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2017 Volvo S60 T5 AWD Dynamic Review By John Heilig


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THE AUTO PAGE
By John Heilig
Senior Editor
Mid-Atlantic Bureau
The Auto Channel


REVIEWED MODEL: 2017 Volvo S60 T5 AWD Dynamic
ENGINE: 2.0-liter turbocharged I-4
TRANSMISSION: 8-speed Sportronic automatic
HORSEPOWER/TORQUE: 240 hp @ 5,600 rpm/258 lb.-ft. @ 1,500 rpm
WHEELBASE: 109.3 in.
LENGTH X WIDTH X HEIGHT: 182.5 x 74.8 x 58.4 in.
TIRES: P235/40R19
CARGO CAPACITY: 12.0 cu. ft.
ECONOMY: 23 mpg city/31 mpg highway/27.0 mpg test
FUEL TANK: 17.8 gal.
CURB WEIGHT: 3,862 lbs.
TOWING CAPACITY: 3,500 lbs.
COMPETITIVE CLASS: Audi A6, Lexus ES, Cadillac ATS
STICKER: $44,145 (includes $995 delivery, $6,800 options)
BOTTOM LINE: Hampered by a noisy engine and high sticker, the Volvo S60 is still blessed with Volvo’s legendary safety features.

Swedish cars have always held unique personalities. There’s no question that Saab, even when it was a division of General Motors, looked at convention and thumbed its nose, deciding that when Saab wanted was always the best idea. I didn’t always agree, but that’s the way I saw it.

Volvo, too, carries its own personality into the marketplace, that of the safety leader among automakers. Volvo approaches safety with style and panache, not building huge tank-like structures to protect the vehicle’s occupants. And the safety message continues through the whole range, from the smallest sedan to the largest SUV/wagon. What’s best, is that this philosophy has crossed lines to all the other manufacturers.

Which brings us to the S60 sedan. Called a compact sedan by the EPA, it actually fits nicely into the mid-size category, if on the smaller end of that class. Dimensionally, the S60 has nice size, with a comfortable ride.

However, the turbocharged inline 2.0-liter four-cylinder engine in the S60 is a pain in the ears. Thins an engine that is noisy all the time. In normal driving it emits a low roar. It isn’t a “power” roar, like in the Mustang GT350, but it is the same low growl. On hard acceleration it screams out loud. At times, conversation is a challenge inside the S60 and the volume knob on the audio system gets turned up more than usual. The start/stop technology that is like a hybrid’s shuts the engine down on complete stops, a blessing.

I mentioned acceleration, and the S60 does get up and go when you ask it. Push your right foot down and you are exceeding the speed limit quite quickly.

Other than the noise, the S60 is a good driver, with nice ride quality on all road surfaces. Handling is also good, and you can approach and take corners with reasonable speed.

Front seats are comfortable with good support. Unlike Recaro-type seats which hold you in, the S60’s front seats are more like easy chairs (but don’t take me literally).

Rear seat legroom is okay, aided by indents in the backs of the front seats. Entry and exit into the rear seats is difficult, requiring some contortions. The rear headrests can be folded forward using a switch on the center stack to improve the driver’s rear vision. As with most cars, the rear seat backs fold forward, using release levers located at the top of the trunk, to increase cargo capacity.

The driver faces an interesting instrument panel that is clear in some areas, less in others. For example, in the center is a large tachometer with a large inserted digital speedometer. There’s a bar graph fuel level indicator on the left and fuel economy levels. On the right is a power gauge, instant fuel economy and gear selected.

The Harmon Kardon audio system gave good sound but requires different tuning techniques. Don’t try this while driving. Similarly, the HVAC system takes a while to master. Four knobs on the flat center stack for the audio and HVAC can be confusing.

I mentioned safety, the the S60 is equipped with a plethora of alphabet-coded safety systems, all of which I have come to rely on with other vehicles. There is BLIS (blind spot detection), City Safety (low speed collision avoidance), SIPS (side impact protection system), WHIPS (whiplash protection system), lane keeping alert, rear view camera, road sign information (the local speed limit is displayed on the instrument panel), and approximately a zillion air bags.

So while the Volvo S60 is typically Swedish and quirky, and typically Volvo and safe, the memory I will take with me from the ride is the noisy engine.

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