What's New for 2002
The big news is the arrival of the S60 2.4T AWD and its slick electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system. Additionally, all S60 models get Emergency Brake Assistance (EBA), enhanced traction control performance and improved throttle management, resulting in quicker response in everyday driving situations. Volvo's Dynamic Stability Traction Control (DSTC) system is now standard in T5 models and optional for the 2.4T AWD (starting in December 2001). Other model-specific changes include satellite controls on the steering wheel and rear cupholders for the base 2.4 model and a memory function for the power seats and mirrors in 2.4T and T5 models. The entire lineup gets revised rear headrests, ISO-FIX child restraint attachment points and an emergency trunk release handle.
Without sacrificing any of the usual Volvo trademarks such as safety and upscale features, Volvo has positioned the S60 as a sporty car, a car that would appeal to someone who likes to drive.
To go about this, Volvo has built the S60 on the same platform the company uses for its S80 sedan and V70 wagon. Neither the S80 nor the V70 are known for their Olympian athletic ability, however, so for the S60, Volvo reduced the platform's dimensions to give the car more agile handling. While the S60 ultimately errs on the side of comfort, it's definitely the athlete in Volvo's lineup. A sloping roofline, thick C-pillars and raised "V" hood lines help the S60 look the part.
Four trim levels will be available in 2002: Base 2.4, mid-level 2.4T, winter-friendly 2.4T AWD and upscale T5. The four vary on the basis of standard equipment and kind of engine. The S60 2.4 comes with a 2.4-liter five-cylinder engine that produces 168 horsepower. The 2.4T, as you might guess, is turbocharged, and it makes a healthy 197 horsepower. The new 2.4T AWD adds a technologically advanced, electronically controlled all-wheel-drive system. Ordinarily, the system directs power to the front wheels; when it senses wheel slippage, it instantaneously transfers power from the front wheels to all four wheels until both the front and rear axles are rotating at the same speed. Finally, the T5 is the most powerful S60 with its 247-horsepower 2.3-liter turbocharged engine. Both the 2.4 and T5 can be equipped with either a five-speed manual or a five-speed automatic transmission, while the 2.4T and 2.4T AWD are available only with the automatic.
The S60's interior is similar in design to that of the S80 and V70. The broad instrument panel has large and easy-to-use knobs and buttons for the sound system and climate control. There is seating for five, but rear passengers may want more legroom. Making its usual appearance is Volvo's roll call of safety equipment, including dual-stage front airbags, side airbags, head-protection airbags, whiplash-reducing head restraints, seatbelt pre-tensioners and ISO-FIX child-seat attachment points.
In terms of equipment and safety, there are few entry-level luxury cars that can match the S60's package. But would you want to buy one? That probably depends on what you are looking for. If you have owned Volvo sedans in the past, but you want one that's sportier, the S60 would be an excellent match for you. But if driving excitement is a top priority, a BMW 330i or Lexus IS 300 would probably be a better choice.