2012 Volvo S60 T5: I Like This Car
July 11, 2011
I've always had a soft spot for Volvos. The old boxy ones were just so very honest about what they were, which made the turbocharged models from the late 1990s just a fun juxtaposition -- "I'm sensible and practical, but I go like stink!" Of my father's many cars over the years, his S70 T5 remains my favorite.
Frankly, I never thought it was a such a bad thing that the S70 "looked like the box the Audi came in" as I remember reading in whatever car magazine was comparing them at the time. Apparently I'm in the minority, because the current version of that car, our long-term Volvo S60 T5, is just about as far away from boxy as you can get. It's sleek and almost sexy. I liked the boxes, but I like this too.
Actually I like this whole car tremendously. The characterful growl of the eager T5 engine, which consistently made me wonder why anyone would ever bother with the T6. The hydraulic (!) power steering that allows you choose between three different settings, then sticks with that setting after you shut off the car (I'm talking to you BMW). The firm, yet well-damped ride. The stylish interior -- I'm not sure what the center console trim is supposed to be, but it looks great. The spot-on driving position for tall dudes of Northern European descent. The new infotainment interface, which isn't the greatest thing around, but isn't a total flippin' disaster like the one in the XC60.
Going with the assumption that the next-generation 3 Series will be just as aggravating as the new 5, there's a good chance that my favorite car in this class could soon be the S60. Maybe it's just my soft spot talking, but this car seems like a winner and I look forward to driving it a lot in the next year.
James Riswick, Automotive Editor @ 2,203 miles