Volvo S60

Discussion in 'Reviews' started by Dhillon, May 3, 2011.

  1. Dhillon

    Dhillon Administrator Staff Member

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    The Volvo S60 is the sort of a car that can be what you want it to be, all delivered in a sweet and sexy package

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    As the new car rolls into, its pretty, shiny orange paintjob complimenting the lithe, muscular and likeable lines of a sedan, one cannot help but letch. ‘Naughty but Nice’ is what Volvo has been aiming for with its new range of cars, attempting to ditch its serious, safe but somewhat staid image by adding a liberal sprinkling of style all-round, and the XC60 SUV managed to do hit the target, even if it still had a macho, masculine appeal to it. The S60 sedan however, is sweet, sexy, safe and startling – all at the same time. If the XC60 is a go-anywhere-but-still-look-hot Lara Croft, the S60 is Wonderwoman. And all this even before you have settled into the orthopedically designed driver’s seat. I have a good feeling about this.

    Solid start:
    The S60, now in its second reincarnation, was conceived when Volvo was still owned by Ford, and before the company was handed over to its Chinese owners Geely much more recently. This was still a time when the Swedish carmaker that has had ‘safe’ as its USP over the decades was trying to reinvent itself, go more upmarket and stylish to eat into the entry-level luxury sedan market, dominated by the Germans. As a carmaker Volvo has had its fundamentals right over all these years – in fact the world record for the highest mileage in a car is held by a 1966 Volvo P1800, which has run 45 lakh kilometers, and is still running. The S60 however was a part of the company’s plans to revitalize the image, and did manage to break away from its earlier, boxy design philosophy. But when the current version was shown off at the Geneva Motor Show last year, the world stood up and took notice. Read letched.

    And why would it not. The latest S60 was penned by Brit designer Steve Mattin, who was the chief of Volvo design until recently, and had been making a career in designing cars since he was 15. What has come off the boards though is a car that easily has the most presence in its segment. Our pet grouse with European entry-level sedans has been that they often end up having fairly unremarkable design, while yet demanding high price tags, mostly for the badges. Not the S60 though, which appeals to conventional car design proportions and aesthetics, yet offering generous dollops of modernity and fresh ideas when it comes to the exteriors.

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    Exteriors:
    To start with, it has the aura of a four-door coupe which makes for an instantly appealing stance, only enhanced by the smart use of lines along the sides to impart a lithe, muscular aura to the package. The large Volvo badge that runs across the grille makes for a confident and proud statement of the company, but the real skill of the design team behind the S60 lies in making the whole fascia gel, with the swoopy headlamps and a friendly, smiling grille. The coupe-like rounded off roof meets the strong waistline, the flared-out rear fenders and the chunky rear bumper connection in a smart tail, with a rising swoop at the boot for enough silhouette entertainment to last a few years.
     
  2. Dhillon

    Dhillon Administrator Staff Member

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    Parts bin:
    Under its skin, the S60 comes with impressive credentials. What is called the Volvo Y20 platform is actually Ford’s versatile and proven EUCD, which carries cars ranging from big brother S80, the Ford Mondeo, even the Land Rover Freelander 2. While the platform has been around for a while, the new S60 has sufficiently tightened up bits that shine once the car is put through its paces. Just for academic interest though, the car features a redesigned chassis that is 47 percent stiffer than its predecessor, tauter springs and bushes in the suspension, and a quickened up steering. Now to pop the hood.

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    Volvo India has played it smart when it comes to engines options for us, which happen to be the most powerful petrol and diesel units in the S60 range respectively. We got our hands on the T6 variant, which is powered by a hopping mad inline-6, turbocharged petrol engine which puts out 305PS of power and 440Nm of torque, the pushing power figure especially impressive given that this is a 3-litre petrol mill. Mated with a super-quick-slick 6-speed automatic transmission and put down on the road through a Haldex all-wheel drive system, the big push is not spewed out – it flows out more like a ribbon of thrust.

