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Review: 2002 Volvo S60 AWD

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SEE ALSO: Volvo Buyer's Guide


    With its bold styling and broad lineup, the S60 sedan has been a 
success for Volvo. And Volvo has expanded the range for 2002 
with the introduction of the S60 AWD.

    As can be told by the AWD name, this is an all-wheel drive 
model. Nothing new for Volvo there, as the S60's predecessor S70 
had an AWD model and the Cross Country crossover wagon is also 
an all-wheel drive vehicle. Unlike the Cross Country, but very much 
like the S70 AWD, the S60 AWD makes no attempt at sport-
utilityness. It's the Volvo interpretation of a sports-luxury sedan for 
``all seasons and all reasons,'' as Volvo says.

    The S60 AWD starts with the drivetrain of the 2.4T model: a 
2.4-liter, 197-horsepower low-pressure turbo engine and five-speed 
electronically-controlled automatic transmission with ``Geartronic'' 
manual shift mode. It adds an all-wheel drive system developed in 
conjunction with Haldex, a Swedish maker of transmission systems 
that has made AWD systems used by several European 
manufacturers. The S60 AWD works in front-wheel drive mode 
most of the time, with power automatically directed to the rear 
wheels when necessary. This can be under acceleration, hard 
cornering, or on wet, icy, or other slippery surfaces. As I found 
during my week with a new S60 AWD, the system works 
transparently. The car feels no different than a regular S60 2.4T in 
driving characteristics, and the slight extra weight of the AWD 
hardware is not noticeable. Although not designed specifically for 
performance driving, the AWD system does offer extra traction 
when needed in dry weather as well as wet or icy, so the AWD is 
not just a car for the snow belt. It adds AWD versatility to the 
S60's already excellent mix of style, comfort, performance, and 

APPEARANCE: Although the front-end body panels are shared 
with the V70 wagon, the S60 has a distinct character. The S60 
AWD looks like any other S60 sedan, but with just a slightly higher 
stance. This in no way disrupts its proportions or coupe-like grace, 
which are defined by the near-fastback roof line, strong shoulders, 
and aerodynamically-rounded bodywork. Angles are subdued, and 
curves are restrained. There is a subtle hint of vintage Volvos, like 
the 122 sedan, and no trace of the infamous box.

COMFORT: Angles have been rounded off inside of the S60 as 
well as outside. The interior combines driving-oriented ergonomics 
with luxury comfort in a Swedish Modern design. The front seats 
provide comfort and support, and help keep the driver and 
passenger alert - safety is everywhere in a Volvo. A ``cockpit'' 
semi-wraparound instrument panel presents necessary information 
well, and all controls are within easy reach of the driver. Volvo's 
iconic climate control switches are the most self-explanatory in the 
industry, and set the tone for the S60's control design. No need to 
consult the fine print in the manual. The driver's seat is power-
adjustable, and the manual tilt-and-telescope adjustable steering 
wheel helps the driver to find the perfect position. Despite the 
coupe-like roofline, there is good rear-seat headroom. As in the 
S80, rear seat passengers have B-pillar climate control vents. 
Numerous small, useful storage spaces add convenience. The trunk 
is large for the car's size, and the rear seat folds with a 60/40 split 
when it's necessary to carry oversize items.

SAFETY: Volvo is known for safety, and the S60 AWD has a full 
complement of safety features as standard equipment. All seating 
positions have three-point safety belts, and the WHIPS anti-
whiplash system is standard, as are dual-stage airbags, side and side 
curtain airbags, and a sturdy safety cage chassis structure with 
crush zones. Antilock brakes are standard, and dynamic stability 
control is available.

ROADABILITY: The S60 AWD's slightly increased ride height 
doesn't seem to make any difference in its handling. And, while the 
AWD system is designed for improved traction in inclement 
conditions, it helps on dry roads as well. The front-drive bias makes 
itself known with a hint of torque steer under full-throttle 
acceleration, but the AWD tracks as solidly as any other S60, with 
exceptionally good stability. Can a Volvo be fun to drive? This one 
is, especially on a winding country road. Regarding winter 
conditions, I had the opportunity to drive an S70 AWD, the S60's 
ancestor, in central Quebec a couple of winters ago. With the proper 
winter tires, it made driving on icy roads remarkably un-terrifying, 
and I'm from a warm, ice-free climate. The latest Volvo AWD 
system uses electronics to fine-tune control and communicate with 
other systems, including traction and stability control. It should tame 
the slippery stuff even better.

PERFORMANCE:  The S60 AWD uses the 197-horsepower (at 
6000rpm) low-pressure turbo (LPT) version of Volvo's 2.4-liter 
inline five-cylinder engine, not the high-pressure turbo of the T5. In 
the real world of everyday driving, this is actually an advantage, as 
the LPT engine has better low-end and midrange torque and is more 
responsive at city and usual highway speeds. Turbo lag is noticeable 
only at extremely low speeds, like from a standstill, and use of the 
five-speed automatic's ``Geartronic'' manual mode easily 
compensates for that. And with 210 lb-ft of torque available from 
1800 to 5000 rpm, keeping the engine speed in the heart of the 
torque curve is no problem. 

CONCLUSIONS: The 2002 Volvo S60 AWD adds all-wheel drive 
for all-season versatility to the S60's mix of comfort, style, and 

2002 Volvo S60 AWD

Base Price			$ 33,375
Price As Tested		        $ 38,300
Engine Type			dual overhead cam turbocharged and 
                                 intercooled inline five-cylinder
Engine Size			2.4 liters / 146 cu. in.
Horsepower			197 @ 6000 rpm
Torque (lb-ft)			210 @ 1800-5000 rpm
Transmission			five-speed microprocessor-controlled
                                 automatic with ``Geartronic'' 
                                 manual-shift mode
Wheelbase / Length		107 in. / 180.2 in.
Curb Weight			3146 lbs.
Pounds Per Horsepower	        15.97
Fuel Capacity			21.1 gal.
Fuel Requirement		unleaded premium for best 
Tires				P235/45 VR17 Pirelli P6 4-season (opt)
Brakes, front/rear		vented disc / disc, antilock standard
Suspension, front/rear		independent MacPherson strut / 
                                  independent multilink
Drivetrain			front engine, all-wheel drive

EPA Fuel Economy - miles per gallon
    city / highway / observed		19 /26 / 21
0 to 60 mph				8.0  sec (est)

Metallic paint					$ 400
Touring package - includes: Homelink(tm),
 auto-dimming mirrors, trip computer, grocery
 bag holder, security laminated side glass, interior
 air quality system - special pricing 		$ 700
Premium package - includes: leather-faced
 seating surfaces and wrapped steering wheel,
  simulated wood trim, power passenger seat,
  upgraded audio system - special pricing	$  600
17-inch ``Thor'' alloy wheels			$  500
Dynamic stability and traction control		$1,100
Destination charge				$  625