but hey, throw it around some bends and you'll forgive it.
The Volvo S60 is surprisingly roomy for its size, even though its smaller than a 3 series, it boasts about the same room. The boot is plentiful, however, it could do with some shopping hooks as shopping can roll about. Room in the back isn't exactly plentiful either because 6ft'ers can only just about get comfortable in the rear, but 3 people can sit abreast because the transmission tunnel isn't intrusive.
There are plenty of storage bins in the car too as the S60 features a decent sized cubby hole, glovebox and side door bins. The S60 also comes with 2 cupholders at the front which have rubber mounts ensuring your can of coke doesn't jiggle around and make annoying rattling sounds. However, there are no cupholders in the rear, that may be because of the S60′s trim we had.
The Volvo S60 D2 is fantastic when it comes to economy. I ran it for 3 days driving non-stop and on endless shopping runs, yet the fuel gauge only dropped by a quarter. I also averaged 52.3mpg in the Volvo S60 under a heavy foot and sole town use. The S60 thrashes its German rivals in the race for efficiency.
Is there really much to say about safety when it comes to Volvo? People say "If you're gonna crash, make sure it's in a Volvo". Why? Because Volvo's are the safest cars out there on the market.
The new front design increases the S60′s road presence. The more focused and determined-looking headlamps help create this new, expressive 'face'. The S60′s horizontal lines have been emphasised at both the front and rear. Together with details such as a wider grille and day running lights, they give the S60 a striking, squat presence.
There are several other examples of the attention to detail in the new S60, such as the previously visible washer nozzles have been relocated out of sight under the bonnet and the headlamp washer jets now sit flush to help create a cleaner bumper line. The radar cover has been painted gloss black, which practically makes it disappear in the grille. The chrome frame around the grille has been removed and the new, bigger ironmark badge enhances the new cars' self-confident look.
However, the S60 doesn't turn heads like its German rivals, but I have to say it is in no way ugly, it is a very decent looking car.
The Volvo S60 is a great attempt by the sensible swedes at Volvo, but it could do with some quality touch ups. The 1.6-liter engine could do with a bit more power and the suspension could do with a bit of softening. However, if you're in the market for one of these, don't overlook it at all, it is a great family car and very fuel efficient (more than its rivals).
I think just some minor tweaks by Volvo and the S60 could potentially become a big-hit in the small saloon segment.
So, the S60, would I buy it over a C Class? Probably not. Would I cross-shop it when in the market for a small saloon? Of course I would. Is it great value for money? It is priced directly in the firing line of a decent-spec C Class and 3 Series.