Volvo S60 Goes Head-to-Head With Euro Competitors0
Volvo hasn’t been sitting on its hands while it was waiting for the sale of Volvo by Ford Motor Company to Zhejiang Geely Holding Group in August, 2010. Development of the new S60 continued and the car will be introduced late in 2010 as a 2011 model year vehicle. Derived from the new S80/XC60 platform, the new S60 goes head-to-head with its European competitors in the Premium C/D Car Category – Audi A4, BMW 3-Series, Mercedes C-Class. Volvo also counts the Lexus IS as a facing competitor.
There was no 2010 S60 leaving a gap in the middle of Volvo’s lineup in the USA that the new car fills. The wagon derivative of the S60 – the V60 – was just launched at the Paris Auto Show, but it will not be coming the States. Too bad, it’s gorgeous.
Volvo Cars of North America gave us a chance to drive the new S60 T6 with all wheel drive in Newberg, Oregon. Driving out of the new LEEDs Certified Allison Inn and Spa we were able to evaluate the car from rain forest to desert over great driver’s roads.
Volvo Solves 4-Door Coupe Equation VCNA provided identical S60s for the review. All were the same color – vibrant copper metallic and equipped the same – T6 with all wheel drive and fully loaded including NAV and Volvo’s safety suite of equipment. Volvo is leading with its best model – the T6 – powered by a 300-horsepower transversely mounted turbocharged 6-cylinder engine. The base T6 is priced at $37,700 putting it in the hunt with its Euro competition. The test cars topped the price list at a bit over $46,000.
The styling of the all new S60 follows the trend toward 4-door coupes meaning the windshield and backlite are very fast. The decklid is very short due to the fast backlite. The front end styling uses Volvo’s new, more aggressive, face. At-a-glance, there is no doubt the S60 is a Volvo.
Ingress/egress is better than expected and as is usually the case with Volvos the front seats are very comfortable. The cockpit uses Volvos floating center stack design first seen in the S40/V50. Most of the interface is intuitively obvious but a few actions actually take some thought… like turning off the radio.
Driving the S60 – Fast, Seamless Power As might be expected when driving the top-of-the-line performance model, the S60 T6 was very fast. With all wheel drive, the car stuck like glue around the aggressive driving roads in Oregon’s outback. The cars were set up with summer tires to maximize the grip in the twisties. While this did show off the handling prowess of the S60 T6, tire noise was objectionable over some road surfaces. Opt for all season tires when you get yours.
Less Expensive Models Launched in Early 2011 While the T6 AWD is the launch model and the feature car, Volvo cannot leave its mid-size volume car priced in the $40,000 range. There will be a front wheel drive version out in early 2011 powered by a 5-cylinder turbo engine that will have 227-horsepower. This will get the base price of the car line down to the low $30,000 range – a much more affordable and broad ranging proposition but not nearly as fun to drive. Remember the S60 T6 base price is $37,700. The base S80 is $36,950 and the base S40 is $27,750. Splitting that difference gets us in the range of $32,350 which would be reasonable for the base S60, but we’d like to see it to be a real value and volume proposition at $29,999. [Volvo just informed me - October 11 - to be announced on November 1 - the base S60 T5 FWD will has 250HP and 266 lb-ft torque and be priced at $31,450 not including $850 destination charge - gosh, that puts it right at the estimated $32,350 (less $50) we estimated earlier. RAH]
Volvo Has You Covered Fully engaged in the warranty wars, Volvo has an outstanding package of warranty and scheduled maintenance. Its base warranty is 5-years and 60,000 miles and factory paid scheduled maintenance for the warranty period. There is also wear and tear coverage and roadside assistance for the warranty period. The S60′s facing competitors cannot match that coverage.