HEELS ON WHEELS: 2015.5 VOLVO S60 REVIEW
HEELS ON WHEELS
By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel
INTRO TO THE S60 VEHICLE
The sportier Volvo S60 offers a more premium sedan experience paired with coupe-oriented styling cues and excellent safety. And with sprucing to the turbo engine options, the Volvo S60 injects some true spirit into your daily drive while fitting right in with a more citified lifestyle.
I drove a 2015.5 Volvo S60 with an upgraded supercharged 302-horsepower 2-liter four-cylinder engine, an eight-speed Geartronic automatic transmission with paddle shifters, and a front-wheel drive. Available in four trim grades by engine options, standard equipment on my test drive included: eighteen-inch wheels; leather upholstery; dual-zone climate control; seven-inch color driver interface monitor; XM radio; Bluetooth connectivity; moon roof; leather upholstery; and front sport seats. Price as described without packages came to $39,000.
Auto critics like to compare the S60 to the BMW 3-Series, which is an accurate upscale brand match. I’d throw in some Lexus vehicles, like the IS Series, and the Acura TLX.
HEELS ON WHEELS REVIEW CRITERIA
Stylish But Comfortable Results: Center console features Volvo’s classic design flow, separating driver and passenger in functional style, with lots of technology pluses and other conveniences. The second row might not feature as much space as come competitors, but is accommodating. The multimedia and navigation screen has improved its usability, with logical path commands. Some critics have sighted the controls are outdated. My test drive also had the optional $3,750 Platinum Package (Harmon Kardon sound system, xenon headlights, a suite of safety technology); upgraded $900 nineteen-inch wheels; a $900 additional Blind Spot Information Package; and $500 heated front seats.
Reliability & Safety Factor: Volvo's do have a reputation for being safe. The 2015 Volvo S60 is a Top Safety Pick by The Insurance Institute for Highway Safety (IIHS) with ratings of “Good” in all crash-test testing areas. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) gives the model year a 5-Star rating.
Cost Issues: Because it is considered an entry-level luxury vehicle, the S60 sounds a bit pricey for an all-wheel drive sedan at a base cost of $33,950. But the Lexus IS 250 starts at $36,550. A base Acura TLX with a smaller 2.4-liter four-cylinder engine starts at $31,445. My Volvo S60 sedan test drive rang in at $46,525. Those same top safety and entertainment features on the Acura TLX can turn its price up to – try $44,800.
Activity & Performance Ability: With the supercharged 2-liter, amped acceleration isn’t hard to touch down on with smooth shifting from the eight-speed transmission (that also grew smart about saving gas with new start-stop technology. Similar competitors like the BMW 3-Serie and the Acura TLX also gives a performance as invigorating and sporty, but the Volvo S60 feels better balanced and planted. The sport-tuned suspension offers nimble handling, giving the S60 authoritative character. You’ll find yourself encouraged to wiz through traffic and carving out corners. 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. Safety features – like the Lane Keeping Aid – actually controls the wheel when it senses unwanted lane straying.
The Green Concern: The 2-liter four-cylinder gets some excellent fuel economy at 28 miles-per-gallon combined (24-city and 35-highway).
FINAL PARTING WORDS
Stepping forth with a very impressive supercharged four-cylinder engine – and of course, those incomparable safety scores – the 2015.5 Volvo S60 corners the market for one stylish, performance-driven and efficient upscale sedan.
©2015 Katrina Ramser
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