2012 Volvo S60 Review By Marty and Michael Bernstein +VIDEO

2012 Volvo S60  (select to view enlarged photo)
2012 Volvo S60


By Marty Bernstein
The Auto Channel

It has been a wild ride for Swedish automotive giant, Volvo, which along with its fellow countrymen and competitor Saab, had been purchased by US automakers, but unlike the latter which never found a footing under GM control and completely disappeared from the automotive landscape, Volvo survived its experience in Ford’s ill-fated PAG and is now thriving under its new owner and leadership team.

The new team focused on the many positive attributes Volvo’s heritage of dependability, safety and performance offered and shed the stodgy, boxy styling that was its albatross to create the 2012 Volvo Sedan.

Officially listed on the Manroney, the sticker (Trivia: named after A.S. Mike Manroney a 30 year senator from Oklahoma) on every new car read “S60 T6 AWD R SR”, that’s quite a mouthful and thankfully they shortened it for the decal, but what you get with Volvo’s latest is an eyeful of beautiful automotive styling and handful of performance that may surprise you.

The S60 is a real beauty that somehow manages to pay homage to the original geometric silhouette of the past, but redefines it through graceful lines that soften the hard angles and sculpt the cabin, roofline and pillars. The available color palate is vibrant and exciting, which only enhances the look of this car. The model tested featured “Passion Red” that was paired with black leather seating and a dash that featured monochromatic inserts and cobalt blue lighting that created a rather elegant ambiance.

To soak it all in, I climbed in back for a different perspective and discovered the rear area not only useable and by useable I mean accessible by a normal person, but surprisingly quite comfortable thanks to the concave design of the front seat’s rear design that creates just enough extra space to allow your knees to fit comfortably in front of you.

Watch TACH's exclusive S60 video promo

At first glance the back seemed rather Spartan, with only a lonely 12V outlet visible, but upon closer inspection, the refinements and convenience you look for had been thoughtfully and tastefully integrated into the vehicle including the air vents concealed in the A pillar of the rear doors, to the arm rest that contains a storage bin and two (2) cup holders.

Up front the driver is greeted by a no nonsense design that features only critical vehicle information presented efficiently to the driver, sorry no growing plants with leaves of green on display in this car just a very contemporary design and the features you need.

There is a modest video display, but is not the focal point. The focus of this baby is to drive and with the 3.0 liter, turbo charged V6 alloy engine with direc overhead cam (DOHC), continues variable valve timing and a twin-scroll turbocharger and you got a monster on your hands that is capable of 325hp@5400rpm and for you true gear heads, it produces 354 lb-ft of torque @ 3000rpm! For the rest of us that means it has all the acceleration you will ever need.

Once on the road the engineers at Volvo have crafted quite an impressive driving machine that features a six speed Geartronic automatic transmission that ensures ideal engine management that is further enhanced by All-wheel drive with instant traction, Four wheel power assisted and ventilated disc brakes with ABS, and a suspension system that features so many components and names it would take two columns to detail fully.

Of course safety has not been forgotten, the S60 is a Volvo for Pete’s sake, but now instead of a heavy steel frame, Volvo’s latest utilizes unibody construction with integrated high strength steel passenger cage that is reinforced by a system of air bags and curtains. In addition there are many technologies at play that will aid you in case of an accident including Volvo’s Whiplash Protection system for both front seat passengers.

Convenience and creature comforts are all addressed and in the model tested was taken to the next level with the multimedia package that added $2,700 to the MSRP of $46,875 and included Volvo premium audio, navigation system with voice control and rear park assist.

That’s a lot of technology for under $50,000 and I haven’t even mentioned that the S60 is an Ultra Low Emission Vehicle (ULEV) that delivers 18 miles in the city and 26 on the highway. Pretty impressive for a company that was searching for an identity just a few years ago and speaks volumes to the advances in vehicle design and the incredible pace we are on to improve the way and manner we drive today and in the future. It’s the new non-boxy Volvo statement of things to come.

Michael Bernstein contributed to this review

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