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By Katrina Ramser
San Francisco Bureau
The Auto Channel

The Volvo S60 gives mid-size sedan drivers an elevated feel through sleek styling, a savvy interior, and of course, that excellent safety record. Also, strong turbo engines help keep this five-passenger vehicle flying past the competition. An extended wheelbase equating to more legroom for certain trims captures attention for the 2016 model year.

I drove a 2016 Volvo S60 with the turbocharged 302-horsepower 2-liter four-cylinder engine with an eight-speed Geartronic automatic transmission with paddle shifters and front-wheel drive. Available in four trim grades designated by engine options and wheelbase, standard equipment on my S60 T5 Inscription test drive included: eighteen-inch wheels with all-season tires; leather upholstery; dual-zone climate control; Sensus navigation with a seven-inch touchscreen; eight-speaker audio system; XM radio; Bluetooth connectivity; power moonroof; rear parking sensors; leather upholstery; eight-way power front sport seats; push-button start; power rear sunshade; and Inscription trim detailing. Price as described without packages came to $38,700.

The Volvo S60 is compared to the BMW 3-Series, which is an accurate upscale brand match. Fold in such Lexus vehicles like the IS Series as well as the Acura TLX.


Stylish But Comfortable Results: My test drive was one of the trims with an extended wheelbase that created an additional three-inches of rear legroom – a welcomed addition for any sedan, and buyers will be additionally drawn to the other additions the Inscription trim brings such as larger wheels, rear parking sensors, better seats and rear door sunshades. The center console features Volvo’s classic design flow, separating driver and passenger in functional style, with lots of technology pluses and other conveniences. Climate controls are easy to understand through pictograms (press button on stick-man figure for more air flow). My test drive also had the optional $3,000 Platinum Package (Harmon Kardon sound system, xenon headlights, a suite of safety technology); the $1,300 Climate Package (heated front and rear seats, heated steering wheel) and a $1,425 Park Assist Pilot with a Blind Spot Information System (BLIS).

Reliability & Safety Factor: Volvo’s do have a deserved reputation for being safe. The 2016 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: A 2016 Volvo S60 starts at $31,450 for the T5 Drive trim with a top-of-the-line T6 R-Design costing $44,200. My Volvo S60 sedan test drive rang in at $44,985. If you’re looking for something sporty – but a bit smaller – the 2016 Acura ILX with the Tech Plus Package can offer a luxurious sedan experience at about $34,890.

Activity & Performance Ability: My love for the Volvo sedan resides primarily in its turbo power, smooth cadence and outstanding all-wheel drive options for those who live in challenging weather. The Geartronic automatic transmission with paddle shifters injects spirit. Last model year I was also able to test drive a 302-horsepower 2-liter four-cylinder engine, delivering even more so amped acceleration. Similar competitors like the BMW 3-Series and the Acura TLX also gives a performance as invigorating and sporty. 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 29 miles-per-gallon combined (25-city and 37-highway).

Deserving of any and all performance compliments thanks to responsive turbo engines and overall superior engineering, the 2016 Volvo S60 sedan is in every way as stylish and equipped as fancier European nameplates.

©2016 Katrina Ramser

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