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HEELS ON WHEELS: 2011 VOLVO S60 REVIEW


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2011 Volvo S60

Volvo Specs, Prices and Comparisons - 2012-1997 Volvo Buyers Guide

HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

INTRO TO THE S60 VEHICLE
The 2011 Volvo S60 is an upscale mid-size sedan with room for five featuring a sporty redesign with more coupe-oriented styling cues and excellent safety as its main draw. A 3.0-liter turbo engine allows for immediate engine response while all-wheel delivers the grip needed for slippery and cold winter terrain – the perfect combo of power and control.

I drove a 2011 Volvo S60 with the 300-horsepower turbocharged 3.0-liter V6 engine, a six-speed Geartronic automatic transmission and all-wheel drive with Instant Traction. Available in one model, my T6 test drive standard equipment included: 18-inch wheels; 8-way power driver seat; leather upholstery; dual-zone climate control; 7-inch color driver interface monitor; Sirius radio; Bluetooth connectivity; AUX and USB inputs; and speed-sensitive steering. At this configuration, price is $37,700. My test drive also had the optional $4,400 premium and technology package (moonroof, power passenger seat, distance/driver alert, heated front seats); the $2,700 multimedia package (premium 12-speaker sound system, rear park assist camera, navigation); and a $550 metallic paint job. Total price came to $46,200 with destination charges.

Auto critics like to compare the S60 to the BMW 3-Series, which is an accurate upscale brand match. But if you’re simply looking for a safe sedan with all-wheel drive – and for a lot less money – consider a step-down in classiness, or the Subaru Legacy sedan that has strikingly similar looks.

HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA

Stylish But Comfortable Results: Center console features Volvo’s classic design flow, separating driver and passenger in functional style. The backup camera image is excellent. Moonroof is large. The second row has an optional center pullout with two convenient cup holders. The interior is done in two-tone leather. Rear climate controls are an expected addition at this price. The multimedia and navigation screen is not that easy to scroll through. I had trouble locating logical path commands and got lost often; you’ll need to study up.

Reliability & Safety Factor: The 2011 Volvo S60 is a Top Safety Pick by The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS). The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) has not tested the 2011 model.

Cost Issues: The S60 is a pricey all-wheel drive sedan. According to U.S. News, the average consumer paid $37,821 for the 2011 model. A 2011 Subaru Legacy sedan with 256-horsepower 3.6-liter V6 engine, all-wheel drive, and a couple of extras reach $30k. You’d give up the entry-level luxuries a Volvo offers, but it’s a thought if all you want is a safe sedan with winter driving abilities. And both cars have the same fuel economy.

Activity & Performance Ability: With the turbo 3.0-liter, amped acceleration isn’t hard to search for – and it is balanced and refine with the performance on par with similar competitors like the BMW 3-Series. The sport-tuned suspension offers nimble handling, giving the S60 authoritative character. You’ll find yourself encouraged to wiz through traffic and hit the curves hard. The S60 has a great all-wheel drive system that activates splits power to front or rear wheels when the car detects slippage, allowing the driving to not be complicated with a bunch of buttons or gears.

The Green Concern: The turbo 3.0-liter gets 18 miles-per-gallon city and 26 highway for a combined 21. The Subaru Legacy gets the same. The BMW 3-Series with gets 18 city and 28 highway.

FINAL PARTING WORDS
The 2011 Volvo S60 is a stylish and safe commuter car that can easily turn into a weekend speedster due to a high-performance turbo engine. But with a $45k-plus price tag for all the little luxuries, your budget might need to step down to another all-wheel drive sedan.

©2011 Katrina Ramser