2012 Volvo S60 T5: Trifecta Transmission
August 09, 2011
Our Volvo S60 T5 has what I call a "Tri-mode" transmission. This means that in addition to the more common "just pop it in 'D'" automatic and "shift for yourself" manual modes, it has a "Sport" automatic mode. The latter (engaged by sliding the lever over to the manual gate but not moving it thereafter) holds lower gears longer and downshifts more quickly, keeping the car up on its toes and ready to quickly accelerate without hesitation. This is great for quickly dispatching lane-weaving laggards on the freeway or when sprinting off corner exits while enjoying a familiar curvy road. When in Sport mode, the difference in the car's throttle response (and I'm also talking normal, not spirited driving here) is like night and day.
If I owned the S60 T5, I'd probably use the more fuel-efficient (and acceptable but less fun) "D" mode sometimes to ease my fuel usage conscious. But given that I only had the car for the weekend and well, the world's supposed to end next year anyway, I figured what the heck and enjoyed it. For the record I averaged 18.3 mpg against our long-term average of 19.2.
John DiPietro, Automotive Editor @ 2,950 miles