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  3. Dhillon

    Dhillon Administrator Staff Member

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    Interiors:
    As you step inside and shut the solid door, you are greeted by fairly clean, almost antiseptic interiors. The choice of plastics and materials is top-notch, and the feeling of plushness is clear and no-nonsense. The seats themselves are some of the most comfortable in automobiles, and the fact that a fair amount of research has been put in their design is obvious. There isn’t too much excitement on the dashboard, but somehow the view from the driver’s seat is not boring at all. Blame it on the heads-up display that keeps lighting the windscreen up if traffic inches too close, or the blind spot information system that shows up as a small but conspicuous blinking light on the A-pillar, there is always something to keep the driver aware. Apart from the numerous gizmos and gadgets that are now almost standard fitments in all Volvos, the S60 boasts of an advanced pedestrian recognition system, using bits borrowed from military-tech, no less! This state of the art safety feature is a boon for city drivers, and remains active under 40 kmph. A number of cameras allow the car to ‘see’ an obstacle in its path, and should the driver not react, the car will automatically bring the vehicle to a halt before hitting the obstacle. It’s not the smoothest braking, but it does get the job done and should also wake the driver up!

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  4. Dhillon

    Dhillon Administrator Staff Member

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    The drive:
    The S60 in its T6 garb has an uncanny ability to transform from a comfortable family sedan to a roaring driver’s machine, blessed with grip from all four driving and dripping with feedback, in the time it takes to push the pedal to its deepest recess. While doing all this though, the car never lets go of its basic genetics – those of a strong, solid sedan, which is not a mean feat to achieve, and goes far in distinguishing this baby from its direct rivals, which characteristically excel, but fixate on one particular quality for their users.

    0-100 km/h comes up in a blazing fast 7.1 seconds and car accelerates from 40 to 120 km/h in kickdown in a scant 8.5 seconds, aided massively by the slick gear shifts from the gearbox. Just the quality of this box is in the league of the twin-clutch contraptions that we have been seeing in the Volkswagens and Skodas, and its ability to judge the right gear for the condition is impressive. That being said, the S60 is not all about acceleration and is happy to hum along at a tonful of speed with precious little noise seeping into the cabin.

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    And while you are in the middle of finding out how strong the acceleration is, or how refined the cruising, you may just miss out on how good the suspension really is. Our test car was equipped with the FOUR-C suspension – Volvo’s pet name for the active, adaptive suspension, which has dampers that recalibrate themselves on the fly using information from sensors all over. The sensors calculate body roll, yaw, the road surface and the driver’s mood through the steering wheel and throttle position to provide an almost seamless transition between mild and wild, seldom losing sight of the car’s family-sedan purpose. This matter stays consistent through the three suspension settings – Normal, Sport and Advanced, which plays a major role in giving the car its versatile mannerisms.

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  5. Dhillon

    Dhillon Administrator Staff Member

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    Verdict:
    So, a good-looking car that drives really well, remains composed and comfortable no matter what you throw at it, and presents an alternative image of its owner – so what’s the catch? It is no secret that Volvo does not demand the sort of brand equity that the German trio of Audi, BMW and Mercedes-Benz do. That being said, the new S60 does almost everything just right, which is all that a segment challenger can do.

    But what sets the Swedish effort apart is the perfect sense it makes for its intended customers here in India. The entry-level luxury segment has seen a massive rise over the last few years, resulting in an overcrowding of C-Classes and 3 Series, especially in the metros. Now for a space where buyers like to distinguish themselves from the crowd, landing up in another crowd doesn’t quite make sense. The S60 offers exactly this option, with greater comfort, performance and panache. And that is as compelling an argument as any in favour of a car that prepares to make its mark.
     
  6. Dhillon

    Dhillon Administrator Staff Member

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    Volvo S60 Specifications:

    Engine: 3.0 Litre, Turocharged Inline-6 cylinder
    Power: 304PS @ 5,600rpm
    Torque: 440Nm @ 2,100 - 4,200rpm
    Transmission: 6-speed Automatic, AWD

    Wheelbase: 2,776mm
    Length: 4,628mm
    Width: 2,097mm
    Height: 1,484mm

    0-60 km/h: 3.76 sec
    0-100 km/h: 7.19 sec
    Overtaking acceleration in kickdown (40-120 km/h): 8.55 sec
    Braking 80-0 km/h: 2.31sec, 26.67 metres
    Braking 100-0 km/h: 2.99sec, 41.40 metres
    Fuel efficiency (overall): 9 kmpl
    Price: T6 Summum variant: Rs 34 lakh, ex-showroom Delhi
     
  7. Dhillon

    Dhillon Administrator Staff Member

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    Volvo S60

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  8. Codename.47

    Codename.47 Guest

    0-100 not impressive
     

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