Bring Back the Horbury Look - 2012 Volvo S60 T5 Long-Term Road Test

2012 Volvo S60 Long-Term Road Test

2012 Volvo S60 T5: Bring Back the Horbury Look

September 13, 2011


Every time I see the Volvo S60, I see a missed opportunity.

Surely former Volvo design director Steve Mattin meant well as the S60 was developed under his leadership, and I’m sure that he brought to bear all the great things he learned at Mercedes-Benz over the course of the 17 years he spent there as a designer.

But when I see the S60 nicely integrated into a single, smooth shape that is searching for a new styling vocabulary, it makes me think of yet another homogenized German sedan.

Far better to have continued with Peter Horbury’s classic shoulder line, first developed so long ago for the 1992 Volvo EEC safety car. Every time I see this device on the Volvo XC60, I’m reminded that it’s utterly unique and completely modern. It's very faint on the S60, clearly about to fade into invisibility in the near future

Probably there’s no reason for me to worry about the future of Volvo’s sedan styling, since Peter Horbury returned to Volvo in 2009, although it was too late to affect the look of the S60.
Meanwhile Steve Mattin just became design director at Avtovaz Lada. That’s in Russia, you know.

I keep going back to what legendary Volvo design Jan Wilsgaard once said about the popularity of the old square-rigged Volvo 240 sedan: "It might be due to the fact that the car is a little square and sluggish, just like the Swedes themselves."

The Volvo S60 doesn't need to look like just another German sedan.

Michael Jordan, Executive Editor,

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